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I see much confusion concerning what electricity is, what it does and how it works so I thought a primer was in order.

To understand electricity only a few key concepts are required relating to Force and Flow. We could start with a simple circuit which contains a battery, two wires and a light bulb.

The battery is just an electron pump which uses an internal chemical reaction to push electrons towards the (-) terminal and pull electrons from the (+) terminal. The battery does not create electrons nor does it destroy them it simply produces a force or electrical pressure(-) and an equal and opposite electrical suction(+) which causes the electrons to move like a pump causes water to move. As well, like fields repel and unlike fields attract therefore all the electrons at the (-) terminal with like fields want to move away from one another while also being attracted to the (+) terminal with opposite fields. This is the source of the electrical force which causes the free electrons to move through the circuit from the (-) terminal through the wires and bulb then back to the (+) terminal. The battery acts exactly like a water pump having a pressure discharge (-) and a suction inlet (+) only the medium flowing is free electrons.

The electron pump analogy also simplifies another concept which seems to confuse many people. That is the difference between "potential" and a "potential difference". Think of it this way, if my electron pump pressure at the (-) terminal is 2 psi of electrical pressure and my pump suction at the (+) terminal is minus 2 psi then the difference between the (-) and (+) terminal is 4 psi. Likewise if a 12v battery has a pressure or potential of 6 at the (-) terminal and a suction or potential of negative 6 at the (+) terminal then the total difference or difference in potential (potential difference) is 12 volts. Count from negative 6 through zero up to 6 and the total difference is 12.

I understand this is very confusing for many because I am using "electron flow notation" based on the reality of what actually happens in reality within every circuit. We have known for decades that no positive (+) charges "flow" in a circuit because the only positive charges present are the Protons in the atoms and they cannot move. The circuit is made of atoms with Protons (+) and Electrons (-) however the Protons cannot move in the conductors otherwise the metal of the conductor itself would flow like a fluid which it does not. Therefore in reality the only thing in the conductors of the circuit left to move or conduct are the free electrons.

You see the reason nothing seems to make sense is because most are still using the completely outdated and completely false notion taught in textbooks that (+) charges "flow" in a circuit or conventional notation. Electron flow notation describes most everything in the circuit as it happens in reality. As well no credible Scientist or Engineer uses conventional notation because it simply does not reflect the reality of what does happen.

Re: Electricity
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We can now begin to look at the battery and the wires connected to it which is where things get really interesting. I will also describe the experiments I have done which all of you can also do to prove the matter for yourself.

Think about it... I have a 12v battery with an abundance of electrons at the (-) terminal and an equal and opposite lack of electrons at the (+) terminal. The (-) terminal has many free electrons which repel one another thus we can speculate that if I connect a 100 foot wire to only the (-) terminal then many of the electrons would move down the wire to get as far away from one another as possible. In fact this is true and if we connect a neutral wire with no apparent (+) or (-) charge to the negative (-) terminal of the battery the wire now becomes negatively charged along the whole length. This can be proven by measuring the state of charge at the end of the 100 wire with an electrometer. Next we disconnect the 100 foot wire from the battery and we still measure a negative charge on the wire because all those extra electrons are still on that wire. Then we touch the wire with our finger and the (-) charge drops because now all those free electrons have dispersed themselves over part of our body which can also be proven by measuring the state of charge with our electrometer.

Next we can take two 100 foot wires and connect one wire to the (-) terminal of the battery adding electrons to it and connect the other 100 foot wire to the (+) terminal of the battery taking electrons away from it. We now have one 100 foot wire connected to each terminal and on the open end of each wire we can measure the state of charge which is the same as the terminal each wire is connected to. We find the battery has added extra electrons to the (-) terminal wire likewise we find the battery has taken away electrons from the (+) terminal wire as expected. Then we carefully disconnect each wire from the battery so each retains it's state of charge. When we connect the open wires and the electrons from the (-) wire flow into the (+) wire balancing the electron density in each we find each wire now has a neutral charge neither (+) or (-).

All these fun experiments and interesting phenomena and we have not even connected a load to the open wires connected to our 12v battery. In fact I spent weeks doing so many interesting experiments with a battery and two wires I didn't want to close the circuit as so many often do. The fact that everyone seems to have completely ignored the most basic experiments one can do when trying to understand the nature of electrical phenomena seems a little odd. As SM once implied, most of what you need to know can be explained by understanding all the phenomena relating to what happens in a single piece of wire. Everyone wants to build complex electronic high frequency monstrosities and debate quantum theory but few seem to understand the most basic phenomena relating to basic circuit components such as a single piece of wire. I find this hard to rationalize.