An electronic system, with closed loop current flow, and relative electrical potentials present across electrical components.

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43
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7answers
4k views

Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines

It's been happening to me for years. I finally decided to ask users who are better with "practical physics" when I was told that my experience – that I am going to describe momentarily – prove that I ...
39
votes
2answers
23k views

On this infinite grid of resistors, what's the equivalent resistance?

I searched and couldn't find it on the site, so here it is (quoted to the letter): On this infinite grid of ideal one-ohm resistors, what's the equivalent resistance between the two marked nodes? ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do 'dead' batteries work again after exchanging the places of the batteries in an electronic device?

My camera, which is powered by two AA batteries in series, would not power on. I removed the batteries, exchanged their locations, and the device worked again - for another 15 minutes or so. The ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

Does alternating current (AC) require a complete circuit?

This popular question about "whether an AC circuit with one end grounded to Earth and the other end grounded to Mars would work (ignoring resistance/inductance of the wire)" was recently asked on the ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

The “Nerd Sniping” problem. Generalizations?

This question is motivated by this xkcd comic strip . The problem is indeed interesting, and my first recollection upon reading this was a similar problem in the book Problems in General Physics by ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Distorted colors of Google StreetView photographs near electric power lines

This is a followup to my question: Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines Some users presented a convincing picture that the electric shocks under power lines are primarily from the ...
14
votes
4answers
1k views

What's the physical meaning of the imaginary component of impedance?

As you know, impedance is defined as a complex number. Ideal capacitors: $$ \frac {1} {j \omega C} \hspace{0.5 pc} \mathrm{or} \hspace{0.5 pc} \frac {1} {sC} $$ Ideal inductors: $$ j \omega L ...
11
votes
5answers
610 views

Why are wires in simple circuits approximated as equipotentials?

I just answered this question: Voltage in a circuit by asserting that any two points joined only by a wire, but no other circuit elements, are at the same value of the electric potential. It is, of ...
11
votes
8answers
16k views

Electricity takes the path of least resistance?

Electricity takes the path of least resistance! Is this statement correct? If so, why is it the case? If there are two paths available, and one, for example, has a resistor, why would the ...
10
votes
3answers
510 views

How does electricity 'decide' on it's pathway? [duplicate]

I'm struggling to understand the fundamental concepts of electricity, more specifically, the way in which it 'chooses' its optimal pathway. I appreciate electricity will always choose the path of ...
10
votes
3answers
447 views

Current in a simple circuit

I was going over my notes for an introductory course to electricity and magnetism and was intrigued by something I don't have an answer to. I remember my professor mentioning, to the best I can ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Matrix solution of an equivalent resistance circuit problem

Start with a set of points $x_1, x_2, \ldots$ that are connected by wires with some resistance. Represent the resistance by a conductance matrix (conductance being one over the resistance), where ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Where does electricity go from a solar panel that is not plugged in to anything?

I found a similar question here on this site, but my question is slightly different. If a solar panel is exposed to sunlight but is not plugged in to anything--dc load, inverter, etc--where does that ...
8
votes
2answers
900 views

How does my hand amplify an FM radio signal?

I have a gizmo that broadcasts an FM radio signal from my phone's headphone socket to my car's radio antenna. Sometimes, there's another station on the same frequency with a stronger signal and my ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Resistor circuit that isn't parallel or series

What's the equivalent resistance in this circuit (between points A and B)?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it safe to use any wireless device during a lightning storm?

I need "educated" reasons whether it is safe to use any wireless device during a lightning storm. Most people said don't use it but they cannot explain why.
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Path of an electron through an electric circuit

When a potential difference is applied across a conductor, and if an electron moves from the negative terminal of the battery and reaches the positive terminal, then I want to know if the electron ...
7
votes
1answer
618 views

Can an arbitrary RLC-circuit network have non-minimum phase zeros?

