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Electrical Industry Jargon Buster

Have you ever thought what the heck are these electrician's talking about? Well think no more, we have provided you with the most commonly used phrases and abbreviations used in the industry.

Amperage - Amps/Amperes/Ampacity/Rated Amperage. Measurement of flow rate of electricity. Similar to the flow of water through a hose. The amperage would be a measure of the volume of water that is flowing through the hose.

Cable - A cable is a set of 'wires' encased in an outer protective jacket. Cables are used in homes, commercial premises. Portable Appliances' such as kettles, irons etc will have something called a cord with a plug. Cords are flexible. The colours for wire sleeving held inside a cable are Brown = Live, Blue = Neutral and Green/Yellow = Earth

CE - 'Conformite Europeenne' - a European standard of safety formerly known as the EC mark. The CE marking indicates compliance with the appliance European directives. CE markings are not confined to electrical appliances, you will also find this on children's soft toys.

Conductor - internal material of a 'cord' that conducts electricity. Copper is the most common material used in electrical wiring. The best conductor is silver because it does not corrode however, it is expensive. Gold is often used in high-quality surface-to-surface contacts e.g. circuit boards.

Circuit - the path by which electrons from a voltage or current source flow.

Current - the flow of electricity. In a typical household the electricity is Alternating Current (AC) which repeatedly reverses its direction. However, there are many electronics devices that require Direct Current (DC). DC is the most dangerous of the two currents.

Distribution Board (DB) - a panel carrying fuses, terminal and other components for electric circuits. A DB is also referred to as a consumer unit or fuse box.

Electron - a particle with a charge of negative electricity, found in all atoms and acting as the primary carrier of electricity in solids.

ECA - This is an abbreviation for the Electrical Contractors Association

EICR - Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Earth - A connection between an electrical device and the 'Earth' or at the voltage defined as zero. The earth can be identified by yellow and green sleeving.

Equipment Rated Duration - this is the duration that an emergency light will work. Lights can range from 1 hour to 5 hours (and more)

Fuse - This is a safety device consisting of a strip of wire that melts and breaks the electric circui if the current exceeds safe levels.

Insulation - The material that encases a conductor preventing leakage of current from a conductor.

IP Rating - Ingress Protection Rating, a two digit code, and an optional letter, specifying the level of protection from foreign objects. The first digit refers to protection from solids and the second refers to protection from liquids. The optional letter can be appended to classify only the level of protection against access to hazardous parts by persons or provide additional information related to the protection of the device. An example IP65 = protection from dust ingress and protected from low pressure water jets from any direction. This IP rating is often used on lights for installation in Bathrooms.

To download a quick guide click here.

Voltage - the force or push driving electrical energy through a conductor or wire that can be compared to the pressure of water in a pipe

Watt - A unit of power, defined as one joule per second. Wattage is calculated as Voltage x Amperage

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