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Ground questions: How do negative electrons come from, and yet also go into the Earth?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Euphonica, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. David C

    David C Tele-Meister

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    The OP wanted to know basic electrical theory. Try to think in terms of water flowing through a pipe. The pressure is the voltage and the current (Amps) is the amount of water flowing through the pipe. There is only one way water will flow through the pipe and that is if there is a higher pressure at one end. So, you could use a pump to generate the pressure. In electrical terms, we use a transformer or a battery. The pump increases the pressure on the pipe causing the water to flow. A battery increases the voltage causing the electrons to move through the wire. This is current in electrical terms. the voltage on the battery is equivalent to the pressure of the pump. Everything moves from higher to lower potential. Water flows downhill in a pipe, electricity moves toward a lower potential or ground. However, in electricity, the electrons move from negative to positive. It's just the way it was defined by Ben Franklin and it has stuck with us. This is just DC circuits. In AC currents you get into other things like capacitance, inductance, and impedance. This is what you find in a guitar amp. But that is a deeper lesson.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
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  2. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Elpico gave a great explanation of ground. I recently had my main panel replaced on my house, which was built in the 70s. To comply with updated electrical codes, my electrician had to install a conductive rod into the literal ground and hook up a fat wire to it. This clearly allows house wiring to ensure that any metal chassis is directly connected to the Earth so it has the same voltage potential.



    He also had to connect a ground wire to our water pipes. Imagine if a hot wire comes loose and touches a water pipe. Without the ground wire, now every faucet in the house has a 110V potential on it. If I touch it then ZAP the electricity goes through me to ground. But with a ground wire installed, as soon as the hot wire touches the pipe electricity starts flowing from hot to ground with almost no resistance, triggering a circuit breaker.

    Same idea for an appliance chassis as for the pipes. Hot wire comes loose and touches the chassis? Zap- circuit breaker gets triggered.

    A car is insulated from the Earth by its rubber tires. But the whole car body is “ground”. The negative battery terminal is physically connected to the metal chassis. If a hot wire touches any part of the car body you get a big fat spark.
    When using jumper cables you connect negative first. That way when you go to connect the positive terminal if you are clumsy and touch part of the car instead of the battery terminal there’s no big spark. Also that’s why the positive battery terminal has a plastic cover over it but the negative doesn’t. You can touch that negative terminal and part of the car body with no electricity flow because they’re at the same voltage potential. But touch the positive terminal and then any part of the car and ZAP.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  3. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    I have read that Blencowe quote before, and I'm sure he knows his stuff. And I have read other very smart guys describing current in the same way. But it seems that they tend to address only the more pedantic points of how terms are used relative to the core point of charge and current. When someone says that current flows from A to B, yes it is technically gibberish, but it is meant to say (whether the person knows it or not) that charge flows from A to B. And as far as I know when talking about electric circuits, negative charge does flow in a conductor between a voltage potential difference where one point must be lower than the other with respect to ground. Otherwise, how else can the following sort of phenomenon be explained? See the high frame rate section of the video starting at 7:16.



    Also, I haven't seen any model of current presented by Blencowe or anyone else which counters the model of charge flow from a point of more negative charge to a point of more positive charge. Any statements that I have seen about current not having a direction have been left at that, up in the air without anything presented to back it up.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  4. Euphonica

    Euphonica Tele-Meister

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    You fellas are just awesome, I think I understand it! Thank you so much for your time and responses.


    YES! This is exactly the explanation I was seeking. This makes a ton of sense. Thank you so much for breaking it down like that. I now understand why the wire connected to the spike in the ground is called neutral.


    Oh wow yeah, I hadn’t really gotten to thinking about balanced or unbalanced yet. Funny story, I am a sound guy and use balanced and unbalanced stuff for years, but all I really knew was “you can run a balanced mic signal farther.” Ha! This is awesome.


    My house in New Orleans was built over 100 years ago, and it has a spike in the ground. I hadn’t considered voltage potential in this way, but this clears it up even more!


    I understand batteries and generators, but the whole neutral thing is a new concept. I really like your explanation of it!


    Gasp! More things I hadn’t considered. I had no idea the electrons moved that fast from the cathode to the plate. Thank you!


    Thank you for the link! I am currently reading the Vanvalkenburg Nooger and Melville Basic Electricity. I am only on the third book. I have the five books on basic electronics lined up next. I started with guitar amp books but realized I wanted a more fundamental understanding before I get into it. I will check that link!


    Actually I have a fledgling’s understanding of the theory, I just didn’t understand how the ground wire works in AC circuits. I don’t know if these 1954 books even have that!


    Thank you so much for the layman’s terms, I really appreciate your explanation. It ties a lot of theories together!


    DUDE that video is insanely awesome. Wow! I was laughing and gasping like a child.


    Thank you guys so much for all the great information. I actually think it makes sense now! I find it crazy that the magnetic core has nothing to do with any of this, But I guess it’s more about gravity and the atmosphere than the magnetism of the core.
     
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  5. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    What we're seeing in the video is corona discharge. What causes that phenomena and explaining what is actually happening with the high frequency pulses, electric fields, and charged regions requires some heavy physics.
     
