NEETS Manual Defintions

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
I saw the NEETS Manuals and this site recommended in a subreddit for personal teaching. The NEETS manual defines current like this:
1594677153469.png
I think this is what the website calls "electron flow" in this article: https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/direct-current/chpt-1/conventional-versus-electron-flow/. I am not for sure on this though because there are no values given.

My questions regarding this are, how can there be +1A in the direction of electrons if I=dq/dt. If the rate of charge is negative(because electrons are negative according to both sources), shouldn't the current be negative? Does this manual use I=-dq/dt?

Also, if this exact diagram above had the I labeled as I=-1A, would that be considered what this site calls "conventional current"?
 

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,413
There are 2 ways to look at electron flow. Positive to Negative, conventional flow, and Negative to Positive, electron flow. It's all a matter of perspective. The definition of current is the flow of electrons, irrespective of which perspective you use. Confusing ain't it...
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
There are 2 ways to look at electron flow. Positive to Negative, conventional flow, and Negative to Positive, electron flow. It's all a matter of perspective. The definition of current is the flow of electrons, irrespective of which perspective you use. Confusing ain't it...
Yes, that is a bit confusing. But what about if you drew a current from negative to positive, and it had a - sign in front, that would be conventional still, right? Or is that a third convention?
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
I saw the NEETS Manuals and this site recommended in a subreddit for personal teaching. The NEETS manual defines current like this:
View attachment 212099
I think this is what the website calls "electron flow" in this article: https://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/direct-current/chpt-1/conventional-versus-electron-flow/. I am not for sure on this though because there are no values given.

My questions regarding this are, how can there be +1A in the direction of electrons if I=dq/dt. If the rate of charge is negative(because electrons are negative according to both sources), shouldn't the current be negative? Does this manual use I=-dq/dt?

Also, if this exact diagram above had the I labeled as I=-1A, would that be considered what this site calls "conventional current"?
There have been many long discussions regarding this and there will never be agreement. The bottom line is that NEETS is wrong, for precisely the reasons you state, but neither they nor anyone else that uses "electron flow" will ever admit it because they have long since internalized their unconscious application of magical mystery minus signs in order to convince themselves that they are correct. Giving them a trivial problem that demonstrates that this is not the case accomplishes nothing because they simply won't answer the problem precisely because they can't without having to explicitly apply a magical mystery minus sign in a way that can't be ignored.

The latest long thread on this is here:

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883

Don't wade through the entire thread -- it quickly devolved into just saying the same thing over and over. But the first few pages should address your concerns adequately, from both a technical standpoint and a practical standpoint of having to communicate with people that use "electron flow" as it is almost universally (and incorrectly) applied.

Here are some specific posts in that thread that might be of particular interest to you (in most cases the first several responses after it are useful, as well):

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1476600
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1476653
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477052
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477099
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477343
 
Last edited:

SamR

Joined Mar 19, 2019
2,413
Bottom line is, electrons flow from an area of greater potential to an area of lesser potential, irregardless of what sign you put in front of them.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
Bottom line is, electrons flow from an area of greater potential to an area of lesser potential, irregardless of what sign you put in front of them.
So which is "an area of greater potential", a plate that is at 100 V relative to ground, or a plate that is at 200 V relative to ground?

Keep in mind that the definition of voltage is the potential energy per unit charge.
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
There have been many long discussions regarding this and there will never be agreement. The bottom line is that NEETS is wrong, for precisely the reasons you state, but neither they nor anyone else that uses "electron flow" will ever admit it because they have long since internalized their unconscious application of magical mystery minus signs in order to convince themselves that they are correct. Giving them a trivial problem that demonstrates that this is not the case accomplishes nothing because they simply won't answer the problem precisely because they can't without having to explicitly apply a magical mystery minus sign in a way that can't be ignored.

The latest long thread on this is here:

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883

Don't wade through the entire thread -- it quickly devolved into just saying the same thing over and over. But the first few pages should address your concerns adequately, from both a technical standpoint and a practical standpoint of having to communicate with people that use "electron flow" as it is almost universally (and incorrectly) applied.

