What is the best way to understand electricity?

Because we cannot see electricity with our eyes, it can be difficult to understand electricity. You can use oscilloscopes, amp meters, and volt meters to “see” electricity. However, the analogy of a garden hose is a useful starting point to understand what’s going on in a circuit.

Hardware

  • Conductors are like hoses that allow water to flow easily.
  • A circuit is a hose that connects in one or more loops.
  • A battery works by increasing pressure.
  • A resistor is a thin hose that makes water more difficult to pass through.
  • A valve can be described as a switch, which stops electrons passing through.

Properties

  • Voltage is similar to the pressure in the hose.
  • Current is similar to the flow of water through the hose
  • The electrons passing through the hose are similar to water.

Principles

  • Elements, like water, will choose the easiest route.
  • Voltage can exist with no current (flow), just like pressure.
  • A battery (pump), is what creates current, which can be analogous to flow.
  • Resistors, like a thin hose can change the voltage in different parts (loops), of a circuit.
  • Flushing the toilet can cause voltage to drop a bit, just like in your shower.
  • Like a pump adding voltage makes the current go up
  • The volt meter can measure voltage without affecting the electrons’ path, just like pressure.
  • Current, like flow can only be measured if all electrons pass through an amp meter.

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