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2 Electrical Circuits Section 1a Revision of Circuits In each of the circuits show below, decide if the bulbs will be alight. If your answer is no, say why you think they will not light. If your answer is Yes, say why you think they will light. 2

3 Electrical Circuits Section 2b A Complete Circuit? In section 1a, you where given a number of circuits and asked to say if they would work or not. Looking at a circuit diagram which has one wire missing or just not connected makes it quite easy to say if the circuit will work or not. But what about in the real world when you have torch which will not work? Make up this circuit which shows the workings of a torch. If this fails to get the circuit working, it looks like we have a faulty component and we need to devise a way of checking each component individually. One of the simplest ways of doing this is called substitution. All this means is taking a component, a wire, bulb, switch etc. that you know works and swapping it for the same component in the faulty circuit. Keep doing this until the circuit works. This way is fine providing you have some spare components, but what if you do not? We will have to take a more scientific approach and test each component separately with what is called a continuity tester. Most of the components can be checked in this way, but not all. A continuity test is to pass a small voltage through the component, if the component is ok then a lamp will light or a buzzer sound. A simple continuity tester can be made by connecting a bulb in a bulb holder to one terminal of a battery. Fit a three connector on the other battery terminal. To test a component, touch the ends of the three connector and bulb holder on to the two terminals of the component under test. If the component is ok, the bulb will light. Press the switch, does the bulb light? Hopefully it does! But what if it does not? The obvious thing to do is to check that all the parts are properly connected, the batteries are in the correct way round and are properly connected. Finally, check that the bulb is screwed fully into it s holder. Luckily you do not have to make a continuity tester as the multimeter in your kit has one built-in. To use it, connect the test leads, black to COM and red to VΩmA, turn the meter switch to the position indicating sound [ ٠)))) ] and you are ready to test. If the component works, the built-in buzzer will sound. Your teacher may now give you some faulty circuits to test your new found skills! Good luck. 3

6 Electrical Circuits Section 4b Cell or Battery? Most of us use the term Battery to cover all types portable power supplies. If you buy a pack of 4 AA batteries, they really should be called cells. A cell is one single unit and a battery is a number of cells connected together in series. The voltage of a single cell is 1.5 Volts. When two or more are connected together in series, The construction of modern the voltage is calculated as the alkaline D cell. number of cells times 1.5. Picture by kind permission of Three cells connected in series Duracell gives a voltage of 3 x 1.5 = 4.5 Volts. Two cells gives 3 Volts and four cells gives 6 Volts. The case is the negative (-) terminal and the carbon rod is the positive (+) terminal. The electrical energy is made by the chemical reaction between the electrolyte and the metal casing. Nowadays, cells are made with a leak proof construction. In earlier times the electrolyte could eat through the metal casing and cause damage to anything it came into contact with, including skin!. Electricity is a flow of electrons. These electrons flow from the negative terminal of the cell, around the circuit and back into the cell via the positive terminal. Voltage is the way to express the force of the flow of electrons, or put another way the greater the voltage, the more bulbs will light..when cells are connected in series to increase the voltage, the correct polarity must be observed. The positive terminal on the first cell should be connected to the negative terminal of the second cell and so on. Cells are a source of energy and are constructed with an outer casing made from a metal such as zinc and filled with an electrolyte with a carbon rod in the middle. This electrolyte is usually a strong alkaline in jelly form. 6

7 Electrical Circuits Section 5a Energy and Current Energy is the ability to do work while current is the rate of flow of electricity around a circuit and is measured in Amps. There are two types of energy, Potential and Kinetic. A cell or battery is a store of energy. Until it is connected in a circuit, the energy is doing nothing, it just sits there in the cell or battery waiting to be used. This is called potential energy. A brick held two meters above your foot has potential energy and the potential to injure your foot should it fall! The tap controls the amount of water flowing and is the battery in the water circuit. The flow of water through the pipe is the electric current. With the tap on full, the water only travels about a meter from the end of the pipe, no good at all for soaking big sister! To make the water travel further, you could place your thumb partly over the end of the pipe, this makes the outlet smaller creating a resistance to the flow and increasing the pressure of the water so making it travel further. This is like a bulb in the electric circuit, it offers a resistance to the flow of current so the current is forced through the filament of the bulb at high speed and makes it glow white hot. Once the circuit is switched on, the current flows around the circuit passing through bulbs or whatever is in the circuit. This is called Kinetic energy, (the brick on the way down towards your foot). As the current passes through the circuit, it produces light and heat from the bulbs so the Kinetic energy is changed into light energy and heat energy (or pain in the case of the brick and your foot!). Once all the energy is used up, the cell or battery has to be replaced. Think of this another way. Imagine your big sister is sunbathing in the garden and you want to give her a good soaking with the garden hose! Although the element of surprise is on your side, you will still need to be some way a way from her to make an easy escape. You need enough water flowing through the pipe to soak her quickly and a high pressure of water so you can be as far away as possible. 7

