LAST UPDATED: 15th January 2023 by The Editorial Team
Summary: Electric circuits: Step by step guide and video showing how to wire a ring circuit, wire a radial circuit and wire a lighting circuit.
How to wire an electrical circuit for sockets or lights
To supply power to plugs, appliances, and fused connection units (FCUs), a circuit must connect these power outlets to miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) in the consumer unit or fuse box, where the mains electricity supply runs into. Spur cables can also be run from each outlet on the circuit to supply a double socket or FCU.
Wiring ring circuits (ring main)
A cable runs from the consumer unit to each socket in turn before returning to the consumer unit. Electricity can flow in both directions around the circuit, which is protected by a 30 or 32amp fuse or MCB. It can accommodate a large number of sockets or FCUs as long as the maximum load does not exceed around 7,000 watts.
If you wish to run a new circuit off a ring main circuit, the total floor area around which the circuit runs must not exceed 100sq m (1,075sq ft).
Wiring radial circuits
A cable runs from the consumer unit or fuse box to each socket in turn and terminates without returning to the consumer unit. This allows for an unlimited number of sockets to be connected to the circuit and is why the radial circuit is used in wiring long buildings.
Wiring lighting circuits
Lighting is wired in radial circuits. There are two methods of wiring: Loop-in wiring is the most common with a cable connecting each ceiling rose in turn. The cable is connected to one of the 3 rose terminals. The other 2 terminals are for the switch cable and the light fitting or lamp flex.
Junction-box wiring is used to extend a circuit. Cable runs from the consumer unit to a junction box. From the junction box, a separate cable runs to the rose and another one to the switch. You could use separate junction boxes or a single junction box with numerous terminals.
The colour-coding system for electric cable changed in 2006, make sure you read Electric cable and flex to view the new information.
Wiring a ring circuits for socket outlets video
Wiring radial circuits for socket outlets video
Wiring lighting circuits – part 1 video
Wiring lighting circuits – part 2 video
Wiring lighting circuits – part 3 video
- Extending a lighting circuit
- Extending electrical circuits
- Using a continuity tester
- Wiring a dimmer switch
- Wiring a wall light
- Wiring a plug
- Wiring a telephone extension
- Wiring ceiling lights
- Wiring a light switch
- Wiring low voltage spotlights