  6. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Another thing about the center-tap 'neutral' in split-phase power.

    Say you have a 1 amp current through a load on a circuit. If you measure the current before the load or after the load, it should be same, 1 amp.

    But with split-phase things get a little strange. Call the legs of the transformer secondary feeding the main service panel L1, N, and L2. Since L1 and L2 are out of phase with reference to N, current through L1 to N should cancel with current from L2 to N, at N.

    So say that you have a load with a 1 amp current on L1 to N. If you measure current from L1 to the load, it should be 1 amp. And if you also have a load with 1 amp of current on L2 to N, you should measure current of 1 amp from L2 to the load. But if you measure the current from N (transformer center-tap) to the service panel where the two neutral wires of the loaded circuits meet, the current should be 0 (or close to it). That would be described as a balanced load across the two legs L1 and L2 to N. Similarly, if you had say a 3 amp load across L1 to N and a 2 amp load across L2 to N, the current through N to where the circuit neutral wires meet should be 1 amp, which would be described as being an unbalanced load. Transformers are strange.

    Also, because of the nature of a center-tapped transformer to split phase, a transformer could be used as a phase-inverter. https://sites.google.com/site/yourtubeamp/homebrews/phase-inverters
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  7. trxx

    trxx Tele-Afflicted

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    Without getting into any of that (and the same for lightning) we can see an effect caused by propagation of current. If it were the case that current had no direction from negative charge to positive charge, I would think that we should see the intensity across the corona discharge be more equal between points. But what we see is that the intensities and lengths of the corona discharge progress over time.
     
  8. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

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    Have you seen a crowd in a stadium do "the wave?" They stand up and sit down quickly, in a direction going around the stadium, so from a distance it appears that a "wave" is rippling thru the mass of people. So it's the wave that moves, while the people are still in their same seats after the wave has passed. Or the ripples of concussive force that travel across the ground immediately following an underground nuclear test detonation. The wave travels extremely fast, and can cause lots of damage as it moves, but the individual pieces of earth that help pass the wave from one particle to the next do not move across the earth, they end up in the same place (more or less) after the wave passes.

    One of my teachers explained it to us like that. The electrons don't actually travel along the wire from point A to point B, like water in a pipe. Instead the electrons stay in place but "conduct a wave" of electromotive force (that is related to magnetism and polarity) from particle to particle, and it's the wave that moves along the conductive path. The power or pressure of the wave is voltage, and the speed of the wave is frequency. Loosely similar concept to how compression and rarefaction in air moves sound waves.
     
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  9. thankyouguitar

    thankyouguitar Tele-Meister

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    Much amazing info already in this thread, but I wanted to add a couple things that have helped me think through this topic:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_(electricity)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power

    https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/watch-play/interactive

    The term "ground" gets used in a few different ways and it can be useful to learn the differences between the ground that provides fault protection and the ground that is the path back to the beginning of a circuit.

    Also, electric guitar as a concept utilizes both AC and DC at various points. The guitar itself generates AC. The amplifier plugs into an AC power source, but after it's rectified, the rest of the amplifier works on DC (excepting the filament heaters if it's a tube amp).

    Some things I continue to wrap my head around are that AC circuits generate work through the effects of the change in direction of the flow of charge. In three phase AC (in the usa anyway), "each conductor is equal in magnitude to the sum of the currents in the other two, but with the opposite sign. The return path for the current in any phase conductor is the other two phase conductors." And that the wavelength of 60Hz is longer than 3000 miles. Science! XD
     
  10. Euphonica

    Euphonica Tele-Meister

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    Wow! Those are some pretty lofty links, but there is some great information there relating to my questions. Thanks!!
     
  11. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Looks like most of the high points have been covered. Boiled down to the most basic level, your question stems from the fact that most people are lazy about terminology. Zillions of things from flashlights to automobiles function perfectly without an electrical bond to an earth ground. Most of the time when you're talking electronics the word 'ground' actually means a common point. That common point may or may not be bonded to an earth ground.
     
  12. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

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    Can everyone please stop using the word theory so incorrectly? Any jerk on the street telling you "I have a theory about that" is doing a lot more harm than they realize. I understand we have left the age of the expert and entered the age of the YouTuber but come on...

    A theory in science is a formulation and explanation of phenomena that is well-proven experimentally and is capable of making predictions. So no, please don't write off true scientific theories as "remember it's just a theory." Electromagnetism has been very well-understood since 1873 when Maxwell unified the two theories. No theory since then has replaced what he did, but sure they added to it with quantum electrodynamics but that's for another thread.

    Check out the PhET simulations linked below, and read up on DC circuits at Hyperphysics also linked below. Learn DC before AC, take a physics class on it if you can. No offense to the users here but honestly there are so many better resources for learning basic physics than a forum of almost entirely musical hobbyists.