9 Electrical Circuits Section 6b2 How much Current? Look at the following circuits and predict the current readings. All the batteries are 3 Volt and the bulbs are 2.5V. 0.3 Amp. Predict the current flowing through the switch A and through wires X, Y and Z. Use your multimeter to check your results. Predict the current flowing through the switch X and through wires Y and Z. Use your multimeter to check your results. Predict the current flowing through the switch A and through wires X, Y and Z. Use your multimeter to check your results. 9

10 Electrical Circuits Section 8b Fuses Please note, you will need some steel wool for this experiment, it is not provided in the kit. If the wires in a circuit have too much current flowing through them, they will get hot. This is the way we generate heat with an electric fire or light with an electric light bulb. This is perfectly safe as the wires are designed to glow red hot without melting. If however, the electric wiring in your house got too hot, the plastic covering of the wire might melt and catch fire, not what we would want to happen! To prevent this from happening a fuse is put in each circuit. A fuse is a short length of thin wire enclosed in a casing that plugs into the circuit. You will also find a fuse in the mains plug of all electrical equipment. The fuse wire is made of a metal similar to solder and has a lower melting point than the copper wire of the circuit. It too much current passes through the circuit, the fuse wire gets hot and then melts so cutting off the current. The main job of the fuse is to protect the wiring, not what is connected to it. The problem with fuses is, they only work once. Every time you blow a fuse, you have to replace it with a new one. Modern houses do not have fuses, they use circuit breakers which do the same thing as a fuse, it uses an electromagnet to sense the flow of current and switches a circuit off as soon as the current climbs to unsafe levels. The big advantage is that you can reset it over and over again. Now its time to see the fuse in action! This next experiment must be done with the supervision of your teacher or parents, the fuse wire gets very hot and you could easily burn yourself or set fire to papers etc. You will need some steel wool. Make the circuit as shown below. Set the variable resistor to maximum resistance. Attach a length of wire wool across A and B. This is best done by twisting three or four strands together, too many strands and the fuse will not work. Connect the meter as shown and set the meter to measure Amps (10A setting). Slowly reduce the resistance and watch the meter reading. Look for signs that the wire wool is getting hot, smell of burning, glowing red hot. Keep reducing the resistance until the wire wool melts and breaks the circuit. The wire wool will be very hot so do not touch it until it has cooled down. 10

11 Sensors and Alarms 1 This section supports the National Curriculum Design and Technology at Key Stage 3 and provides an easy introduction to the use of sensors. This part introduces the idea of things being controlled by sensors. Streetlights switch on when it gets dark and switch off again when it gets light. Some cars have windscreen wipers that switch on when it starts raining and switch off when it stops. Washing machine doors will not open while the machine is switched on. These are all examples where sensors are used to control what happens. Start by building this circuit. Experiment 1. All the circuits are based on the space war sound module, part number 23. This module contains a pre-programmed chip having many different space war sounds. You can listen to these sounds by switching switch 15 on and off a few times. Experiment 2. Using the touch sensor. Remove the switch 15. Place your finger on the touch sensor 12, the LED will light up, remove your finger and the LED will go out. The touch sensor works when both parts of the sensor are connected together. Your finger makes contact with both parts of the touch plate. Try using other things like a paper clip, a drop of water, a piece of wood or plastic or a piece of tinfoil. Experiment 3. Using the reed relay 13. The reed relay is a sensor controlled by a magnet. Connect the reed relay 13 in place of the switch 15, bring the magnet close to the reed relay and the LED will light up. Remove the magnet and the LED will go out. Inside the switch are two strips of steel that do not touch each other. The magnet causes the two steel strips to touch so that electricity will flow. Experiment 4. Using the light sensor 16. Replace the reed relay 13 with the light sensor 16. Point the light sensor at a bright light and the LED will light up. Put you finger over the sensor, the light will go out. The light sensor contains a light sensitive resistor which has a low resistance in bright light and a high resistance in the dark. When the resistance is low, electricity can flow through the sensor. When the resistance is high, electricity will not be able to flow. To keep noise levels down, the loudspeaker could be replaced with the red light emitting diode (LED) (17). The LED will only work when the positive end (+) is connected to the positive end of the battery, in this case, via the top blue 4 connector. 11

12 Sensors and Alarms 2 Having found out how sensors work, this next section shows you how to use the circuits to alert you to any change detected by the circuit. Start by building the circuit below. Experiment 5. Protecting your bicycle. Connect a long thin wire to terminal A, pass the wire through your bicycle wheel and connect the other end to terminal B. Switch on using switch 15. If your bicycle is removed, the wire will be broken and the alarm will sound. The best way to connect the wire to the terminals is to make a small loop in the end of the wire, put the loop on terminal A and clip the connector on top of it. Experiment 6. Protecting doors or windows. Fix the reed relay on the door or window frame, using doublesided adhesive tape or other means. Connect the terminals of the reed relay with thin wire to terminals A and B. Fix the magnet on the door close enough to the reed relay to make the contacts touch. Switch on switch 15. If the door or window is opened, the reed relay contacts will open and the will alarm sound. Experiment 7. An automatic rain detector. Remove the resistor 30. Connect the touch sensor 12, to the terminals used by the resister, using thin wire. Switch on and hang the touch sensor out of a window. If it starts to rain, the touch sensor will get wet and the alarm will sound. A B 12

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