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It is important for an EA working on a set of drawings or plans to convey his ideas (or instructions) effectively to a skilled craftsman (CE) who is to install the electrical system. It is also equally important for you, as an EA, to understand and be thoroughly familiar with the methods and basic functions associated with the different materials and fixtures used in the installation of an electrical system.

This chapter, when used in conjunction with the previous chapters on wood, concrete and masonry, and mechanical systems and plan, will enable you to prepare construction drawings (discussed in the next chapter), revise as-built drawings in the field, and incorporate minor design changes with ease.


Each building requires an electrical system to provide power for the lights and to run various appliances and equipment. At Navy bases, the electrical (or power) system consists of three main parts: the power plant that supplies the electrical power, the electrical distribution system (external) that carries the electrical current from the generating station to the various buildings, and the interior electrical wiring system that illuminates the building and feeds the interior electrical power to the appliances and equipment within the building.

In this section, we will discuss only the external power distribution and the various materials and fittings used in the installation of an electrical system. For more information, refer to the latest edition of National Electrical Code (NEC ), and Army Technical Manuals (TMs).


Electrical distribution is defined as the delivery of power to building premises, on poles or placed underground, from the power plant or substation through feeders and mains.

The power system is generally considered to be a combination of two sections: the transmission and the distribution. The difference between the two sections depends on the function of each at that particular time.

At times, in a small power system, the difference tends to disappear, and the transmission section merges with the distribution section. The delivery network, as a whole, is referred to as the distribution section and is normally used to designate the outside lines and frequently continues inside the building to include power outlets.

Most land-based power systems use alternating current (ac) rather than direct current (dc), principally because transformers can be used only with ac. An ac distribution system usually contains one or more generators (technically known as ALTERNATORS in an ac system); a wiring system of FEEDERS, which carry the generated power to a distribution center; and the DISTRIBUTION CENTER, which distributes the power to wiring systems called PRIMARY MAINS and SECONDARY MAINS. A representative transmission and distribution system is shown in figure 9-1.

Figure 9-1.-Electrical transmission and distribution system.

Power from the generating station may be carried to the various points of consumption by overhead transmission and distribution lines, by underground cable, or by a combination of both. At most advanced bases, OVERHEAD feeder lines are commonly used because such lines are cheaper to build, simpler to inspect, and easier to maintain than UNDERGROUND cables. Obviously, the use of underground cables is preferred at airports and runways to prevent hazardous flight conditions.


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