How To Really Learn Electrical 'Stuff'?


Old 01-25-08, 04:37 PM
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How To Really Learn Electrical 'Stuff'?

I understand the general concept of how a circuit works and all that jazz - at about the entry level college level. But it's amazing how different it is on paper than when you are crawling around in a dark attic trying to run cables.

I can go online or look through my Home Depot book to get answers to specific things - but if I really wanted to understand and be able to do everything you could imagine an Electrician doing - how would I start?

Can someone recommend a good book that would get me started in that direction? Or is this something that shouldn't really be self-taught?
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Old 01-25-08, 05:03 PM
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Start with Wiring Simplified. Then investigate and see how your house is wired.
Old 01-25-08, 05:06 PM
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I have a few recommendations that I have posted on other forums in the past: First is "Wiring Simplified" by Richter, Schwan and Hartwell. This is a little book that you should be able to find at most home improvement stores. It is reasonably priced and covers all the basics and some more advanced stuff. There is also a much bigger version by the same authors, called "Practical Electrical wiring". It covers all the residential stuff, plus some commercial / industrial, etc. Both of these are updated every few years to cover the code changes. If all you need is diagrams, there is a book / pamphlet available at most home improvement stores called "basic wiring" and is loaded with common hookups of switches and receptacles.

If you want to get more advanced, Check out "Wiring a House" by Rex Cauldwell. It has a lot of pictures and good info. The author is a hare opinionated for my taste, but still a good reference nontheless. Another good one is a textbook called "Electrical Wiring: Residential" by Ray Mullins. It covers everything in the aspect of house wiring. It is pretty easy to read and makes many references to code. It is vary expensive. You do not need it unless you are wiring your whole house from scratch. I still highly recommend it.

If you deal with any old wiring, I recommend David E. Shapiro's "Your old wiring." It has tons of great info from someone who has been there.

The last one is the most important: The National Electrical Code. It is vital to make sure that your installation is safe and up to code. It is an expensive book to buy, but unless you are in the electrical field, you probably do not need to buy a hard copy. The NFPA has a free online version that all can look at at their web site. If you buy the NEC, I recommend the handbook version. It has extra stuff in it that makes the Code easier to understand. (average joes and pros alike) Another thing is to make sure that all those other books I mentioned are the newest and most up to date volumes and not from 1963. Finally, if you are doing anything that involves any major work that requires cooperation with your power company, you will need their local code book. It is usually downloadable from their web site. It is not nessesary for simple stuff. Just thought I'd throw that in for good measure.
Old 01-25-08, 05:18 PM
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Second on Wiring a House. Rex tells you what is required, but then goes into his "above code" practise. He even recommends his favorite brand name panel (Siemens) and backs up the nice features. He may have gotten some kickback for it, but it does give you an idea of spec grade vs. cheapest junk you see at the Borg.
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