I am working with certain input-output maps that can be thought of as large RLC-networks. I thought maybe this might be a place to get some thoughts/ideas/answers. My basic question is, given some ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Tying knots in power cables to prevent power surge from lightning strikes

There are plenty of references to this claim on the internet that tying knots in power cables will prevent a piece of equipment e.g. television or computer from a power surge. How can this be ...
6
votes
3answers
640 views

What happens if I throw a battery into water?

Today I have by accident thrown a AAA battery into a bucket of water. I fished it out of the water immediately (within 20 seconds or so) and nothing notable had happened and the battery is still full ...
6
votes
4answers
698 views

Why do electric motors draw current even when they are not moving?

After testing electric motors, I realized that these motors draw current even when they are not moving. I do feel that these motors are trying to move, but they are not really moving, in the end. ...
6
votes
4answers
606 views

What is the current of a capacitor when the derivative of voltage is undefined?

This is from the textbook I am reading: I know this equation for capacitors: $$i=C\cdot \frac { dv }{ dt }$$ Here is my question: how can diagram (a) be allowed if the derivative of the voltage ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Symmetry in resistor circuits

Given 6 points that are connected with each other with a resistor of resistance $R$, find the resistance between any two points. (Answer: $R/3$) (All the conducting wires have the same ...
6
votes
1answer
801 views

Why does breaking one bulb on a string of Christmas Lights cause all the rest to break in some lights?

If I break one bulb on a string of Christmas lights, or the filament goes out, then all of the rest seem to stop working. Why is this? However, I've also seen the opposite happen in some newer ...
6
votes
2answers
189 views

$V=IR$, isn't it missing something?

So I know that $V=IR$ works for circuits, but for the case of an arc-before the arc jumps, there is a potential difference, but no current, but there isn't infinite resistance is there? I don't ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How electric currents can flow between 2 points at the same potential?

According to Ohm's law, if there is a potential difference, $V$, across a resistor then there is a current, $I$, flowing through it. Since we assume that points along the connecting wire are at the ...
6
votes
2answers
205 views

Will I get a shock when I try to use my hair-dryer under water?

Occasionally people get killed in their bathtubs by having an electrical device such as a hair-dryer take the bath with them - in movies. It seems to be a common belief that this is realistic, even ...
6
votes
2answers
974 views

Lots of little questions about radiation of LC circuits

I'm trying to get a more intuitive understanding of resonant inductive coupling. It's supposed be a more efficient way to transfer electrical energy wirelessly, because the coils are only coupled by ...
6
votes
5answers
316 views

What is Electromotive force (EMF)? How is it related to potential difference?

What is Electromotive force (EMF)? How is it related to potential difference? Is it the creation of potential difference in any conductor??Is it a process?Why is it called force? Does writing emf ...
6
votes
3answers
602 views

Why can't a superconductor make a DC motor self sustaining?

Superconducting wire can host a low current magnetic field. I do not know if it supports a corresponding electrical field. Can a superconducting wire that sustains a current accelerate a DC motor? ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Can single DC 1.5V battery generates 1500 Watts power?

Suppose there is a DC $1.5\mathrm{V}$ battery connected with $1.5\times10^{-3}\mathrm{\Omega}$ resistor. Then the amount of circuit current is $I=V/R=10^3\mathrm{A}$. (according to Ohm's law) I know ...
5
votes
6answers
15k views

In an alternating current, do electrons flow from the source to the device?

If electrons in an alternating current periodically reverse their direction, do they really flow? Won't they always come back to the same position?
5
votes
3answers
34k views

Why do we use Root Mean Square (RMS) values when talking about AC voltage

What makes it a good idea to use RMS rather than peak values of current and voltage when we talk about or compute with AC signals.
5
votes
3answers
7k views

What happens when we connect a metal wire between the 2 poles of a battery?