Here are some specific posts in that thread that might be of particular interest to you (in most cases the first several responses after it are useful, as well):

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1476600
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1476653
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477052
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477099
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477343
Oh wow okay this helps a lot.
I see your statement:
"Past any given point in the circuit there are approximately 12.5 x 10^18 electrons/second flowing in the specified direction, so

I = 12.5 x 10^18 electrons/second

But to express this in amperes, you need to multiply this by the charge of an electron.

I = (12.5 x 10^18 electrons/second)·(-1.602 x 10^-19 C/electron) = -2A"

So it seems like in this mathematical example, you are representing the movement of electrons with a negative value right? So in the neets example I put above from the book, if the sign of that current was -1A instead, then that would be conventional current right? A negative current out of the - would still be conventional current, but it would be a conventional current pointing in the direction of electrons(is this okay to say)? I just don't get how it is even valid if I=dq/dt, you put an arrow to the right, and electrons move right every second, than mathematically the value to the right HAS to be negative? The NEETS convention makes no sense!!! The magnitude of an electron charge is positive yes, but the true charge is mathematically treated as negative (I only have a math background so that is why I am so keen on the math aspect).
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
There have been many long discussions regarding this and there will never be agreement. The bottom line is that NEETS is wrong, for precisely the reasons you state, but neither they nor anyone else that uses "electron flow" will ever admit it because they have long since internalized their unconscious application of magical mystery minus signs in order to convince themselves that they are correct. Giving them a trivial problem that demonstrates that this is not the case accomplishes nothing because they simply won't answer the problem precisely because they can't without having to explicitly apply a magical mystery minus sign in a way that can't be ignored.

The latest long thread on this is here:

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883

Don't wade through the entire thread -- it quickly devolved into just saying the same thing over and over. But the first few pages should address your concerns adequately, from both a technical standpoint and a practical standpoint of having to communicate with people that use "electron flow" as it is almost universally (and incorrectly) applied.

Here are some specific posts in that thread that might be of particular interest to you (in most cases the first several responses after it are useful, as well):

