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Electrical Terms and Equations

Dear Mr. Electrician:  Can you recommend any books on electrical terms and equations that also includes definitions.  I found some technical books in the library, but the books use words and terms that I do not understand.  Do you have any suggestions? Answer:  Many of the electrical books that I read as a youngster are no longer published, however they are available used online.  They belonged to my father and were excellent for learning about electricity.  NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on Amazon, ClickBank, and EBay. One of the best publishers for electrical books was Audels.  I have a couple that belonged to my dad and some that I bought for myself in the 1970's.  The pictures are old, but the information is excellent. Audels also published books for many other trades and engineers. If you plan to do electrical wiring in your home you should have a basic understanding of wiring methods and code requirements.  Article 100 in the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) is entitled Definitions.  It defines all electrical terms used for electrical installations.  See below for a short list of some common electrical terms. ELECTRICAL TERMS AND DEFINITIONS Neutral or Neutral Conductor refers to the return path of electricity back to the utility company power transformer.  In the National Electrical Code this wire is called the grounded conductor because it is bonded to earth ground in the main disconnect for the home or building.  Sometimes electricians will just call it the return.  The wire color for the neutral in the USA is usually white, but gray is sometimes used. Hot or LINE refers to the current carrying conductors (Wires) that have electricity flowing in them to power things such as lights and appliances.  These wires are also called ungrounded conductors.  Wire colors for hot conductors can be anything but white, gray, or green. A typical electrical receptacle outlet in your home will have a Neutral and a LINE connected to it.  Anything that is plugged into the outlet is considered a LOAD. LOAD is what is powered by electricity.  Anything that consumes electricity to operate is a load on the electrical system.  Lights, appliances, machinery, and computers are all examples of a load.  A typical single pole wall switch that operates a ceiling light will have a LOAD wire on one screw and a LINE wire on the other screw. On some switches and particularly motor starters and disconnects, the LOAD connection will be labeled with a T while the LINE will be an L.  You may see L1 and L2 and below them T1 and T2. Ebay Sells Electrical Wiring Books Ground or Earthing refers to a wire known as the grounding electrode conductor that is connected directly to the planet Earth via water pipes and/or ground rods, or other means.  There is no color code for the GEC and it can also be a bare un-insulated wire.  This provides lightning protection and voltage stabilization. In the USA the ground is also connected (Bonded) to the neutral in the main electrical disconnect for a...