An electric coil or electromagnetic coil is an electrical conductor, usually wire, in the shape of a coil or similar shape. Most of these coils are wrapped around a core made of a ferrous material such as iron.
This simple component can be used in countless applications, due in large part to the unique interactions between magnetic fields and electrical current in such a configuration.
Electric coils are a common component of heating units. In heating applications, the device may be an electromagnetic coil generating heat through induction, or a simple resistance-based heating element in a coil shape.
In order to fit a wide array of applications, there are many types of electric coils differentiating in terms of wire gauges, wire lengths, coil diameter and the materials around which the wire is wound. Electric coil varieties are all able to be customized to meet specific demands. Also, in addition to transmitting heat, sound or electricity, electric coils are required to perform several different functions. For instance, electronics, automotive, medical, computer, appliance and telecommunication industries rely heavily on electric coils in order to produce movement, regulate flow and/or transform electric currents. While these may seem like very different functions, the basic electromechanical principles used in all electric coils are generally the same: a conductive metal wire is wound around an insulator, which could be a material as simple as cardboard or plastic, or even air. The two ends of the wire are usually made into electrical connection terminals called "taps", which are then connected to an electric current. When the current moves through the coiled wires, the coil itself becomes magnetized (although in some cases it can become demagnetized). The force created by this phenomenon is harnessed by companies such as solenoid valve manufacturers, electric motor producers, and MRI machine suppliers, among others.
Electric switches are devices that can open or close an electrical circuit. A majority of electric switches are binary devices that are either (1) closed to allow electrical current to pass through the circuit, or (2) open and unable to transmit current. Other types of electric switches have multiple closed positions that allow currents of varying voltages to pass through, which alters the output of the device or equipment to which the switch is attached.
The term circuit breaker is sometimes used as synonym for an electric switch. This stems from the "open" status of a switch, in which an electrical circuit is physically altered or disrupted in order to "break" the circuit and prevent current flow. More accurately speaking, however, a circuit breaker is a safety-related accessory responsible for changing the switch to an "open" status when too much electrical current exists.
Electric transformers are inductively coupled electro-magnetic devices that transfer electrical energy from one circuit to another. All electronically operated equipment depends on power transformers to convert electrical currents into voltages that fit a specific application, and current transformers are also required in order to store and transport energy through power lines and grids.
Because there are so many contexts in which electronic transformation is necessary, there exists a wide variety of electric transformers to accommodate them. Auto transformers, step-up and step-down transformers (which can be found here and here respectively), toroidal transformers, zig zag transformers and pulse transformers are just a few examples. By transferring electrical energy through two coil stages, transformers can increase, decrease, isolate, translate and pattern electrical currents to safely power electronic equipment of all voltage requirements. Electric transformer manufacturers configure transformers differently to meet all types of electric transformation applications and range in size from thumb-sized transformers in electric lamps or microphones to the enormous stationary transformers in power facilities. Low voltage transformers convert electrical currents into voltages that fit appliances such as dimmer lights and other small electronic devices, while high voltage transformers are used in the transmission of electricity between power generation facilities and its points of consumption. Most transformers are isolation transformers because they facilitate the transmission of electricity through induction, and many transformers are 3 phase transformers, capable of transforming electricity in 3 phases.
In addition to converting currents to a higher or lower voltage, electric transformers can serve to isolate parts of circuits from others. Auto transformers, however, have no isolation between the source and load circuit; they transmit electricity through conductors that are in contact with each other. You can find a list of manufacturers making these types of transformers on IQS Directory.
Electrical connectors compose a vast family of very different devices that possess the common denominator of somehow completing an electrical circuit. Connectors provide a convenient way to form electrical circuits that can be disassembled in the future should the need arise.
The most familiar connectors are found at the ends of power cords and in wall sockets; they are used to transmit electric power (usually AC) between a power source and a device that operates on electric power. Other connectors form electrical circuits between pieces of equipment themselves. Since connectors are largely used to create more flexibility in creating and maintaining circuits, many of them are designed to be temporary (in the case of various portable appliances). However, a connector can serve as a more permanent electrical link between two wires or machines (e.g. a television cable).
