The following are basic terms associated with electricity and have been defined in a general manner. For a more thorough explanation, please inquire with CEP.
AC – Alternating Current – Acts as it implies, the current flows in one direction and then back the other. This type of current is commonly supplied by power companies and generators
AFCI – Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter – A circuit breaker designed to stop fires by sensing non-functional electrical arcs and disconnect power before the arc starts a fire
ALCI – Appliance Leakage Circuit Interrupter
Ampacity – Current-carrying capacity in amperes; used as a rating for power cables
ANSI – American National Standards Institute. An organization that recommends standards for products in various industries.
CSA – Canadian Standards Association. A not-for-profit membership-based association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace.
Circuit – A path for electrical current to flow.
Circuit Breaker– A protective device that automatically switches off (trips) the power to a circuit in case of a short circuit or overload.
Conductor– A wire, metal bar, or strip that offers minimal resistance to electric current. Copper is most commonly used as an electrical conductor.
Current: A measure of the Electron flow in a circuit. This can be compared to the flow of the fluid through a pipe (as gallons per minute) The flow of Electrons is measured in Amps. The letter “I” is used to represent current.
DC – Direct Current – Is when the current flows in only one direction. Batteries are the
Dielectric Strength – the maximum voltage that can be applied to a given material without causing it to breakdown, usually expressed in volts or kilovolts per unit of thickness
ELCI – Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter . Provides 30mA ground fault protection.
ETL – Now known as ITS (Intertech Testing Services) Recognized by OSHA as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and an alternative to UL and CSA.
Flame Retardant – The ability of a material to not propagate flame once the heat source is removed.
Gauge – a standard of measurement for cable sizes. Used to determine exact size or measurements.
Ground Fault – An unintentional electrical path to ground.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter – a fast acting circuit breaker which senses small imbalances in the electrical circuit caused by current leakage to ground, and in a fraction of a second shuts off the electricity. The GFCI continually matches the amount of current going to an electrical device against the amount of current returning from the device along the electrical path. Whenever the amount “going” differs from the amount “returning” by approximately 5 milliamps, the GFCI interrupts the electric power within as little as 1/40 of a second.
Grounded Nuetral – A condition where the neutral conductor is grounded on the load side of the electrical device. A GFCI will automatically trip under this condition.
Ground Wire– wires designed to carry current to earth in the event of a short circuit.
Hot Wire – A “live” power carrying wire in an electric system. This may also be referred to as a “phase” wire.
Insulator – Any material that inhibits the flow of electric current. Rubber and plastic are the most prevalent insulators.
NEC – National Electric Code. Electrical Standards regionally adoptable for the safe installation of Electrical Wiring and Equipment.
NFPA – NFPA 70 also referred to as NEC.
Neutral Wire – One of the conductors in an electric system. The neutral wire carries the “dead” or return current and is an essential part of an electrical system.
Nuisance Tripping – A break in the Flow of Power for no apparent reason. Possible causes can be: wet extension cord to tool connections, too many tools on one GFCI circuit, coiled extension cords, extensions cords that are too long, or electromagnetic interference.
OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Association. An agency of the United States Department of Labor whose purpose is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatality by issuing and enforcing standards for workplacesafety and health.
Open Neutral – A condition in the electrical circuit where the neutral wire is not connected or lifted at the panel on the line side. A UL Listed Class A GFCI will trip under this condition.
Resistance: The resistance of a circuit is measured in OHMS & represents the opposition to the movement of Electrons. The fewer free Electrons that exist in the atomic structure of a material the greater the opposition to the flow of current (the higher the resistance). The letter “R” or Greek letter omega (σ) is used to represent resistance.
Reverse Phase – A condition where the “Hot” and “Neutral” wire are switched. A UL Listed Class A GFCI will trip under this condition.
Short Circuit -Occurs when an energized conductor makes contact with a grounded metal case or other energized conductor of a different phase.
UL – Underwriter’s Laboratory. one of the world’s leading providers of product safety and certification testing services
UL Listed – certification for end-products and complete components
UL Recognized – certification for component intended to be installed into another device or product.
Voltage: The amount of Driving Force or pressure applied to a circuit. Voltage in an Electrical Circuit is measured in volts. The letter “E” is used to represent Voltage.
Classifications – Levels of Voltage
125V, 120V, 110V – These are the most common voltages supplied by generators and power stations. They are virtually all the same and interchangeable. They are expressed according to the actual voltage supplied by the source. 125V, 120V or 110V circuit may consist of one “hot” wire, one neutral wire and one ground wire or one hot and one neutral.
250V, 240V, 220V – Within a 240V circuit there are two 120V hot wires and a ground. This is a three wire system used to power larger equipment. For safety reasons this voltage should not be split into two separate 120V circuits due to the lack of a separate neutral wire. The National Electric Code (N.E.C.) requires the use of four wires when splitting 250V into two individual 125V circuits.
125V/250V -This may also be expressed as 120V/240V. This is a dual voltage circuit consisting of two hot wires, a neutral, and a ground. This voltage configuration is primarily used to split power into two usable 120V circuits, each circuit sharing the neutral and ground wire while splitting the two hot wires to create two 120V circuits. You may also create a 250V circuit by dropping the neutral wire.
120V/208V 3-Phase 4-wire – This voltage configuration is used to provide three hot legs with 208 volts between each and with 120V between neutral and each hotwire. Often used when many 120V devices are to be used.
480/277V 3-Phase – This voltage is common on bridges & large construction sites. 480V is available between each of the 3 hot phases (A-B) (B-C) (C-A). 277V is available between any hot phase and the neutral wire (A-Neutral) (B-Neutral) (C-Neutral). For our application this voltage is usually transformed down to 120/208V 3 phase for temporary job site power.
Weatherproof – refers to a device that is constructed so that exposure to the weather will not interfere with it’s operation.
Power: A rate of doing work or work per unit of time. Power is measured in watts. The letter “P” is used to represent power