    Physics simulations:
    https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/filter?subjects=physics&sort=alpha&view=grid

    Maybe best of all is the analogy to water flow in pipe circuits, check that out here and scroll down to "ground-reservoir analogy":
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/watcir.html#c2

    DC Circuits:
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/dccircon.html

    Electrical power generation:
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/powerp.html

    Household circuits:
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/hsehld.html

    Ground fault interrupter:
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/electric/gfi2.html

    Learn physics from physicists, not a forum.

    Rant over I guess. :lol:
     
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  13. Euphonica

    Euphonica Tele-Meister

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    Are you calling this thread spam? Do you have any physicists that I can call up? There is no way in heck I am going to attempt to find some sort of physics forum and ask about guitar amps. However if you know of one, please let me know and I might check it out. I feel I now know what I wanted to know, and don’t really need to go much deeper. Thank you for the links!

    By the way, I now officially wish to go back to school for electronics. No idea how I can do that but it is kind of a goal now.
     
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  14. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    This is all very well, but will I need different coloured electricity for my Christmas lights?

    78f2d68d2e4e15b6c084aee6972f19f4--holiday-images-christmas-lights.jpg
     
  15. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There are a lot of physicists, technicians and engineers here, not to mention a lot of gifted amateurs. The membership here are a pretty diverse bunch. Posting links to a lot of convoluted articles that don't answer a simple question doesn't help anyone.
     
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  16. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Holic

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    David C, that's a great way to explain basic electrical theory. In the late 60's while attending Buddy-Stores (on wing inflight refueling unit) training, the ADJ1 (USN: Aviation Jet Mechanics Mate) who was struggling to teach us AE's (USN: Aviation Electrician Mate) the mechanics of how the Buddy-Store worked, used the same approach so help understand the mechanics of the system ,i.e., pumps, accumulators, control valves, hydraulic flow, etc.
     
  17. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

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    Those pesky electrons, eh. I'm genuinely in awe of the technical savvy on display here. Sadly it is all way over my head. Now where's my geetar?
     
  18. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Afflicted

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    I hope it's over. This is like telling a bunch of beer drinkers at a bar they can't possibly discuss what they know about electricity and circuits because none of the beer drinkers is a physics professor. What a bunch of hogwash. No offense but your attitude is showing, and it aint purdy and it isn't just in this thread.

    Amazing thing these forums. Even though we don't come off as physics professors and rocket scientists, there is still one thing you can learn from us....... the theory of humility.
     
  19. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Holic

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    Hey man that is so cool that you want to get into this deeper. I am not a physicist but I studied physics in college because I thought it was cool. I became good friends with a guy who set up the labs. He was not a professor and I don't think he had a degree in physics but he had the patience and time to teach me things at what he called the "Sesame street" level. To me that was more valuable than memorizing equations. He was glad to tell me how resistors worked for example or he would demo stuff like conservation of energy by having me push a crank and then attach a bulb to it.
    This was unlike some of the professors who had no time for anybody outside of class. I asked a real smart guy after his lecture on probability functions why running around a track is not accurately described by a simple equation of an object going around a oval and his response was, Take quantum II. LOL

    Anyway if you want to link this back music I highly recommend Basic Electronics by Valkenburgh from thr 50s if you haven't checked it our already. The first two volumes are short and will give you enough information to help you understand the Champ circuit then you can build it!

    https://archive.org/details/BasicElectronicsVolumes151955/mode/2up

    Man, people used to be smart! ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  20. Sconnie

    Sconnie Tele-Afflicted

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    I was not doing that at all! I came in hot cause there were multiple instances on the first page of some pretty bad misuse of terminology and convoluted responses. I figured you would want some resources to investigate it further for yourself, from some good and really useful resources. I didn't want to tell you the answer for a seemingly simple question, I wanted to give you the means to understand it for yourself. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person.

    FWIW I think it's a great idea to pursue this further at school, it's a rich and fascinating topic that will open so many doors for you. What's more, guitar amps are progressively niche topic that you'll want to learn as much about as you can, before the tribal knowledge is lost. This just struck me as a physics question, not a tube amp question.

    Lastly, once you start learning about it, you will always want to go deeper :D It's human nature!

    I know this, it's what makes this place so great. I just thought it was the kind of question that could be better answered elsewhere. The OP could get a deeper and more valuable understanding of this from more practical resources than just being told by who knows who on a forum. I studied physics myself, work as an engineer, and when I saw the OP I immediately thought of how useful the PhET sims and Hyperphysics pages would be, because we used them in school all the time. I read a few replies and thought "wow none of this will help as much." So rather than attempting to answer a seemingly simple question (that has a not so simple answer), I thought it best to recommend some proper resources than even taking a whack at it myself. I apologize for any offense.

    I'm sorry for coming in hot! See my replies above. Plus I get worked up seeing poorly written responses and misuse of important terminology. Anyway, there was a great thread earlier about the crazy topic of time dilation. I loved and participated in that one, and it's much like the type of beer drinking discussion I'm all for. But this was totally different, with a very well-understood answer that I thought the OP would be better off getting the answer elsewhere, so I pointed them in the direction I thought would help.

    And I see what ya did there at the end, nice try haha :lol: I hope one day I can redeem myself for my crappy attitude today!
     
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