Here is some info on electricity.
Electricity flows through things called circuts. A Circut is the wire, diodes, capacitors, resistors and other components electricity goes through to do its job. For electricity to flow it must have a complete circut. Breaks in a circut are called shorts and will disrupt the flow of electricity.
Breakers are the first place electricity enters your circut. It is a safety divice used to ensure that the circut dosnt draw more amps than what it is rated at and to protect against fires caused by grounds/shorts. Breakers are designed for a safe working load with a bit extra for protection against surges. The safe working load of ANY breaker is 80% of what its rated at. EXAMPLE:A 20amp breakers safe working load is 16amps(20 X's.80=16).The 4 amps left are for safety to ensure power surges/spike dont trip the breaker. On a 15 amp breaker the safe working load is 12 amps. So the formula for calculating a breakers safe opperating load at is (Breakers size(amps) x's .80) To change 80% into a useable number simply move a decimal 2 places left. EXAMPLE 63%=.63 or 118%=1.18 etc...
Next place the electricity flows is into a wire from the breaker. Wire size is determained by the size of the breaker its connected to.The more amps the bigger the wire needed. Wire size is messured in units called "American Wire Gauge" or "AWG" for short. The higher the Gauge number the smaller the wire, The smaller the gauge the bigger the wire. EXAMPLE= A #14gauge wire is smaller than a #8gauge wire. A #22 gauge wire is smaller than a # 14gage wire. The Gage index for the most part moves in multiples of 2's. EXAMPLE- There is 14,12,10,8,6,4,2 gauges of wire while there isnt any 13,7,3 gauge wire. Here is a Break down of wire size needed for amps drawn.
Personally the smallest wire I'll use is #12 wire. It gives extra protectin from melting/hot wires caused by too much electricity/resistance flowing through too small of wire. Wire is also colored for certain uses EXAMPLE- Green wire is for grounds, white is for nutrual/common and any other color(be it red,black,brown,blue,pink anything but green and white) are used as "hots". Hots are wires that are chaged with electricity. When a wire or circut is charged with electricity they are considerd "Hot".
Next place your electricity goes is either an outlet or a switch. Outlets are rated for safety as well. They make 15amp outlets, 20 amp outlets and outlets that handle high watts as well. Most every outlet in peoples house's are 15amp. When looking at a 20amp outlet there will be an extra slit/slot on the right side little hole where the prongs from the plug go into the outlet. It looks like a sideways T. This is a safety feature as anything that uses electricity and requires a 20amp circut will not have a normal plug. One prong on the plug will be horizontal as normal while the other prong is turned purpindicular. They do this so the device requiring a 20amp circut and outlet can not be plugged into a 15amp outlet. Another type of outlet are GFIC's or Ground Fault Interupter Circut. These are the outlets with the 2 buttons on them that say "test and reset". They opperate like a breaker does by protecting against sures/spikes and shorts BUT are way more sensitive and offer better protection that breakers alone. When installing outlets in grow rooms its best to make sure all the power being used are on gfi protected circuts. In doing so you will be protected against electrical fire caused by shorts and breakers not tripping. Also if you try and reset a gfi which has no power flow it wont reset. These outlets come in the same sizes and have the same prong configuration as normal outlets.
Now for some formulas. To calaculate watts used by any piece of EQ just multiply the amps used by said EQ by the voltage required. EXAMPLE- A device using 10amps requiring 120volt uses 1200watts or Amps x's volts=watts. To figure out amps used by any EQ just divide instead of multiplying EXAMPLE- Watts / volts='s amps or 1200watts/120volts=10amps.
Heres the formula for calculating how much it would cost to run your whole set up. We are billed per the kilowatt hour, A kilowatt hour is 1000watts used in one hour of time. So if you have a 1000watt light you will be billed for every hour it is on as it is a kilowatt BUT if you use a 400watt light then it would take 2.5 hours to be billed one incrament or kilowatt hour. Simply find out how many watts each piece of EQ uses in a day then add them all together and multiply by 30(number of days in most billing cycles) This will give you the total watts your set up uses per month. Now take your monthly wattage use and divide it by 1000. This will give you how many kilowatts you would be billed for. Now I cant tell you how much electricity cost per kilowatt hour where you live as it is different from place to place. So I will use the scale I am billed for the example.
EXAMPLE- you have a 600watt light that is on 12 and off 12, 115watts of florecent lights on 18 hours and off 6 hours, A fan that cools the 600watt light and uses 330watts, An exhaust fan that uses 180watts to run and is on 22 hours a day, and a circulation fan that uses 220watts and is on for 24hours a day.
Now lets do the calculation. 600watts x's 12hours='s 7200watts a day/ 115watts x's 18hours='s 2070 watts a day/ The fan cooling the light is 330watts x's 12hours='s 3960 watts per day/ exhaust fan using 180watts x's 22hours='s 3960 watts per day/ Circulation fan using 220watts x's 24hours='s 5280 watts per day. Add all the daily wattage use together-7200+2070+3960+3960+5280='s 22,470 watts used per month. To change 22,470 watts into kilowatts just divde 22,470 by 1000 ='s 2247 kilowatt hours you will be billed for. I am given a base useage amount per month. When I go over this amount I am billed more per unit than the base upto 100 Kilowatt hours over then if I go from 101-300 kilowatts hours over the billing price jumps hight than the 2 previous. And when I go 301-400 over it goes up. They do this up to 600 over I believe. SO I pay .11 cents a kilowatt hour up to 600. Then .13 cents for the next 199 units used and .18 cents for next 100 units. The highest price level is .36 cents per kilowatt hour. To simplify this whole level billing shit I simply get an average price by adding all the per kilowatt hour prices together and then by dividing that number by the total amount of levels there are. Example- .11+.13+.18+.22+.28+.32+.36='s 1.60 Now count the levels which is 7 and divide= 1.60 divided by 7='s .228 or round up to .23cents per kilowatt hour. 2247 x's .23='s $516.81 per month to run all that EQ billed as I am. Now dont freak out at that total as those are not the exact price per unit per level and are just to show as an example.
Thats all for now. If anyone would like to add to this or catch a mistake by me please feel free to jump on in. I'll try and post some electrical terminology definitions and more stuff on wiring tomorrow.
Be safe, canna