With the number of jobs available for electricians increasing every day, it is wise to get into this line of work. All you need to do to get on the path to becoming a professional electrician is to get the right education. As you prepare to begin your electrician training program, you may be eager to learn a new trade now. If you haven't started your program yet, you can get started by learning some of the more common technical terms that electricians often use.
This is a current that reverses direction in a regular pattern, usually several times per second.
Direct current is current that flows through a circuit in one direction only. In electrical trade schools, you will not use DC very often because most modern circuits are AC.
is a device used to interrupt the current in a circuit for safety reasons. When the current in a circuit is too high, one of the wires in the fuse melts and breaks the circuit. The fuse must be replaced to allow current to pass through the circuit again.
Also known as earth, the ground is a reference point. The voltage is measured relative to the ground. The term also refers to the return path taken by the current. When a circuit is grounded, it protects against dangerous current and voltage levels.
In electrical training, you will be working with many loads. A load is anything that uses electrical energy. Lamps, motors, and transformers are just a few examples.
Overloading a circuit is dangerous. An overload is when a device used in a circuit exceeds its capacity and produces more current than the circuit can safely handle. Eventually, overloads can cause circuits and components to overheat and become damaged.
In a parallel circuit, current can flow through multiple parallel paths. The full voltage reaches each load connected in the circuit.
In a series circuit, there is only one path for the current. For loads connected in series, the amount of voltage through each load is different.
A short circuit is a fault in a circuit that causes current to pass through different paths. This can sometimes cause damage, but it certainly wastes energy and is usually caused by poor circuit insulation.
An ammeter is a tool that measures the amount of current in a circuit. With a conventional ammeter, the current is measured by connecting the ammeter in series in the circuit, which necessarily interrupts the circuit. A clamp-on ammeter can be used without interrupting the circuit.
A conductor is anything that will allow current to flow through it. Metal is a material that conducts electricity well and is considered a conductor, which is why circuits are made of metal wire. Aluminum and copper are the most commonly used.
A digital multimeter. The most useful tool in electrical training will be the universal multimeter. It is a tool that can do everything: measure current, capacitance, resistance, voltage, frequency and temperature.
change mechanical energy into electrical energy. They come in many different forms, but basically generators run almost all of the electrical grid by providing the electrical energy we all use.
An insulator is the opposite of a conductor. It resists the flow of electric current. In electrical work it is used to protect circuits, to maintain the current contained in them and to protect people from electric shocks.
This is a device made of a coil of conductive metal wire. When the current passes through the coil, it becomes magnetic.
Current is the flow of electrons through a circuit, and the amount of electricity in a circuit is measured in amps, or simply amps. This is why the tool for measuring current is called an ammeter.
A capacitor is something you use a lot in electrical trade school. It is a circuit element that holds an electrical charge, and capacitance is a measure of how much charge it can hold. This is measured in units called farads.
Another measure you will learn about in electrical training is power. Electrical power is a measure of how fast electrical energy can be transmitted through a circuit. The basic unit for measuring power is the watt, but it is more commonly known as the kilowatt.
Different materials resist current to different degrees, and resistance is a measure of current. Insulators have a higher resistance than conductors. Ohms are the basic unit for measuring resistance.
Voltage is a force or pressure that causes electrons to move in a circuit to produce a current. Volts are the basic unit of measurement.
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