Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
August 9, 2011

Electrical Dictionary

If you’re going to walk the walk you need to be able to talk the talk, and that means knowing the difference between a diode and a resistor, and where and when you need to use them. So bone up on these electrical terms and be ready for that pop quiz!

AWG (American Wire Gauge): An industry standard specification for wire size, the larger the number the smaller the diameter of the wire.

Battery: A multi-cell electrical storage device used as a source of power.

Circuit Breaker: A resettable switch that disengages in the event of excessive electrical amperage (they can be manually or automatically reset).

Current: The flow of electricity through a conductor (circuit, wire, and so on).

Diode: A semiconductor that allows current flow only in one direction.

DMM/DVOM (Digital Multimeter/Digital Volt/Ohm Meter): An electronic tool that measures several electrical ranges in one tool, including AC and DC voltage, current, and resistance.

Fuse: A device that interrupts the flow of current through a circuit if the amperage exceeds the rating of the fuse.

Fusible Link: Similar to a fuse, the fusible link is a section of wire four AWG sizes smaller than the wire circuit it protects, melting “open” in the case of excessive current.

Open Circuit: A wiring circuit that is incomplete, usually a broken or disconnected wire.

Parallel Circuit: A circuit where all connections are parallel to each other. Dash illumination is an example of a parallel circuit.

Relay: A device that uses one circuit to turn off or on another circuit, usually of a higher amperage.

Resistance: The opposition of electrical current flow through a circuit or wire, measured in ohms.

Resistor: An electrical component that limits/regulates the current flow through a circuit.

Series Circuit: A circuit where the electrical connections are wired end-to-end. Early Christmas tree lights are an example of series wiring.

Short Circuit: A condition where a wiring circuit has no resistance, typically a short is a wire carrying voltage touching ground, causing an alternative voltage path.

SPDT (Single Pole/Double Throw): A type of switch that connects a common pole to either of two contacts.

SPST (Single Pole/Single Throw): A type of switch that connects a common pole to one contact that can be turned off or on.

Voltage: The measurement of potential electrical energy to move electrons from one point to another.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery