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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 about electrical terms and equations that I read as a youngster are no longer published. They belonged to my father and were excellent for learning about electricity. Many are still available as used books online. NOTE: Some text links below go to applicable products on Amazon and EBay. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. One of the best publishers for electrical books was Audels. I have a few 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. Sometimes a switch or motor starter will have contacts labeled NO and NC. NO is Normally Open and NC is Normally Closed. When a contact or switch is open, no electricity flows. When it is closed, electricity flows. 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...