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electrical components

Hot, Neutral, & Ground: Our Funny Looking Household Electrical Socket
Image: iStockphoto.com/webking

Hot, Neutral, & Ground: Our Funny Looking Household Electrical Socket

To get electricity, all you need to do is string a wire from a generator to your house, right? Wrong. The current might never arrive. Or, if it did, it would likely blow up your TV. It might leap from the the outlet and electrocute you.

Electrical components work to get the right amount of electricity flowing safely to our devices. Get to know them.

Rimstar.org
Series and Parallel Circuits

Series and Parallel Circuits

Whether you're looking for an introduction to circuits, or a quiz to test your circuit savvy, or a good explanation of circuit math, this site is for you. More...

Interactive
Discovery
The Transistor

The Transistor

It transformed radio and then computing. Want an in-depth look at the transistor? Then click through this site (using the tiny arrows around the "back" button, which are easy to miss). More...

Article
NobelPrize.org
Alternating Current

Alternating Current

Guess how many electrons your power company sends to you in a year. Answer: 0. So what does it send? This high-energy video explains. More...

Video
Mellenstei
Circuit Construction Kit (AC + DC)

Circuit Construction Kit (AC + DC)

Want to start electrical fires and play around with alternating current? With this simulation, you can build all sorts of circuits — good, bad, and downright dangerous. More...

Interactive
PhET Interactive Simulations
Conductors, Insulators & Resistors

Conductors, Insulators & Resistors

With conductors, insulators, and resistors, engineers can allow electric current to flow freely, or block it, or block it a bit. Find out more with this interactive feature. More...

Interactive
Wisconsin Technical Colleges
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

About 700 people used to be electrocuted in their homes every year in the US. Now only about 400 are, probably because of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. More...

Interactive
Wisconsin Technical Colleges
Resistors

Resistors

The aliens are wrong! Resistance isn't useless. In electrical devices it's extremely useful, and components called resistors add precise amounts of it to a circuit. More...

Article
ExplainThatStuff!
What Is the Difference Between Electronic & Electrical Devices?

What Is the Difference Between Electronic & Electrical Devices?

Electrical devices were around for a long time before the first electronic ones came along. More...

Article
Dummies.com
Capacitors

Capacitors

Energy-storing devices called capacitors make TV, radio, and much else possible. They also make lightning possible, because clouds are giant capacitors. More...

Article
ExplainThatStuff!
Diodes

Diodes

How do you turn alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC), so it can be used by computers, TVs, and other appliances? With diodes. More...

Article
BBC
Electrical Engineer: Profiles of Scientists & Engineers

Electrical Engineer: Profiles of Scientists & Engineers

Thought of spending your life working with electricity and electrical components? The electrical engineer in this video doesn't just like his job, he loves it. See why. More...

Profile
National Science Foundation
Electricity Transformers

Electricity Transformers

If you plugged a toaster into a power line, it would explode. Transformers reduce the thousands of volts running through the power lines to smaller numbers that home appliances can handle. More...

Article
ExplainThatStuff!
Grounding: The Removal of a Charge

Grounding: The Removal of a Charge

You can "uncharge" an object by connecting it to a ground. But a ground does not have to be the ground. It just has to be much larger than the object being uncharged. More...

Article
The Physics Classroom
How Power Grids Work

How Power Grids Work

The towers, wires, and other parts of the power grid are so familiar, you may not even notice them. Read this, and you'll understand how they bring electricity safely to your wall socket. More...

Article
HowStuffWorks
Lightning Rods

Lightning Rods

Lightening rods don't attract lightening. But if lightning strikes them, they convey the massive current safely into the ground. More...

Video
Jefferson Lab
Two Types of Connections

Two Types of Connections

The more resistors you add to a parallel circuit, the more the resistance in that circuit goes down. How can that be? This article explains. More...

Article
The Physics Classroom
Where There Is Charge, There Can Be Sparks!

Where There Is Charge, There Can Be Sparks!

For centuries, scientists have been storing electrical charges in jars. You can build one of these "Leyden jars" ( which are a kind of capacitor). But be careful. To avoid shocks, get adult help. More...

Activity
Science Buddies

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