MadSci Network: Engineering

Re: What is a circuit overload?

Date: Fri Apr 17 17:05:57 1998
Posted By: Justin Remais, Student and Engineer Asst., University of California at Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Area of science: Engineering
ID: 889991764.Eg

Hello Savannah,
	A circuit overload is defined as the flow of electricity into 
conductors or devices at a level that exceeds their capacity. What does 
that mean?!? First, where do overloads occur? They can occur in any 
electronic device. Inside every electronic device (like your microwave, 
remote control, Nintendo64, etc.) are small components that make use of 
electricity, performing a function for you (cooking your food, changing the 
channel, playing a video-game, etc.). The electronic components inside the 
device are rated to handle a certain amount of electrical current (the 
movement of electrons through the component). When this capacity is 
exceeded (when too many electrons are pushed through the device), damage 
can occur. This is typically because electrical current generates heat, and 
the components in your device are designed to dissipate a certain amount of 
expected heat. If the current exceeds the current-rating, the heat produced 
typically exceeds the heat-rating, usually burning up the component, 
rendering it non-functional.

I hope this helps! Learning about basic electrical properties (such as 
current and voltage) and circuitry components (such as resistors, inductors 
and capacitors) will certainly augment your understanding!

Yahoo! searches for "Electricity, Magnetism and Physics" may prove useful!

Take Care and Regards,

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