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1476600
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1476653
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477052
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477099
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1477343
Sorry, I can't edit my other reply it doesn't seem, but I am confused because I have recently learned about KCL too, and I have seen that a positive current one way is the same as negative current the opposite way. In one of these comments you said that electron current should be a negative value leaving the - terminal of a battery, which to my knowledge is the same as the positive value leaving the + terminal. If these are essentially the same, shouldn't they both be conventional current? Is the correct way of electron current still technically conventional current? Meaning a - value leaving the - is conventional current and a + value leaving the + is conventional current, or is that not correct?
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
Sorry, I can't edit my other reply it doesn't seem, but I am confused because I have recently learned about KCL too, and I have seen that a positive current one way is the same as negative current the opposite way. In one of these comments you said that electron current should be a negative value leaving the - terminal of a battery, which to my knowledge is the same as the positive value leaving the + terminal. If these are essentially the same, shouldn't they both be conventional current? Is the correct way of electron current still technically conventional current? Meaning a - value leaving the - is conventional current and a + value leaving the + is conventional current, or is that not correct?
Absolutely. Conventional current and "electron flow" done properly are indistinguishable. The problem is that virtually no one that uses electron flow does it properly (as evidenced by the NEETS material and every other electron-flow textbook I have ever seen, including the e-book on this site). So the real takeaway from a practical standpoint is to just accept that anytime you see someone using electron flow it is virtually guaranteed that they will be doing so improperly and throwing around magical mystery minus signs as needed to force things to suddenly come out right. As long as you expect this, you can make the necessary compensations for their sloppiness and get at what they mean instead of what they wrote.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,674
The problem is that virtually no one that uses electron flow does it properly (as evidenced by the NEETS material and every other electron-flow textbook I have ever seen, including the e-book on this site).
I notice recently that AAC e-book has discontinued electron flow and is now showing conventional flow.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
I notice recently that AAC e-book has discontinued electron flow and is now showing conventional flow.
It is trying to -- it's going to take quite some time to get it completely converted over and, in the meantime, it's going to cause it's share of confusion.
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
Absolutely. Conventional current and "electron flow" done properly are indistinguishable. The problem is that virtually no one that uses electron flow does it properly (as evidenced by the NEETS material and every other electron-flow textbook I have ever seen, including the e-book on this site). So the real takeaway from a practical standpoint is to just accept that anytime you see someone using electron flow it is virtually guaranteed that they will be doing so improperly and throwing around magical mystery minus signs as needed to force things to suddenly come out right. As long as you expect this, you can make the necessary compensations for their sloppiness and get at what they mean instead of what they wrote.
Okay thank you so much!! This makes so much sense! So then as a question only pertaining to conventional current, could we correctly say that a positive conventional current means your reference arrow points in the direction of positive charge and a negative conventional current means your reference arrow points in the direction of negative charge? That's the confusing part about the article on this site now. They just have two arrows pointing opposite ways with no values. You could point your arrow from - to + if you want, at least it seems, but you would need the proper sign (-)?
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
I notice recently that AAC e-book has discontinued electron flow and is now showing conventional flow.
It seems there is another website with the entire education section of this site linked, and they tend to be using "electron flow" it seems. I also came across this on Reddit.
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
Absolutely. Conventional current and "electron flow" done properly are indistinguishable. The problem is that virtually no one that uses electron flow does it properly (as evidenced by the NEETS material and every other electron-flow textbook I have ever seen, including the e-book on this site). So the real takeaway from a practical standpoint is to just accept that anytime you see someone using electron flow it is virtually guaranteed that they will be doing so improperly and throwing around magical mystery minus signs as needed to force things to suddenly come out right. As long as you expect this, you can make the necessary compensations for their sloppiness and get at what they mean instead of what they wrote.
Also, looking back at the other thread finally, I looked at the few first slides you sent and some at the end. I have questions about some of the terminology at the end, if that's okay? I will try not to be long winded, it's only a few things.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
Okay thank you so much!! This makes so much sense! So then as a question only pertaining to conventional current, could we correctly say that a positive conventional current means your reference arrow points in the direction of positive charge and a negative conventional current means your reference arrow points in the direction of negative charge? That's the confusing part about the article on this site now. They just have two arrows pointing opposite ways with no values. You could point your arrow from - to + if you want, at least it seems, but you would need the proper sign (-)?
If you draw an arrow on a circuit branch as going from left-to-right, what you are saying is that if the value of the current associated with that arrow happens to be positive, then net positive charge is flowing from left-to-right in that branch, while if it is negative that net positive charge is flowing from right-to-left in that branch. And that is all you are saying. Specifically, you are not make any statement about the nature of the charge carriers involved. A positive current could be the result of positively charged carriers moving left-to-right or it could be the result of negatively charged carries moving right-to-left. You don't know and in almost all situations it doesn't matter. It is rare, but not impossible, for the distinction to matter in a fundamental way. For the construction of device it sometimes matters, such as vacuum tubes or chemical reactions, but not for the circuit itself. One instance in which it fundamentally matters is when the Hall effect is at play, because there the polarity of the voltage produced across the device depends on whether the charge carriers are negatively or positive charged.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
It seems there is another website with the entire education section of this site linked, and they tend to be using "electron flow" it seems. I also came across this on Reddit.
That doesn't surprise me. When I do a Google search for something it is not uncommon to see the exact same content of multiple sites, including typographical errors, all appearing as though they were native content to the site.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
Also, looking back at the other thread finally, I looked at the few first slides you sent and some at the end. I have questions about some of the terminology at the end, if that's okay? I will try not to be long winded, it's only a few things.
Provided it doesn't have anything to do with phrases like, "direction of the negative value for current."

