The Complete DIY Guide

An online guide to do-it-yourself (DIY) for "the rest of us"

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Electrical

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All the DIY know-how you could possibly need is now available on the web, but where exactly do you look for it? I've hand-compiled a list of over 150 of the best DIY electrical pages I could find, helping you understand everything from fuseboxes to lightning strikes—all on one handy, uncluttered web page! If you want more general DIY advice (things like plumbing, building, home decorating, and woodworking), check out our home page.

I no longer have time to maintain this site, so the domain and its contents are currently for sale. Please contact me if you're interested.

Introduction

You might think electricity is an amazing invention—but it was more of a discovery. Electricity is not an invention at all, but a basic aspect of how our world works. Electricity is caused by electromagnetism, one of the four fundamental forces of the universe. It's easiest to think of electricity as a kind of energy that builds up in one place (static electricity) or moves from place to place (current electricity). The appliances and gadgets that feature so prominently in our lives use either one or both of these aspects of electricity. Laser printers and photocopiers are based on static electricity, for example, while batteries, electric motors, and electronic circuits use current electricity.

Of course, as you wrestle with your broken Christmas tree lights (for the fifth year running), curse when a fuse blows, or search for the candles during a power outage, fundamental forces, electrical energy, and electromagnetism are the last things on your mind: all you care about is getting the power back on again. That illustrates the one big problem with electricity: it's so incredibly convenient and reliable that we take it for granted. Can you imagine life without it?

It's hard for us to appreciate now but homes, offices, and other buildings have been powered by electricity only for about 100 years or so. It was only at the end of the 19th century that amazingly prolific US inventor Thomas Edison built the first electric-power generating plants, making electricity on a big enough scale to light the world with his much-improved design of electric lamp. Once electric power started to become widely available, modern appliances started to appear (during the early decades of the 20th century).

As concerns mount about the environmental impacts of using fossil fuels, electric power is becoming more important than ever. Since they first appeared in the 19th century, virtually all cars have been powered by petroleum; soon, gasoline engines will be a distant memory and we'll all be buzzing down the street in electric cars and buggies! Our homes will still be powered by electricity, but we'll be generating more of our own through solar panels, micro wind turbines, and other kinds of renewable energy. Electricity has had a glorious history so far, but it's only just beginning!

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From changing a fuse to wiring a plug, all of us need to know a least a little bit about electricity. That's what this simple web page is all about. Here you'll find over 150 hand-compiled, hand-reviewed links offering you a basic introduction to virtually everything you could ever want to know about electricity in your home, from finding a reputable electrician to simple science fair projects for the kids!

We hope you find the information here helpful!

Please be sure to read the site disclaimer and privacy policy.

Update status

Last updated: 20 March 2013. Links completely checked, revised, and updated.

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Contents: what's on this page

Safety advice: before you start

General DIY safety

Electrical DIY safety

Finding a qualified electrician/electrical contractor

As far as we can tell, these are the most definitive lists of electrical contractors in each country:

Choosing and using electrical power tools

General power tools

Introduction to home electricity circuits

Electrical testing

General and background guides

Practical testing guides

Useful pages on popular DIY sites

Indoor lighting

Installation

Design

Outdoor lighting

Everyday electrical jobs and repairs

Please note!

In some countries (including the UK and New Zealand) it is now illegal to carry out certain aspects of home electrical work yourself. It's up to you to confirm whether any electrical work needs to be done by a qualified electrician and/or officially inspected and approved afterwards.

Legal or not, electrical work is dangerous and it's almost always preferable to get a qualified electrician/electrical contractor to do it for you than to attempt it yourself. The web links we present here are for your background information and reference only. We strongly recommend you find a professional electrician to do all your electrical work..

Please also note the advice in our disclaimer.

Simple jobs

Harder stuff: "how-to..." project guides

Wiring and circuit diagrams

Electrical

Electronic

More guides for beginners

How-to solder

Written guides

Video guides

Projects

Magazines

Books

Home electrics

Electronics

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Disclaimer

In some countries, it is illegal to carry out certain aspects of home electrical work yourself. It's up to you to confirm whether any electrical work needs to be done by a qualified electrician and/or officially inspected and approved afterwards. Please also be aware that DIY electrical work may be forbidden by your home insurance policy. Legal or not, electrical work is dangerous and it's often preferable to get a qualified electrician/electrical contractor to do it for you than to attempt it yourself. The web links we present here are for your background information and reference only. We strongly recommend you find a professional electrician to do all your electrical work.

Please note:

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