20A Ring Circuit

What is a "Ring Circuit"
I was reading this thread http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_thread/thread/c7a4bb61c32dd875/d69c14e02a0c04de?lnk=gst&q=plugs+empty+breaker+slots#d69c14e02a0c04de
Chris Lewis said it was used only in the UK. Just wondering. Thanks, Tony
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Anthony Diodati wrote:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_thread/thread/c7a4bb61c32dd875/d69c14e02a0c04de?lnk=gst&q=plugs+empty+breaker+slots#d69c14e02a0c04de
A rather bizarre setup. Instead of the usual star configuration where circuits radiate out from a central distribution panel, a much smaller number of circuits of heavier gauge wire originate from a smaller panel, go around the building and back to the same panel i.e. a ring. The outlets on the circuit each have local 16A fuses since the ring they connect to is protected at a higher current than the normal outlet (30A? 50A? not sure exactly). This is also on 240V circuits.
These "Ring mains" work, but the fact that they are only used in the UK is rather telling as to the advantages of the setup, or lack thereof.
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Anthony Diodati wrote:

http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_thread/thread/c7a4bb61c32dd875/d69c14e02a0c04de?lnk=gst&q=plugs+empty+breaker+slots#d69c14e02a0c04de
They are very common for outlets circuits in the UK. Wikipedia has more than you want to know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_circuit A major feature is the wire has a current rating less than the ring circuit rating because there are 2 paths back to the panel. As Wikipedia tells you, they came out of post WW2 rebuilding.
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