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1527909

If you do, it will actually be pretty convincing evidence that you are the same person trying continue a thread that was closed precisely because the TS was just dragging it on and on without end. Especially since both of you are registered and posting from the same metropolitan area.
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
Provided it doesn't have anything to do with phrases like, "direction of the negative value for current."

https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/conventional-vs-electron-flow.166883/post-1527909

If you do, it will actually be pretty convincing evidence that you are the same person trying continue a thread that was closed precisely because the TS was just dragging it on and on without end. Especially since both of you are registered and posting from the same metropolitan area.
Hm I am not sure what you mean, hopefully these few questions are okay, I will try not to be too long winded. I am not familiar with the phrase "direction of the negative value for current", I only read bits and pieces of the last few pages after reading the first few that you suggested. I just thought it would be good to see where the conversation started and ended up, but maybe that wasn't such a good idea. I am not sure what the thread was closed means, like I said I am here from Reddit and that doesn't typically happen there (if at all?).

One of the comments I saw in the other thread towards the end was: "you have a negative current, this current represent a net flow of negative charge in the direction of your arrow which means the arrow is in the direction of electrons. "

You responded that this didn't follow, but could be true (compressing your words). But wouldn't it mathematically always be true, a -1A current from left to right should always imply a net flow of negative charge from left to right, or you could say a net flow of positive charge from right to left. Could each statement not follow with equal success and truth? Maybe the word 'net' was left out before and that is where the "doesn't follow" came from?

I also saw this comment from you on that same page: "
Now let's say that the actual current is -10 A. That means that the actual current is flowing right-to-left, in the opposite direction of the reference current, which is defined as left-to-right."

The electrons that make up the actual current of -10 A are flowing from left-to-right, in the same direction as the reference current and, AS ALWAYS, in the direction opposite the actual current."

So it seems like actual current just combines value with reference as a term, and it can be positive or negative. So you said that the actual current was -10A from left-to-right at the end, but before said that the actual current is flowing right to left. Were you just saying that an actual current of -10A from left-to-right means that the positive actual current goes from right-to-left? Or can actual current only have a positive value and I am misunderstanding your purpose?

TLDR: If you have a negative current from left to right could you say that is a net flow of negative charge from left to right or would you HAVE to say it is a net flow of positive charge right to left? Does the term actual current have to be a positive current or can it be negative too but usually interpreted as positive?
 

Thread Starter

sarah_c

Joined Jul 13, 2020
24
If you draw an arrow on a circuit branch as going from left-to-right, what you are saying is that if the value of the current associated with that arrow happens to be positive, then net positive charge is flowing from left-to-right in that branch, while if it is negative that net positive charge is flowing from right-to-left in that branch. And that is all you are saying. Specifically, you are not make any statement about the nature of the charge carriers involved. A positive current could be the result of positively charged carriers moving left-to-right or it could be the result of negatively charged carries moving right-to-left. You don't know and in almost all situations it doesn't matter. It is rare, but not impossible, for the distinction to matter in a fundamental way. For the construction of device it sometimes matters, such as vacuum tubes or chemical reactions, but not for the circuit itself. One instance in which it fundamentally matters is when the Hall effect is at play, because there the polarity of the voltage produced across the device depends on whether the charge carriers are negatively or positive charged.
Okay so this makes sense and kind of ties into what I just posted. Are we allowed to say that if the value of the current associated with that arrow happens to be negative then net negative charge is flowing in the direction of the arrow? And if we are in a system like wires, which I have researched online only electrons move, can we use the sign to talk about the electrons if we wanted? Like if you put a arrow going right and value is positive, you say electrons go left, if the value is negative, you say electrons go right, would that be allowed or correct?
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,074
Okay so this makes sense and kind of ties into what I just posted. Are we allowed to say that if the value of the current associated with that arrow happens to be negative then net negative charge is flowing in the direction of the arrow? And if we are in a system like wires, which I have researched online only electrons move, can we use the sign to talk about the electrons if we wanted? Like if you put a arrow going right and value is positive, you say electrons go left, if the value is negative, you say electrons go right, would that be allowed or correct?
Yes, this is correct.
 
Top