Electrical enclosures are boxes that shield electronic equipment such as conduits, connections and switches from the environment and from tampering.
A membrane switch can be most simply interpreted as the tactile user interface between humans and electronics. The ASTM describes a membrane switch as a momentary switching mechanism in which at least one of the contacts is made of, or adheres to a flexible substrate. Touch pads and keyboards for phones, computers, remote control devices, and microwave ovens employ membrane switches to operate their electronic functions.
Also referred to as electric cords, power cords can be used to transfer direct electrical current (DC) or alternating electrical current (AC). Most cords are AC power cords that conduct energy in which the direction of current flow is periodically reversed. The power supply cord, or cable assembly, is comprised of a wire composed of highly conductive material such as copper, surrounded by an insulative material and then sealed in a protective outer jacket, with a plug cover to ensure safety around the electrical outlet. In North America, NEMA power cords (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) are the standard for electrical plugs, cord voltage capabilities and receptacle configuration. International power cords and plug adapters are used in conjunction with electrical appliances in countries different from those in which they were designed to operate. Cord sets are used in any application which requires the existence of electrical energy to operate, such as office space, industrial operations, medical machinery, commercial appliances etc. For specialty equipment such as construction machinery, sound and lighting equipment, emergency medical defibrillators and electrical power tools, used in locations without a convenient power source, extension cords are used to carry the electrical current up to hundreds of feet away from an outlet
Retailers, hospitals, almost all manufacturers, and virtually every business in our industrial world uses power cords every day. Power cords are the path on which energy travels from a power supply to the machine. Experts rate power using volts (or kilovolts, kv, for larger quantities), so the potential of a specific cord is determined by how much power it can transport. When determining the appropriate power cord type to be used for different applications, there are many factors to be considered such as equipment location, duration of use, strain of the operation etc. Power cord manufacturers adhere to standard regulations for voltage ratings, current, wire diameter and length, jacket material, maximum cable temperature, as well as the type of molded plug and female receptacle to be used. The capability of a cord to successfully handle the required flow of electrical energy will depend on these factors, and the quality of electricity transmitted will be affected accordingly. Cord wire sizes and voltage capacities are designated according to the American Wire Gauge (AWG) standards. The appropriate wire size is therefore determined by the amount of voltage required to flow through the cord. Wire shape can be either flat or round according to whichever is more appropriate for the application. Jacket material is another consideration and may be determined by the intended use and location of the power cord. For example, if the cord is purposed for rugged, outdoor usage, a jacket material will be waterproof and more durable than a cord intended only for use indoors, for instance with a laptop computer. Another consideration for jackets is the possible existence of electromagnetic interference and whether or not the wires in a power cord require further protection, such as those used with medical equipment.
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) is responsible for setting the stringent standards used in North America for electrical supply components, and this ensures a high quality of electrical supply is maintained. Other countries have their own voltage systems and electrical component layouts, and so those respective countries determine the standards and controls implemented in their power cords. Manufacturing standards such as those enforced by NEMA help to maintain consistency in power cord production, and decrease the chance of malfunctions due to quality standards. As with any component used in the transferring of electrical power, there are important safety precautions to be undertaken in the use of power cords. Personal injury, death and/or extensive property damage can occur as the result of deterioration, malfunction or misuse of electrical equipment, and it is important for there to be measures in place to reduce these risks. Polarization, or grounding, is an important aspect of electrical plugs and appliances, especially for higher voltage appliances or for electrical equipment that has a higher risk of causing electric shock when live. Sensitive electrical equipment and products should only be used with polarized or grounded cord sets. Other safety precautions for electrical supply components include plug covers, waterproof protective materials, fuses and circuit breakers.
Power supplies, or power supply units (PSU), are devices that produce electrical power and provide reliable electrical currents that power electronics, machinery and devices for both industrial and commercial use.