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Electrical Terms-Electrician Terms


"American Wire Gauge", a set of standards specifying the diameter of wire.


a circuit used to stabilize an electric current, for example, in a fluorescent light.


4-way dimming control allows dimming from one location only (using a 3-way dimmer) and on/off switching from two or more additional locations (using a combination of 3-way and 4-way switches).


Single-gang = one control mounted in a single wall box.

Multi gang

two or more controls mounted side-by-side in a series of connected wall boxes.


A large conducting body (as the earth) used as a common return for an electric circuit and as an arbitrary zero of potential.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

A device intended for the protection of personal that functions to de-energize a circuit or portion thereof within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds some predetermined value that is less than required to operate the over current protection device of the supply circuit.

Lamp v. bulb

The lamp is the actual light-producing component inside the bulb. The bulb is the decorative glass or plastic housing that diffuses the light distribution.

National Electrical Code

NEC: A set of regulations pertaining to electrical installation and design in the interest of the protection of life and property. The NEC is adopted by NFPA and approved by ANSI. It is the preferred standard of guidelines used by most electrical regulatory boards in the USA.

Service Drop

Run of cables from the power company's aerial power lines to the point of connection to a customer's premises.

Service Conductors

The supply conductors that extend from the street main or transformers to the service equipment of the premises being supplied.

Service Entrance Conductors

(Overhead) The service conductors between the terminals of the service equipment and a point usually outside the building, clear of building walls, where joined by tap or splice to the service drop.

Service Entrance Conductors

(Underground) The service conductors between the terminals of the service equipment and the point of connection to the service lateral.

Volt (V)

the unit of measurement which quantifies the difference in the strength of the electric field of two points - often referred to as electrical potential difference.

Voltage Drop

The loss of voltage between the input to a device and the output from a device due to the internal impedance or resistance of the device. In all electrical systems, the conductors should be sized so that the voltage drop never exceeds 3% for power, heating, and lighting loads or combinations of these. Furthermore, the maximum total voltage drop for conductors for feeders and branch circuits combined should never exceed 5%.


a fundamental unit of measurement of power, the rate of electrical work, 1 watt = 1 joule/sec. on Facebook on Twitter