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Old 09-30-2012, 09:36 AM   #1
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hot & neutral, which carries the most load, and by how much ?
or do they carry the same load ?

please explain. and please be basic, i'm not an electrician .

thanx

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Old 09-30-2012, 09:42 AM   #2
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They should be the same unless they are part of a multi wire branch circuit. The neutral should never have more current than the hot wires.

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Old 09-30-2012, 09:51 AM   #3
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what is a "multi wire branch circuit" ? i'm sure i know, but not put that way.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:57 AM   #4
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A properly wired MWBC has two hots from opposite legs of the panel sharing a neutral connection between them. The neutral would carry the difference in current between the two hots.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post
hot & neutral, which carries the most load, and by how much ?
or do they carry the same load ?

please explain. and please be basic, i'm not an electrician .

thanx
Current is the flow of electrons. No current flows unless there is a complete path from the source to the load and back to the source.

For a basic 120VAC circuit (with the exception noted by k_buz), what flows through the "hot" to the load must flow back through the neutral to the other terminal of the source.

(AC is a little more complicated than that, since the electrons actually flow towards the more positive wire, whether it be the hot or the neutral.)
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:05 AM   #6
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wire load


i didn't know what that was. google showed me. now, why not just run another neutral ? save wire ?
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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Save wire, conduit fill, and money.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:08 AM   #8
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For a basic 120VAC circuit (with the exception noted by k_buz), what flows through the "hot" to the load must flow back through the neutral to the other terminal of the source.
ok, but since there is a load on the circuit. lets say a 100w bulb. wouldn't the bulb using power cause less power to flow back through the neutral ?

trying to learn here.
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Old 09-30-2012, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Fix'n it View Post
ok, but since there is a load on the circuit. lets say a 100w bulb. wouldn't the bulb using power cause less power to flow back through the neutral ?

trying to learn here.
What gets lost is potential (commonly called voltage). Let's say the "hot" terminal of the bulb is at 120V. The other terminal of the bulb (which is connected to the neutral) is at 0V (or very close to it). So one end of the filament in the bulb is at 120V and the other end is at 0V. The filament wire is very thin, and thus has a resistance to the flow of current.

As the voltage forces the electrons thru the filament, the resistance of the wire causes the wire to heat up and glow, emitting light. The wire loses voltage (due to forcing the electrons thru the resistance), so that by the time we get to the neutral terminal of the bulb the voltage has dropped from 120V to 0V.
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Old 09-30-2012, 05:50 PM   #10
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ok, but since there is a load on the circuit. lets say a 100w bulb. wouldn't the bulb using power cause less power to flow back through the neutral ?

trying to learn here.
Please dont confuse power = Watts,
With current = Amps.
Or even volts !
All are different beasts,
And if you want to understand electricity it is vital
that you understand these basic concepts.

Current is only one half of power !
You are mixing these things up
that is why you do not yet understand.

First question - Current is same in hot line as in neutral line.
Or at least should be.

However power in Watts, will change, cause volts will change.
But current will not change.
cause watts = volts x amps,
if one of these two items change,
then the final outcome, in watts will change.

If you cannot get your head around these things
then I think you need to study some more.

But keep asking, cause thats how you learn !

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