Electricity in the home

Electricity is supplied to the households via the mains: (Note: The colours are different for different countries)

  • Live wire (L): high voltage (240 V) wire or main wire that carries current into the house circuit. (Typically coloured BROWN)
  • Neutral wire (N): Zero voltage wire or main wire that carries current out of the house circuit. (Typically coloured BLUE)

Touching the live wire WILL give you an electric shock but touching the neutral wire SHOULD be safe. (NOTE: Do NOT touch any wires that are connected to the mains, live or neutral! If there is a wiring fault, the supposedly “safe” neutral wire will give you an electric shock!)

consumer distribution box
Consumer Distribution Box

Current is carried into the house by the live wire through a main fuse, an electricity meter, a main switch and a consumer distribution unit and then returned from the house via the neutral wire to the public power supply. This is considered to be the complete circuit.

Connecting an electrical appliance between a pair of live and neutral wires, form a complete circuit. A voltage difference (240 ~ 0 V) is set up between the terminals of electrical appliance resulting in a current flowing through the appliance resulting in a current flowing through the appliance. The electrical energy is then converted in the appliance into other form of useful energy.

Back To Practical Electric Circuitry (O Level Physics)

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