A broken electrical circuit is the common cause of many home appliance problems. By understanding how circuits work and the components they are composed of, you should be able to spot problems and complete minor repairs around the house.
Circuits that are found in appliances are made up of four main components. One component is the power source. This could be a battery or an electrical cord connected to an outlet. You should always know where all the power sources are in the appliance you are working on and how to disconnect them properly before beginning any repair.
In a circuit, the loads are the parts that do the actual work. This work could be anything that requires power to run. It could be something as simple as a heating element or something as complex as a washing machine agitator.
Another part of electrical circuits are the conductors. These are the wires or frames that connect the load with the power source. Often a broken connector is the source of the problem with an electrical appliance.
The final part of electrical circuits you should be aware of are the controls. These are things like an on off switch which allows the power supply and therefore the function of the circuit to be controlled. Some controls are user operated, while others can be controlled by the appliance itself.
These four components can be combined in different ways and amounts to create the three main types of circuits that can be found in most electrical equipment. First you have the series circuit. The series circuit allows the electricity or power to flow over only one path. Each component is carefully joined together in successive order. Any break will cause an appliance to stop working.
The second type of circuit is the parallel circuit. This has a series of circuits that are connected to a single power source. The amount of power that runs through each individual circuit can vary depending on the load (or work) each must do.
The third type of circuit combines the previous two types to complete more complex tasks. The series-parallel circuit combines both types to meet conditions when different amounts of current and voltage are required from the main power source.
Understanding the basics of electrical circuits makes it easy to identify the problem and make a repair. While the concepts of circuit types and components are simple, all of your home appliances use these principles in order to work. Next time you have an electrical problem; dare to a look and see if you can find that loose connection before you call a repairman.