What types of electrical installations are there? What is an electrical connection?
The electrical connection or electrical circuit is the interconnection of elements or more with a closed path and the main purpose of carrying electrical energy from the producing elements to the consuming elements. There are different types of electrical connections according to the way they are connected to each other: series circuits and parallel circuits.
Series circuits are characterized by having the resistors connected in the same line between the ends. For example, the output terminal of one device is connected to the input terminal of the next. One next to the other, and therefore, the current passes from resistance to resistance, only in one direction. If one circuit fails, the others are left without electrical power.
Parallel circuits, on the other hand, are characterized by having the receivers aligned parallel to each other. These circuits have resistance (each one has one), which is connected by common points. It’s the most used connection because it’s the most stable, since it has the same voltage and current at all points of the path.
In addition, there are also mixed circuits, which, as the name itself indicates, is a mixture of series and parallel circuits.
Electrical installations are a set of electrical circuits for a better functioning of any construction, whether it’s a house, a building, a road or a public place. Besides, it must be taken into account that to build an electrical installation precaution must be taken to avoid future accidents caused by a short circuit.
Building an electrical installation is a complex job that requires many materials and devices. In addition, it’s very important to have electrical energy because it allows us to have electrical appliances that are indispensable in homes.
What are electrical installations?
Electrical installations are the set of electrical circuits through which current circulates, implemented in buildings, homes, offices, industrial plants and in all buildings. They have the purpose of distributing electrical energy in an efficient, equitable and safe way, both for constructions and for people.
Another definition of electrical installations is that they are considered a group of energy systems that are capable of producing, transmitting, distributing and accepting electrical energy for its subsequent use. This is achieved through protection and transformation elements necessary to ensure its correct operation.
Before making an electrical installation, it’s recommended to elaborate an electrical project to avoid possible failures and accidents. In addition, it’s necessary to consider the types of existing electrical installations and to follow the current official regulations in force in certain areas.
Types of electrical installation
The electrical installation is the set of electrical circuits with the purpose of conducting and distributing the electrical current from its point of origin (electrical service) to the last electrical outlet. The electrical installations can be classified according to the voltage and according to the use.
High and medium voltage installation
These are high power installations with high energy losses due to the heating of the conductors (Joule effect). The maximum potential difference between two conductors is higher than 1000 volts (1Kv). Mainly used for large industrial consumers.
Low voltage installations
These are the most common electrical installations, domestic and commercial use.
The maximum potential difference between two conductors is less than 1000 volts (1 Kv), but must be greater than 24 volts.
Very low voltage installations
These installations are rarely used due to the maximum potential difference between two conductors, which must be less than 24 volts.
With this type of electrical installation, it’s not possible to use high-powered appliances because the circuit would burn out.
These are electricity installations that generate electromotive force, and thus electrical energy from other forms of energy. High-voltage and extra-high-voltage transmission lines are used to transport alternating current from the point of generation to the centers of consumption (whether industrial plants or entire cities).
These are power lines that connect the various facilities. Power lines can be subway (conductors installed in galleries or trenches) or overhead (conductors installed on supports).
These are installations that receive electrical energy and modify its parameters, i.e. they transform the voltage of the energy (they reduce or increase it depending on whether it’s to be used or transported).
They are those that can be found in most industries and homes (most common electrical installation). They are characterized by the transformation of the electrical energy to other types and for being the antagonistic installations to the generating ones.
Parts of an electrical installation
The design of electrical installations depends on the end point of supply. For example, the various electrical requirements: number of floors, building capacity, possible electrical equipment installed, loads and more. Although the structural design is variable, every electrical installation must contain the following elements:
Mains supply: part of the installation that conducts the energy from the supply source (public network) to the point of supply (building, community and more). The service connection can be overhead or underground (normally it’s underground).
Metering equipment: it’s owned by the distribution company. It’s placed on the service connection to quantify the consumption of electrical energy by the user. The meter must be externally protected and placed in an accessible place for reading and revision.
General switchboard and protection distribution: located inside the house, it’s the heart of the electrical installation. It contains elements of protection, distribution and control of the electric current.
Switches: this device is designed to open and close the circuits or electrical connections through which current flows. The main switches are, all of them are placed between the connection and the rest of the installation:
- The main switch: it’s used as a means of disconnection and protection of the system.
- The branch switch: it’s used to protect and disconnect the feeders of the circuits that distribute the electrical energy between the sections.
- The thermomagnetic circuit breaker: it’s used to protect and disconnect the supply if an overload or short circuit occurs.
- The power control switch: is used to limit power consumption by the user. It protects the system from possible overloads.
Transformer: electrical equipment that is responsible for changing the supply voltage to the voltage required by the installation. This element is not essential since there may be installations with the same voltage as the supply voltage. On the contrary, there may be installations that need more than one transformer (with a high voltage level).
General switchboard: it’s a metallic cabinet composed of control devices. It’s placed immediately after the transformer and contains an automatic circuit breaker to disconnect the service if necessary.
Outputs for lighting and contact: The lighting unit is located at the end of the electrical installations. This unit is a consumer that transforms electrical energy into light or heat energy.
Socket or plug: it’s located on the wall and allows the passage of current when the plug and socket are connected. A maximum of eight plugs must be installed in each electrical circuit.
Grounding or neutral: it’s used to prevent the passage of current to the user due to an insulation fault between the active conductors. It has very little resistance to favor the circulation of any current leakage. It’s a safety element of the electrical installation.
Most common faults in electrical installations
The electrical installation has a very complex mechanism and for safety reasons it’s very sensitive to possible leaks and breakdowns.
The protective elements that conform it will act by deactivating the energy supply.
In most of these the disconnection is produced by prevention, even so next you will find some of the most common breakdowns.
A short circuit is one of the most common faults in the installation of electricity. This incident occurs when there is a bad connection between two conductors, a connection between two conductors of different polarity or when there is a fault in the insulation of the wiring.
Each of the circuits of the installation is designed to withstand a different current intensity, that is to say, there is a maximum current defined by the circuit breakers that limits the current flow through each circuit. When this current exceeds the limit, a power surge or overload occurs.
Loss of insulation
This is one of the most common faults, mainly due to the aging of the cables through which the electric current flows. This failure can cause the passage of current to the users, producing an electric shock.
Failure of the residual current circuit breaker
Protects users from possible electric shocks by contact (both direct and indirect). The residual current circuit breaker will automatically disconnect the power supply to the house if it detects any anomaly, defect or deviation in the installation.