Electrical Measurements Explained

What does 24 Volts, @ 15 amps mean? What is a watt? What’s a watt-hour? What about an amp-hour? These are all crucial ways of measuring how much electricity is present, at what rates, and just how much that electricity wants to move. We are going to be greatly simplifying these concepts, so as always, consult an electrician before working on or making any electrically involved decisions. Volts and Amps We’re going to start with the basics: What’s in the wire. The wires around you contain electrons. The movement of these electrons is electricity. When there is electricity, such as a light switch being turned on, electrons are moving through  the wire, creating magnetic fields and heat, among other things. Volts are the amount of force pushing those electrons. A low voltage source such as a double A battery has just enough force inside it to make electrons move through a wire. It doesn’t quite have enough force to shoot electrons into the air and make lightning like an industrial transformer could. The flow of these electrons is called Current, which we measure in Amps (amperes). It’s easiest to picture the current as a flow-rate, “one gallon per hour.” We can measure the total amount of amps with an Amp-Hour. For example, if we have a pump that needs 10 Amps to run, and it runs for One Hour, that it runs at 10 Amp-Hours. In 24 hours, it will […]

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Albert Einstein Designed a Fridge

We all know Einstein as the man who invented E=MC2. He also used experiments to find Avogadro’s Number, proposed that light was not just a wave but also a particle (a photon), created the General Theory of Relativity, and among all his accomplishments, designed a fridge without a single moving part. As with all things in our industry, this relied on cheating the laws of physics into doing our bidding.   Motivation The first refrigerators were deadly machines. They used a similar compression system to what we have today, but there was a catch. The new technology had a short lifetime before failure and when it did fail, it failed deadly. At the time, there were three major refrigerants: methyl chloride, ammonia, and sulfur dioxide. Methyl Chloride can disrupt the central nervous system, starting with drunken symptoms and ending at paralysis, coma, and death. Ammonia is incredibly corrosive and will cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and lungs before more severe symptoms such as blindness and death by lung failure set in. Sulfur Dioxide is similar to ammonia, it attacks the skin and mucous membranes, and with the right circumstances can damage and destroy the lungs, and even interfere in the heart. The seals on early fridges would fail at random due to the newness of the technology, variations in product quality, and perhaps even outright design flaws. When such a failure occurred, toxic gasses got into the air, and […]

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