Sept. 12, 2011 For entries after Sept. 12, 2010, please click on WindTapper's Blog (top of the list on the left of this page). Once there at WindTapper's Blog, scroll down and click on "Electrical Matters" in the list of topics, printed in white letters on the left side near the bottom of the page.
Sept. 12, 2010: Bridge Rectifiers
As I am now contemplating actually building an electric generator powered by the wind I am reminded that I should figure out what to DO with the electricity, in actual fact, before generating electricity. Since the output will be alternating current (AC) but not high enough voltage to actually run much of anything, I'll be needing to convert the AC to direct current (DC) in order to store it in a battery for later use.
I graduated from an adult education evening 2-year course in Electronics Servicing in 1992. Before that I had earned a Bachelor's degree majoring in Computer Science. Now I am hoping to study Electrician's Training by correspondence, to aid me in circuit design and more importantly, to aid me in learning to know if a circuit is designed to be as safe as possible.
I think that wall outlets that have "ground fault interrupts" are the safest. We had some of our outlets -- around bathroom and kitchen sinks and exterior outlets -- upgraded to ground fault interrupts when we started to buy our house in 2002. If there is a short anywhere connected to the outlet, the outlet shuts down, completely preventing harmful shocks. The outlet can then easily be reset if the short is removed first.
Our dishwasher broke down a couple weeks ago and a few days ago it was finally repaired, but the ground wire was disconnected as per instructions to the repairman from the manufacturer. This lack of a groundwire made me nervous until I remembered how many appliances I have seen that require a ground wire but lack a grounded circuit to plug them into. Lacking that type of wall plug, all you can do is buy one of those adaptors to take the plug from three to two prongs. That is not as safe as a grounded circuit. But the circuit to which our dishwasher was connected -- all along -- was not set up to have a ground, so I can see how we might be no worse off than before the ground wire was removed by the repairman.
Repeated from the Safety Concerns page (May 20, 2010):
Yesterday I started on Tom Henry's Electrician Training Course, Learn to Be An Electrician, Module E-1: Electron Theory. This course helps people like me who are beyond the age limit for being admitted to Electrical Union pathways to certification, but still need to know how to protect their houses from fire caused by electrical hazards. Tom Henry's course is available for purchase on the web, btw. They are out of Winter Park, FLA. The first module demonstrates fire hazard due to improper design of electrical circuits, among other things. If you are not into correspondence courses, at least look at Tom Henry's Electricity in Motion DVD. It repeats much of Module E-1, but adds more demonstrations of fire hazards due to improper circuit design.