Handbook of Electrical Design Details Second Edition by Neil Sclater and John E. Transter
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Handbook of Electrical Design Details Second Edition by Neil Sclater and John E. Transter


Chapter 1 Planning for Electrical Design.

Chapter 2 Power Generation and Transmission.

Chapter 3 Power System Equipment.

Chapter 4 Substations and Electrical Distribution.

Chapter 5 Service Entrance, Loadcenters, and Grounding.

Chapter 6 Wire, Cable, and Circuit Components.

Chapter 7 Branch Circuit Design and Device Wiring.

Chapter 8 Lighting, Lamps, and Luminaires.

Chapter 9 Telephone, Multimedia, and Alarm Systems.

Chapter 10 Electric Motors and Starter.

Chapter 11 Emergency and Standby Systems.

Chapter 12 Electrical Surges and Surge Protection.


This is the second edition of the Handbook of Electrical Design Details (HEDD), originally published in 1997. It is a well-illustrated reference book on electrical power and lighting—how it is generated, transmitted, distributed, and used. Considerable new information has been added in this edition but it is a smaller volume, making it more user-friendly and easier to keep on a desk or shelf.

Among the topics new to this edition are computer-aided electrical drawing (CAD), basic switch and receptacle circuit wiring, outdoor low-voltage wiring, telephone and structured wiring, and electrical surge protection. This book begins with a discussion of electrical drawing and symbols and the importance of specifications in electrical projects.

The chapters that follow cover power generation, transmission, and distribution. Design details of generators and transformers and their role in delivering electric power to consumers’ homes or buildings are included. Aerial and buried service entrances are explained and illustrated, as are main panels or loadcenters and the principles of earth grounding.

Properties of wire and cable are presented, and the dimensions and the details of basic electrical wiring devices are described and illustrated. The rules for installing branch circuit wiring are given along with an example of a load calculation and the reasons for load balancing. Extensive coverage is given to lighting, lamps, and indoor and outdoor lighting design.

Other chapters explain telephone and structured wiring, electric motors, emergency and standby electrical systems, and the essentials of surge protection. This edition of HEDD makes many references to the National Electrical Code® (NEC®)* on all topics governed by the code, such as wiring protection, wiring methods and materials, and standard equipment, where appropriate for reader guidance.

In the chapters on wire, cable, and wiring devices, individual drawings represent whole classes of standard products such as switches, receptacles, and lamps, replacing the many repetitive catalog pages that appeared in the first edition.

Each chapter begins with a content summary called “Contents at a Glance” and an Overview of the chapter. In addition, there are separate glossaries of technical terms at the ends of the chapters on transformers, electrical service entrance, wiring, lighting, motors, telecommunications, emergency and standby systems, and surge protection, for handy reference and quick memory refreshing.

This second edition of HEDD has been written in an informal descriptive style, with minimal use of mathematics. The readers most likely to benefit from this book are electrical contractors, electricians, and instructors.


A successful electrical power and lighting project depends on effective planning in the form of drawings, schedules, and contract specifications. This contract documentation provides a concise picture of the objectives for the electrical project work to be done.

It also serves as a record of intent for owners and as instructions and guidance for contractors, electricians, installers, and others performing the work. Contract documents, which might also include surveys and test data, are legal documents, and they can be used as evidence in court cases involving contractor malfeasance, or failure to comply with the intent of the drawings and specifications.

The present conformity to accepted formats for drawings and specifications is the result of years of practical experience reinforced by accepted national and international standards issued by government agencies and private standards organizations. 

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