Chapter 8 Basic Electricity Chapter 8—Basic Electricity 8-3 Introduction Our objective for this Chapter is to make you feel more comfortable with electricity and to give you the information you need to service and troubleshoot electrical devices. The easiest way to learn about electricity is to define the words used to describe electricity and its properties. Let’s start with the word electricity. Electricity is an almost magical way to take the potential energy locked up in coal, natural gas, oil, waterfalls, and even inside atoms—move that energy great distances—and ultimately have it do useful work for us. Any source of electricity must get the energy from somewhere. The battery gets energy from a chemical reaction. The generator gets energy from the work done turning the shaft. The work it does for Chapter 8 Basic Electricity Electrical safety Electricity can be dangerous. It can create three hazards: fire, skin burns, and shock. Shock can cause muscle spasms, unconsciousness and even death. Proper installation of all electrical equipment is essential. The National Electrical Code® sets the standards. Local communities can make this code law, and in addition, they can make their own codes even more restrictive. A common and dangerous practice is testing the ignition transformer with a screwdriver. The transformer is putting out 10,000 volts and can give you a dangerous and serious shock. Electric energy needs a pathway from the source and back to the source. If you do your job, this pathway is our electric circuit. But any wet object has enough minerals in the water to provide an alternate pathway. The human body is over 50% water, and when the skin is damp it will provide a good pathway back to the source if there is not an easier one. Never allow your body to be that pathway! Always consider all electrical components to be energized until you test and prove they are not. When you are working on electricity, remove all metal objects such as watches and jewelry from your hands and wrists. Until you are absolutely sure a circuit is shut off, only use one hand—keep the other in your pocket. This prevents the electric pathway from going from one hand to the other hand through your heart. Be sure to replace any damaged or frayed wires, protect wires from touching moving equipment, and keep them clear of walkways.
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