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Electricity. Basic Terms #1 John Jones. Ampere – rate of electrical flow (volume of electricity flowing) Sometimes referred to as amps. Voltage or electromagnetic force – a measure of electrical pressure Also abbreviated EMF or E. Resistance .

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Basic Terms #1

John Jones

Ampere – rate of electrical flow (volume of electricity flowing)

Sometimes referred to as amps

Voltage or electromagnetic force

– a measure of electrical pressure

Also abbreviated EMF or E


The opposition to the flow of electrons through a conductor – measured in Ohms


Refers to the amount of power derived from a device or the rate of doing work

Example – 100 watt light bulb

1500 watt blow dryer

Kilowatt = 1000 watts

kilo watt hour
Kilo-watt hour

Electricity is sold by the kilowatt hour

(gasoline is sold by the gallon)

Using 1000 (kilo) watts for one hour is a KWH

watts and horsepower
Watts and Horsepower

746 watts = one horsepower

watts volts x amps
Watts = Volts x Amps

Sometime referred to as the West Virginia Formula.

The amount of work that can be done in a circuit is equal to the voltage in the circuit times the amps

wva analagy
WVA Analagy

You can wash your car (do work) faster is you have a large hose with lots of pressure.

A large hose will allow for greater flow of water (flow = amps)

Pressure would be = voltage (force)


A controlled path for electricity to flow beginning at the source (usually a breaker), traveling to the consumer (ex. light) and back to the source.

The colored wire goes to the consumer and the white wire “comes back” to complete the circuit

Unless a complete circuit is made – the devices will not work

Breakers and switches are usually used to control the flow

national electrical code
National Electrical Code

Set of guidelines for use when designing and installing electrical service and devices


Substance that will allow for the flow of electricity

Most common: copper, aluminum

Best Conductor: Gold


Substance that does not allow for the flow of electricity

Plastic, rubber

parallel circuit
Parallel Circuit

A circuit that has more than one way that electricity can flow.

Most common type of circuit

series circuit
Series Circuit

Has only one pathway for electricity to follow. If there are more than one device in the circuit, the electricity must flow through one device and continue on to the next device. Not normally used in houses.

Christmas lights are sometimes wired in series. That is why if one bulb goes out the whole line goes out

w v a
W = V*A

A device (such as a light) hooked to a 120 volt circuit that is pulling 5 amps would be using how many watts?

W = 120*5

W = 600

w v a1
W = V * A

Also means that:

V = W / A (watts divided by amps)

A = W / V (watts divided by volts)

calculating amps
Calculating Amps

Calculate the amperage of a 600 watt light bulb that is running on a 120 volt circuit.

A= 600/120 or 5 amps

calculate voltage
Calculate Voltage

What is the voltage on a circuit that has a 600 watt bulb that is pulling 5 amps.

V = W / A

Voltage = 600/5 120 volts