# Lights and sockets onto one radial

Lights and sockets are usually on different circuits but must they be?
Can I have a 35ish meter 2.5mm radial from 16mm RCD running a few sockets and lights in what was once Ladies and Gents toilets, sockets to be used for occasional garden extension leads and a 480 watt frost heater?
If so must the wires from the switches to the lights be in 2.5mm too?
Or could i use 1mm wire from switch to lights as it would only run one bulb?
George
George Miles wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@googlegroups.com:
Use a 5amp fused spur box to create a lighting circuit then you can use 1mm.
DerbyBorn formulated on Sunday :
The garden extension needs to be protected by an RCD.
But the whole circuit will be on a 30ma RCD at the consumer unit.
Does it need another one at the garden socket?
In my experience both would probably trip together if they have the same characteristics
[g]
No.
Likely, yes.
Our conservatory lights are run off the ring main through a 5A fused FSU. Should imagine you could do the same off a radial circuit depending on wire cross-section and the number of sockets already on that radial.
Richard
No, they don't have to be. It would be up to the installer to decide how acceptable that would be, and what (if any) mitigation would be required in the circumstances.
Yes
Probably prudent to check the voltage drop though since we are deviating from one of the tabulated circuits:
If we assume 35m of 2.5mm^2 and say 4m of 1.0mm^2. If we put 2A of load on the end of the thinner cable, and 14A of load on the thicker one (over and above the 2A - making 16A total load), we get a voltage drop on the sockets of:
25 x 14 x 0.018 = 6.3V on the sockets, which is acceptable.
For the lighting circuit bit we get an additional 4 x 2 x 0.044 = 0.35V giving a total of 6.65V of drop. That's just inside the 6.9V allowed (i.e. If so must the wires from the switches to the lights be in 2.5mm
The elegant and sensible solution would be to take a 5A fused spur and feed the lights from that. Possibly also include at least one non maintained emergency light if loss of lighting would be a safety issue.
However, as an academic exercise, we can probably demonstrate that the fuse could safely be omitted.
Depending on the installation method the 1.0 mm^2 T&E can have a capacity of as much as 16A (method C), the lighting load will be substantially less than that in all likelihood, and the possibility for the user to create an overload by changing lamps etc seems very slim. So overload protection for the 1.00 mm^2 cable does not need to be provided by the MCB at the origin of the circuit. It only needs to provide fault protection.
So we can do an adiabatic calculation check on the cable to ensure it could withstand a fault at the far end.
So if we say 35m of 2.5mm^2, and lets allow 4m of 1mm^2, that gives a loop impedance contribution from the cable of:
35 x 17.78 + 4 x 43.4 = 796 mOhms.
(that's for a L to N short on the thinner cable - we will assume the RCD will protect for the L to E short, and its slightly higher loop impedance. We are also using the "hot" resistance values for the conductors - i.e. assuming they are already running at full load. That's being very pessimistic for the 1.00mm^2 cable)
You have not said what the supply earthing system is, and we don't have a measurement of the external earth loop impedance, so lets go with the nominal TN-C-S and 0.35 Ohms.
That way we get a total loop impedance at the far end of the circuit of ~1.16 Ohms.
So that means the prospective fault current is going to be:
230 / 1.16 = 198A
That is adequate to trip a B16 MCB on the "instant" (i.e. magnetic) trip mechanism (it takes 5x In or >= 80A for that), so we will assume a disconnect time of 0.1 secs. So an adiabatic check:
s = sqrt( I^2 x t ) /
k
PVC cable, so take k as 115
s = sqrt( 198^2 x 0.1 ) / 115 = 0.54mm^2
So there is plenty of spare CSA in 1mm^2 cable to withstand that fault current.
(note that BS7671 normally requires a protective device to be present at each reduction in conductor size in a circuit - so we are deviating from that based on the demonstration that the head end circuit protection is actually sized to protect the smaller conductor sized cable anyway)
Gosh that's some calculations from John Rumm: his use of the word 'elegant' reminds me of maths at Uni... I'm going to keep his calculations to justify using 3 core 1mm for light switches from 1.5mm circuits without additional fuses.
But for this job I'm going to use 2 separate wires, one for sockets and one for lights, its far simpler to justify to Building Control when I get to that stage.
I want as few fuses as possible around the house, (I found it with 3 different locations of fuse boxes); all circuits to be from RCDs at the consumer units by the back door will make it easier for whoever has to deal with trips.
And no ring mains will make it easier for testing
Thanks.
George
Well, part of the elegance of the proposed fused solution, was it avoids any doubt and any need for calculations. Its also what would be expected, which is usually the best way to go unless there is a particular reason not to.
Assuming the circuits are protected by a B6 MCB or similar, then they would be fine wired all in 1.00mm^2 in most cases... (the larger cable gives you longer maximum cable runs, and a bit more mechanical strength - you don't typically use it for additional current carrying capacity on a lighting circuit).

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