Before We proceed, I wish to define the following.
This is the wire connected directly the the dynamore (generator) producing electric at the power generation plant. It is usually at the highest possible voltage as rated by the power distributor every 0.01 seconds in a power generated at 50Hz. For example if the electrical energy fed to your house is rated 230V, 50Hz, then the live wire will oscillate between zero and 230v every 0.02 seconds. It is coded red meaning danger. Touching this wire is dangerous and will give you a shock whose severity depends on many factors.
This is the earthed wire and it is at the ground potential which is usually zero Volts. This wire is usually coded black and if you find a black wire in a wiring, it is safe to handle unless otherwise stated.
Meter Box Wiring.
Your house wiring commonly known as domestic wiring is one of the End Point Wiring in electricity distribution in a country.
In this article I'll explain how your house is connected to the Mains or to the electricity grid.
Where as different countries have different standards guiding a home's connection to the National Grid, the connections are basically the same.
In Kenya, a single phase connection ( that is connecting one live wire and one neutral wire) to a house is done using aluminium cable, mostly size 16 mm squared. Once the power is in your meter box it MUST be connected to device that can automatically disconnect the power in case of an electrical fault. This can be a Double Pole or a Cut Out. See the picture below.
Diagram of a double pole.
Connect, say the LIVE to one of the poles and NEUTRAL to the remaining pole . See the picture of a double pole here.
Picture of a double pole. Note the two screws on the upper side and two screws on the lower side. These are used to fasten the connected wires tightly.
From the double pole, the outgoing wires are fed to the ENERGY METER. This is the metering gadget provided strictly by the power company so that it may keep record of the amount of energy you use in your house. Note that you can't provide your own meter nor should you bypass it so as to have free energy supply. This is a serious crime and the power company can sue you.
From the energy meter the power is connected to a second double pole. Two double poles are important in the meter box so that in case one fails, the other will RESPOND. From the second double pole, the power is fed to the DISTRIBUTION BOX also called the consumer unit inside the house where power is fed to various circuits in the house. We shall discuss the consumer unit in the next article. See the diagram below:
picture of a meter box and it's wiring.
This is very important in a house as far as usage of electricity as a form of anergy is concerned. The earthing is done as follows.
1. A copper rod of a certain specification is driven to the ground. For example in case of a three bedroom house, buy a thick 4feet rod.
2. Connect a 6mm copper wire single strand to it and bring it into the meter box. Inside the meter box, connect it to the neutral wire and the box and the other end let it accompany the other two wires, live and neutral to the consumer unit.
Why connect the earth wire to the box?
As currents flow in conductors, some charges may leak through the insulators by electromagnetic induction. These charges can accumulate in the meter box in form of STATIC charges and when a person touches the box, he can provide a connection to the ground, hence receiving a shock. Two, in case the live wire accidentally touches the box, it would be a great risk to the people around including technicians doing repair or upgrade work. With the earth wire in place, any excess charges will be earthed. In case the current is too high, the double pole or the cut out will disconnect the power automatically. Saving a potential fire or injury.
Why connect earth wire to the neutral wire?
If Earth wire is allowed to run alongside the other two wires in your house while it dint touch the neutral anywhere especially at the meter box, the earth wire becomes LIVE too even if it did not touch live wire physically. This is possible due to INDUCTION. As alternating current flows it induces voltage on a neighbouring conductor due to its changing magnetic fields. This live earth wire in turn makes the sockets' earth terminal LIVE and thus all the electrical gadgets in the house connected to the socket by a three pin plug will be live, making them dangerous to handle. Once BONDED, that is connected to the neutral, the neutral Is the RETURN wire and it makes the earth wire be at zero Volts. Ask questions on troublesome electrical wiring and we shall solve them together. In the next article, we shall look at the consumer unit.
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