Electricity has become a first necessity product, without electricity we can’t function in a productive environment because most households are used to reliable services that are usually uninterrupted unless a catastrophe strikes, like in the case of the most recent hurricanes.
Here are a few basic things that I would like to share with you, as they will help you understand how electricity works in your household and computer system.
There are two types of electricity AC which stands for Alternating Current and DC which stands for Direct Current.
- · Alternating Current
Behaves in an oscillating mode, it goes back and forth but usually traveling longer distances which range from the power source to the house and then back to the power source. The average oscillation in an American household is about 60 times in one second (60 hertz) Alternating current travels from the power source where the electricity is generated to your house in a hot line, once it arrives to the household, and then it looks for a resting state and finds in in a neutral line, that’s how it makes its way back home. The ground line is a safety line that was created to handle uncontrolled flows of electricity which are also known as short circuits.
The three prongs in your computer plug have a neutral line which is the semi round prong at the bottom, the neutral line is the widest prong, usually on the left hand side and the hot line is the least wide prong.
- · Direct Current
Behaves by traveling one direction only, this is the most common current in households and most electronic devices and computers use this type of current.
There are 4 basic measures of electricity and you are probably familiar with them if you ever had to replace a power cord or a bulb.
- 1. Volts are used to measure electrical pressure. According to the American Heritage dictionary, volts are defined as: “The International System unit of electric potential and electromotive force, equal to the difference of electric potential between two points on a conducting wire carrying a constant current of one ampere when the power dissipated between the points is one watt.”
- 2. Amps or amperes are used to measure the electrical current. According to the American Heritage dictionary, amps are defined as: “A unit of electric current in the meter-kilogram-second system. It is the steady current that when flowing in straight parallel wires of infinite length and negligible cross section, separated by a distance.”
- 3. Ohm measures the resistance of electricity. According to Wikipedia, “Ohm’s current symbol is: Ω.”
- 4. Watts are used to measure electrical power. According to Wikipedia “The watt is a derived unit of power in the international System of Units SI, named after a Scottish engineer James Watt.”
Comptia A+ 2009 by Jean Andrews, Ph.D.