ECN Electrical Forum - Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals
ECN Shout Chat
Recent Posts
It's been an interesting career
by Fridayrack - 12/07/21 01:30 AM
From an outsider- How does tipping work?
by gfretwell - 12/06/21 06:37 PM
Photo Editing Software?
by Fridayrack - 12/03/21 05:05 AM
Square D "All-In-One" Panelboard
by NORCAL - 11/30/21 12:48 PM
Where is Everyone?
by luckyshadow - 11/21/21 10:14 AM
New in the Gallery:
240/208 to a house
240/208 to a house
by wa2ise, October 9
Now you know.
Now you know.
by Tom_Horne, September 7
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 15 guests, and 14 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Rate Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
#72622 12/06/06 08:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
My favorite gripe is use of the phrase: "Electricity always takes the path of least resistance". This implies that electricity will not take the longer path.
First gripe: electricity is not intelligent and cannot decide which way to go.
Second gripe: in a parallel path electricity flows through all paths regardless of resistance, and the flow is calculated by ohms law.
Electricity takes every path, not just the "path of least resistance"!!!!!

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 172
Isn't this where Kirchoffs Law would come into play?

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 23
I think this is a direct reflection on the idea that humans tend to think that physics work the same way their brains do. Which in my case I can confirm.

Many humans try and take the path of least resistance only to find they are often forced to take other paths.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
If you truly believe electricity takes the "path of least resistance", then I challenge you hold onto the GEC at your service during a lightning storm. Hold tight!

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,673
Likes: 7
Kirchoff says all the current going into a circuit comes out somewhere.
Ohm says it will come through the various paths in inverse proportion to the resistance/impedence.
Dean is saying it will take all paths available.
These are all true statements.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
Not sure what the gripe is, electricity will take the path of least resistance. It may take others also. Won't the path with the least resistance have the highest current available also?

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
The problem is by saying electricity takes the path of least resistance, it is implied electricity will shun any other paths.
A shock hazard exists even if you are a higher resistance path to ground than the equipment you are working on.
It would be far better IMHO to say "electricity will take any and every path".

Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
"electricity will take any and every path".

Just ask the Con Edison POCO. Seemingly every few months or so another person (sometimes a pet) gets shocked and is either injured or killed. Electricial current HAS to return to it's source somehow.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
I agree with Earl, this subject is also a pet peeve of mine.

I always point out to people that post 'electricity takes the path of least resistance' that it also will take all available paths.

IMO it is dangerous to think of electricity taking only the 'easy path'.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
I think this probably goes hand-in-hand with another great electrical myth:

"Electricity always tries to return to ground."

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Link Copied to Clipboard

Tools for Electricians
Tools for Electricians

* * * * * * *

2020 Master Electrician Exam Preparation Combos
2020 NEC Electrician
Exam Prep Combos:
Master / Journeyman


Member Spotlight
Posts: 44
Joined: July 2013
Top Posters(30 Days)
Popular Topics(Views)
286,628 Are you busy
219,101 Re: Forum
205,193 Need opinion
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5