As I remembered, at the 2 poles of a battery, positive or negative electric charges are gathered. So there'll be electric field existing within the battery. This filed is neutralized by the chemical ...
5
votes
5answers
836 views

How long would it take for electricity to flow from one terminal to other, via a 1 LY long wire?

Basically, how long does it take for electricity to determine there is a closed circuit and how does it know that the circuit exists? I'm curious to know how it knows there is a closed circuit at any ...
5
votes
2answers
612 views

Why does a capacitor discharge?

Suppose a charged capacitor (parallel plates), the negative and positive charges on two plates attract each other. Which force cause the negative charge carriers (electrons) move through the circuit ...
5
votes
4answers
950 views

How electron movement produces current,instead of having a slow drift speed

Just need a clarification here, how the current is produced due to the movement of electrons, in an external circuit,having a very slow drift speed. Normally in a battery there is high potential ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How can a circuit function with two negative battery terminals facing each other?

Here is a drawing of the circuit that is confusing me: I don't quite understand how batteries work in this diagram. If a battery has a negative and positive terminal, there must be a barrier ...
5
votes
2answers
284 views

Modeling stochastic process with frequency-dependent power spectrum

I'm trying to model of Johnson-Nyquist noise propagation in a nonlinear circuit. An ideal (linear) resistor can be modeled very nicely by the Fokker-Planck equation (equivalently, the drift-diffusion ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Does current flow back to the source through earth?

We know that if Single Line to Fault occurs, then fault current flows to the earth. I want to know whether the current will return to the source or not. For the current to flow we need a closed path. ...
4
votes
5answers
8k views

What would be the effective resistance of the ladder of resistors having n steps

I'm a tutor. This is a high school level problem. In high school, every one have might have solved a problem of effective resistance of a ladder of resistors having infinite steps. Now the problem is ...
4
votes
1answer
762 views

How can KVL & KCL be derived from Maxwell equations?

How can KVL (Kirchhoff's Voltage Law) & KCL (Kirchhoff's Current law) be derived from Maxwell equations in lumped circuits?(Lumped network : if $d$is the largest dimension of the network and ...
4
votes
5answers
366 views

Intuitively, Why is Power Proportional to $I^2R$

As the resistance of a circuit goes down, the power increases because the current increases, assuming constant voltage. Why is this? I feel like resistance and current are inversely proportional, so ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why don't electric workers get electrocuted when only touching one wire? [duplicate]

I know that when electricians work on the poles on the streets, if they only touch one wire at a time they will be fine. However, from my understanding, the negative wire is connected to a large ...
4
votes
2answers
173 views

Voltage in a circuit

Suppose I have a following circuit: I do not understand, why the potential difference between the points $c$ and $d$ is equal to the potential difference between the points $b$ and $a$? That is, ...
4
votes
1answer
638 views

How can I put a permanent current into a superconducting loop?

I know that you can use induction to create a current in a superconducting loop, but this only works as long as the coil that induces the field has a current flowing through it. And obviously, this ...
4
votes
2answers
638 views

Why is the voltage drop across an ideal wire zero?

I'm having trouble conceptualizing why the voltage drop between two points of an ideal wire (i.e. no resistance) is $0~V$. Using Ohm's Law, the equation is such: $$ V = IR \\ V = I(0~\Omega) \\ V = ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Why does connecting a battery's positive terminal to the negative terminal of another battery not create a short circuit?

This is a question regarding the physics behind the observation. I have guessed the answer to the question, but I may be wrong, so I want to wait for the responses before posting it. Some major ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

short circuit an alkaline battery

i'm not doing anything related to physics, but i'm just curious : What really happen when i short circuit an alkaline battery ? some article in the net shown that fire/explosion can be happened when ...
4
votes
3answers
690 views

What are the effects of cosmic rays on consumer electronics?

When electronics/computer companies design a new chip, processor/ memory card/ or a solar cell, do they study the effect of cosmic rays on such electronically sensitive materials? If not, why not?