Jargon Buster

a.c.:
a.c. stands for alternating current. Electricity is the movement of electrons through a conductor. If the electrons continually change the direction in which they are travelling then this is called an alternating current - a.c. for short.
Amps:
If you measure a length, you will measure it in metres. If you measure a time, you will measure it in seconds. If you measure an electrical current, it is measured in amps. Metres, seconds and amps are called 'units of measurement'.
Ammeter:
An ammeter is a measuring device that shows how much electricity is passing through the place where the meter has been connected. It measures the size of the electric current in units called amps.
Carbon Arc Lamp:
A carbon arc lamp produces light by producing a continuous spark between two pieces of carbon. A high voltage is needed to make the spark and the carbon wears away very quickly. Carbon arc lamps were used before the invention of the filament bulb, the sort of light bulb that is still used today.
Circuit:
For electricity to make things work the electricity must be able to enter an appliance, pass through it and come out again - this means it needs to have a complete way through it with no breaks - we call this a circuit. If there is a gap in the circuit then the electricity cannot flow and so the appliance cannot work.
Current:
Electricity is the movement of electrons through a conductor and this movement is called an electric current. The more electrons that flow, and the faster they move, the higher the electric current is. A large electric current is very dangerous to you. Electric current is measured in AMPS.
d.c:
d.c. stands for direct current. Electricity is the movement of electrons through a conductor. If the electrons are all travelling in the same direction all of the time then this is called a direct current - d.c. for short.
Dynamo:
A dynamo is a small machine that can make some electricity. By spinning the bar in the centre of the dynamo a small amount of electricity can be made. A dynamo is a small generator.
Earth:
In a house wiring system, the EARTH wire is for safety. If something goes wrong with an electrical item that you are using, the electricity is sent into the ground through the earth wire rather than it passing through you. Usually, the earth wire has a yellow and green striped plastic coating. However sometimes it has no plastic cover.
Electricity:
Electricity is the movement of electrons through a conductor - usually a metal. Electrons are small particles that spin around the centre (nucleus) of atoms.
Fuse:
A fuse is a safety device that stops too much electricity passing through wires. Your home will have lots of fuses. They are fitted into all electrical mains plugs. Some electrical appliances have them fitted inside them. Your house is protected by a large fuse to prevent too much electricity entering your home.
Generator:
A generator is a large machine that can make large amounts of electricity. By spinning the bar in the centre of the generator electricity can be made. A generator is a large dynamo.
Hydro-electric:
Hydro-electric is the name given to electricity produced by flowing water being used to turn a generator.
Insulation:
Electricity can pass through some materials - these are called conductors. Materials through which electricity cannot pass are called insulators. Plastic is a good insulator and so this is why plastic is used for the insulation around electric wires.
Insulating:
Electricity can pass through some materials - these are called conductors. Materials through which electricity cannot pass are called insulators. Plastic is a good insulator and so this is why plastic is used for insulating electric wires.
Joule:
If you measure a length, you will measure it in metres. If you measure a time, you will measure it in seconds. If you measure energy, it is measured in joules. Metres, seconds and joules are called 'units of measurement'.
Kilowatt:
A kilowatt is one thousand watts.
Live:
In a house wiring system, the LIVE wire is the one that brings the electricity to the house and then on to every appliance that you want to use. In modern wiring systems, the live wire is covered with brown plastic so that it can be recognised. In older systems, it is coloured red. It is the most dangerous of the wires in your home.
Neutral:
In a house wiring system, the NEUTRAL wire is the one that completes the circuit back to the power station so that appliances will work. In modern wiring systems, the neutral wire is covered with blue plastic so that it can be recognised. In older systems, it is coloured black.
Parallel:
Many electrical objects, including batteries, have + (red) and - (black) terminals. If all the + terminals are joined together and all the - terminals are connected together then the objects are said to be joined in parallel. As the electricity passes around the circuit it splits up and part of it passes through each of the objects.
Resistor:
In an electrical circuit, a resistor is a component designed to reduce the flow of current.
Resistance:
This is the opposition that a circuit, component or substance presents to the flow of electricity in an electrical circuit.
Series:
If electrical objects are connected end to end in a long loop then they are said to be connected in series. The electricity passes from one object to the next and then to the next until it has gone round the whole circuit.
Transformer:
A transformer is a device that changes, or transforms, low voltage electricity to high voltage electricity. It can also do the opposite of this and change high voltage to low voltage.
Transistor:
The transistor was invented in the 1950's and largely replace the thermionic valve. It is much smaller, cheaper to make and lasts much longer than the valve. Most electronic devices, such as televisions, radios and computers use transistors.
Thermionic valve:
This is an electronic device that is used to make electrical currents larger - used mainly in amplifiers to make sounds louder. They were used in early computers, radios and televisions. Transistors are now used to do the same job.
Triode:
A triode is a special type of thermionic valve.
Unit:
A unit of electricity is used to work out the electricity bill for your home. Electricity is priced by the number of units used. A unit of electricity is used if one kilowatt of electricity is switched on for one hour.
Voltage:
This is a measurement of electricity. It is a measure of the 'force' that makes the electricity move through wires - the bigger the voltage, the bigger is the force. This is why a high voltage is dangerous to you because it applies this big 'force' to your body to get the electricity to pass into you. Voltage is measured in VOLTS.
Voltmeter:
A voltmeter is a measuring device that shows the 'force' that is applied to make the electricity move through a circuit. It measures the size of the voltage in units called volts.
Volts:
If you measure a length, you will measure it in metres. If you measure a time, you will measure it in seconds. If you measure an electrical voltage, it is measured in volts. Metres, seconds and volts are called 'units of measurement'.
Watt:
If you measure a length, you will measure it in metres. If you measure a time, you will measure it in seconds. If you measure power, it is measured in watts. Metres, seconds and watts are called 'units of measurement'.