A is for Ampere

Adabot: “Uh - ohhh …”

Adabot: “Did I break something?”

Ladyada: “Looks like you tripped the circuit breaker, Adabot.”

Adabot: “Wait - who did I trip?!”

Ladyada: “No, no - The circuit breaker isn’t a person, it’s a device in that box over there.”

Ladyada: “The circuit breaker turns off all the electricity when we draw too much electrical current.”

Adabot: “Ohhh …”

Ladyada: "And it’s also something *only* a grown-up should touch.”

Adabot: “Committed to memory!”

Adabot: “Wow - powering all my stuff must use *a lot* of current.”

Ladyada: “That's right - and we measure electrical current in amperes.”

Adabot: “Huh … why do we call it that?”

Ladyada: “The ampere is named after the scientist - Mr. André-Marie Ampère.”

Adabot: “Accessing database.”

Adabot: “André-Marie Ampère - a French scientist from the 1800’s.”

Ladyada: “That's right and Mr. Ampère was very curious about how electricity works.”

Adabot: “Curious - like me!”

André-Marie Ampère: “This is true.”

Ladyada: “And he conducted many experiments to learn about electricity.”

Ladyada: “The results of his experiments showed Mr. Ampère that electricity is created by the movement of many teeny objects …”

Ladyada: “… which are so small we can’t even see them.”

André-Marie Ampère: “Electrodynamic molecules!”

Ladyada: “Nowadays, we call these teeny objects - ‘electrons.’ ”

Ladyada: “And when electrons move we call that ‘electrical current.’ ”

André-Marie Ampère: “Makes sense to me.”

Adabot: “Oh! Now I get it Ladyada but, how do we measure amperes?”

Ladyada: “That’s easy - we use a multimeter.”

André-Marie Ampère: “Oh - I wish *I* ‘ad one of dzose!”

Ladyada: “In this circuit, electrons flow from one end of the battery, through the LED, and then back to the other end of the battery.”

Ladyada: “By sending the current through a multimeter, we’re able to measure the amount of electrons flowing through.”

Ladyada: “So this LED is using …”

Adabot: “0.05 amperes!”

Ladyada: “Correct.”

Adabot: “I wish I could *see* electrons move.”

Ladyada: “Well, you may not be able to see every single electron, but you can see the *effects* of electrical current.”

Adabot: “Really? How do we do that?”

Ladyada: “Well, you can see it when your boom box makes sound or, when your toaster heats up.”

Ladyada: “And you can feel it when your blowdryer blows hot air at you.”

Adabot: “I get it, electrical current makes electricity *go*!”

Adabot: “Those electrons are amazing!”

Ladyada: “That's right, Adabot. Hey, you know you don’t have any hair, right?”

Adabot: “WHA-?!”

André-Marie Ampère: “Zut Alors!”


This guide was first published on Jun 04, 2013. It was last updated on Jun 04, 2013.

This page (Transcript) was last updated on Jan 12, 2021.