Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why Three Prongs
If you were to build your own electric power distribution system, you'd quickly discover some unexpected and strange effects. Sometimes your customers' appliances would fail for no apparent reason. And sometimes when you reached for a light switch, a foot-long spark would leap out to your hand and knock you senseless! What the heck?! It takes a huge DC voltage to make a foot-long spark. Why are high DC voltages appearing on your AC power lines?
This is a repost, but I felt it was relevant as it does a really good job of explaining electrical systems, and 100% of my readership is currently buying a house with old electrical wiring.
Also this Slashdot story on different countries' plugs has a lengthy nerdy discussion of electrical systems in the comments.

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