Electricity, where did it come from?
While many scientists dabbled in understanding electricity, it’s a popular apprehension that electricity was discovered by one of the greatest scientific prodigies in the history of mankind, Benjamin Franklin. While his work varied from inventing to discovering major breakthroughs in science, one of his biggest contributions to our society was discovering electricity which paved the way for many other scientists to explore the wonders of electricity.
What is electricity?
Electricity is the movement of charged atomic particles called electrons. Moving electrons creates a current which is comparable to a lightning strike, just as electricity was first discovered in the mid 1700s.
Electrons are negative elements that are attracted to the positive elements. When you connect a metal conductor to the positive and negative end of a battery, the electrons start to flow through the metal conductor from its negative end to the positive. The flowing electrons create energy which is called ‘Current’ and is measured in ‘amperes,’ also known as ‘Amps’. The force that moves these electrons from negative to positive is called ‘voltage’ and is measured in ‘Volts’. One of the most common conductors used today is copper; it provides a channel for the electrons to move freely from its negative to positive side creating current.
Connecting a small wire between the negative and positive side may lead to a ‘short circuit’ since the electrons move rapidly across the metal conductor, creating heat which may not be sustained by the conductor and results in a fire. An electric current follows a path and this is called a ‘circuit’. Let’s learn how to create a circuit for lighting a bulb:
- So, How to wire? Start your circuit by touching the metal conductor to the positive end of a battery.
- Run the metal conductor through the bulb touching its metal end at the bottom.
- Connect the other end of the conductor to the negative end of the battery to complete the circuit.
The wire does not get hot as the light bulb produces the current that is flowing in the circuit. This is how your simple electric energy is converted to light energy.
How to Wire?
The process of connecting various accessories for distributing electrical energy to a consumable form is called ‘wiring.’ Basic Electrical Wiring is used to connect various circuits for the needs of an individual. Some things to be considered while creating an electrical wire are:
- What is demand of power on the circuit?
- What is the required size of the circuit for a house or a building?
- What are the regulations you need to follow for building your circuit?
- What is the environment in which your wiring will be operated?
Types of wiring:
Joint Box system or Tee System:
The joint box system, as the name suggests is a method where the connections to the appliances are made through joints. Connectors and joint cutouts are used to make joints for connecting multiple joint boxes which helps in getting rid of using long cables. This method is preferred for temporary installations such as events or on-site requirements where you may need power supply for a short period of time. Instead of using long cables to serve this purpose, multiple joint boxes are used to cater to these temporary needs which can be re-used at different occasions. This is an economical alternative to the orthodox methods that were used previously.
Loop-In or Looping System:
While the joint box system is a cheaper version used in the Basic Electrical Wiring world, looping system is universally used for a broad range of advantages. Appliances can be controlled easily when connected in parallel individually, such as lamps, ceiling fans and other electrical appliances.
In this method, the feed conductor is looped in by bringing in the light or switch connection directly to the terminal, which is then carried forward again to the next point. This generally means that the switch and light feeds are carried around the circuit in a loop until the last one on the circuit is reached. This is in a series of loops from one point to another until the very end. The line conductors also known as phase, these are looped in a switchboard or a box and the neutral wires are looped either from the switchboard. The phase should never be directly looped in from the light.
Wiring a 2-way Circuit:
Let’s learn about how to wire a 2-way switch circuit. This simply means wiring your circuit in such a way that you have only two functions available at a flick of the switch by turning it on or off. This type of Basic Electrical Wiring is used in most of our homes and offices at large; we use if for lights, lamp, ceiling fans, power outlets, etc. ‘Romex’ is a 3-wire cable that is typically used in a circuit. The cable consists of three wires, black, white and a bare copper wire. The black wire is considered a power or hot wire that passes current in your circuit generating electricity. The white wire is called a neutral and the bare copper wire is connected to ensure the circuit is safe. So, How to wire?
- Establish your power source.
- Connect the black wire from your power source to your 2-way switch by using a brass screw.
- Connect the other end of the black wire to your 2-way switch going to the source where you want to generate the current for consumption (light bulb, ceiling fan etc.)
- Connect the white wires to ensure the circuit is completed and is continuously running.
- Connect the Copper ground wire to the switch for a protected and safe circuit.
Let’s assume you are controlling the flow of current for a light bulb and see how this works. The electricity flows from the hot wire through the 2-way switch and the current flows into the light bulb, which then returns through the neutral wire. Since electrons are extremely small atoms and run at a very fast pace, the light keeps on shining until the circuit use is cut off from its main power source, i.e. by turning the switch off.