My name is Bob.
I am just now beginning my formal studies in home inspection.
I am working on “How to Perform Residential Electrical Inspections Course,” and I frequently refer to Black and Decker’s Complete Guide to Home Wiring for supplement and reference.
I am not yet 10% into the course and I came across some awkward wording (in the Black & Decker manual.)
It reads “After 1920, most American homes included receptacles that accepted polarized plugs. The two-slot polarized plug and receptacle was designed to keep hot current flowing along black or red wires and neutral current flowing along white or gray wires.”
As I said I am new at this but
I am confused about the idea of nuetrak current flowing.
It seems to me that
-all electrical current us “hot,”
there is no such thing as “nuetral current,” and
the phrase “keep nuetral current flowing” is utter nonsense.
as long as nothing connects the hot side to the cold side, no current flows through the cold side at all. Is that thinking incorrect?
I’ve got a second question also, but, one at a time.
Sooo, am I correct in thinking, there is no such thing as nuetral current?
I’m thinking the black, (or red) is always “hot.” It’s carrying a bunch of (metaphorically) “frustrated & hyperactive” electrons. They “frustrated & hyperactive” because they want to go home, but they’ve run out of road.
The white side is much like your finger or a ground wire.
There is no such thing as a neutral flow and the white side, in it’s normal state, contains no flows of any type.
But, connect the white side, or the ground wire or your finger to the black side and then they too will become “hot” because then they too will contain a flow of electrons.
Neutral Current is just that, it is the current that is flowing on the neutral. In a 2-wire circuit the current on the ungrounded (hot) conductor and the grounded (neutral) conductor is the same.
We use the term “hot” when referring to the ungrounded conductor because with relation to something that is grounded there is a potential for a shock. Since a grounded conductor is intentionally grounded it’s potential to ground is at or near zero so in a properly functioning system when touching the neutral there is a low risk of a shock if you were grounded.
Current is current. in a 120v circuit the neutral or grounded conductor will carry the same amperage as the ungrounded conductor (assuming there is no ground-fault). In a 240v circuit the grounded conductor will carry the difference between the two ungrounded conductors.
I would not use the term “neutral current” but the use of the term does not invalidate the concept that they are conveying.
Robert is right on with the neutral current comment, but it should be pointed out that current in a series circuit is the same all along the circuit. There is a voltage drop across each of the loads in a series circuit. Conversely in a parallel circuit there is no voltage drop, but the current varies across each leg of the circuit. This is true of both AC and DC circuits. A good place for a beginner to start might be some basic electrical theory.
Thank you gentlemen,
Joseph DePiero Robert (Bob) Kenney Robert Meier
Larry Kage and anyone I missed.
I went back and reviewed the vocabulary from the electrical course and THIS TIME I noticed something I had missed.
The vocab describes a “nuetral conductor” as a “grounded conductor.”. It makes sense to me THAT way.
(John Paul de Oliveira, GB-2 #86934 / AB #44580)
Your concepts are close, though I do not know of anyone referring to the neutral as ‘cold’. It is good to remember what Robert said about a properly functioning circuit, they are not always that way, so care should be exercised for neutrals as well.