Electrical Wiring Devices

Wiring devices are used to provide input power to electrical components. Transformers and surge protectors regulate the voltage before it is directed to the fixture, while electrical switches and outlets connect the power source to the fixture. Electrical wiring devices can be sorted based on residential use for decorator switches and receptacles, or commercial and industrial use for heavy duty plugs, connectors and transformers.

Electrical Switches

Electrical switches allow easy on/off control of light fixtures and other electrical equipment by completing a circuit and letting the electricity run through. Residential-grade and commercial-grade switches are used to control light bulbs, fans, heaters, motors, generators and other heavy machinery. Single pole switches are used only on one location as an on/off switch, while 3-way and 4-way switches can be paired together to control the electricity from multiple locations. Commercial-grade switches typically carry higher amp rating because of the higher load that the equipment requires.

Locking Devices

Locking devices are better used for industrial and heavy duty applications that protect the equipment from being disconnected accidentally. Locking wiring devices are composed of locking plugs, locking connectors and locking receptacles that all share the same NEMA configuration. Using locking devices offers a more secure way of keeping the voltage flowing, since they are not prone to being unplugged easily and are made of high impact-resistant material. Twist lock devices are commonly found in warehouses, hazardous locations, factories and manufacturing plants.

Surge Protectors

Surge protectors or surge suppressors keep the fixtures and equipment safe from voltage surges or spikes. A sudden spike in voltage could potentially damage the fixture or equipment, so a surge protector essentially blocks or shorts the circuit to prevent this. Surge protection devices are installed in heavy-duty industrial systems to protect against electrical spikes that come from the power source or those caused by lightning. Smaller version of these surge suppressors are found in homes similarly to protect household appliances. 

Step Down Transformers

Transformers are used mainly to regulate the voltage coming from the main power source to the fixture, equipment or electrical system. Some fixtures require higher voltage than the electrical source can provide, and in the case the transformer increases the voltage output that goes into it. For step down transformers, these are used when the primary voltage is higher than what the fixture requires, and therefore needs to be lowered down to prevent damage to the fixture. Step down transformers take the input voltage and produce a lower output rating that the fixture can handle.