The Unexpected Result of Series Circuits
When I teach electrical basics, we do this exercise where we sit down and connect a 10-watt bulb to a power supply and through a switch. It's a SUPER SIMPLE circuit—the kind you might have learned about in a high school science class. But then I grab another 10-watt bulb and tell them to connect […]
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Understanding Relays With the 90-340
Relays can be used for many different control applications, including controlling fans, blowers, other relays, or contactors, valves, dampers, pumps, and much more. A 90-340 is a very common, versatile relay that many techs have on their truck. So, we will use it as an example. A relay is just a remotely controlled switch that […]
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What is a GFI?
First off, the correct acronym for a GFI (ground fault interrupter) is “GFCI” (ground fault circuit interrupter). The purpose is to act as a safety device to protect from electrical shock. GFCIs are important components of electrical safety. GFCIs can be built into outlets, circuit breakers, and even extension cords. We generally use them for […]
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What are Dry and Wet Contacts?
I was talking about dry contacts with one of my techs, and he looked at me like I had three heads—and one of them was on fire. So, I figured it would be good to cover the difference between wet and dry contacts in a tech tip. Basically, “dry” contacts are switches with no shared […]
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Motor Speed – The Basics
How does a typical single phase motor know how fast to run? Typical induction motors are dependent of the electrical cycle rate of the entering power (measured in hertz) for their speed. Our power in the US makes one complete rotation from positive electrical peak to positive peak 60 times per second or 60hz (50hz […]
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Ohms/Continuity Basics
Some quick basics – An ohmmeter is used to measure the resistance to electrical flow between two points. The ohmmeter is most commonly used to check continuity. Continuity is not a “measurement” as much as it is a yes/no statement. To say there is continuity is to say that there is a good electrical path […]
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What Makes an Autotransformer Different?
The definition of a transformer is a device that changes the voltages in an alternating current circuit. You may have heard of an autotransformer or a buck-boost transformer, and these terms are usually used for the same type of device; they just highlight different aspects. A transformer does not need to be a buck-boost to […]
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Lockout/Tagout Basics
DISCLAIMER: HVAC School is NOT an official OSHA safety training resource! Although we provide safety tips in good faith, our website is not a substitute for safety training from an authorized OSHA training source. Locking out and tagging equipment is one of the most basic safety procedures in general industry and maintenance work, especially in […]
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Crankcase Heaters and Single-Pole Contactors
We keep two-pole, 40-amp 24v coil contactors on all of our vans. They are versatile and reliable, and you can replace most residential A/C contactors with them. There are a few things to watch for, though, especially when you have a crankcase heater. Many brands power the crankcase heater constantly and shut it on and […]
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