43. What's a circuit breaker and what does short circuit mean? (Eaturitj #4)

Podcast 4 of 7. Nikunu Yunupingu and Richard Trudgen have a conversation about why circuit breakers keep switching off and what causes the short-circuit. They point out that most Yolngu do not understand the English word circuit.

This podcast explains that the circuit breaker switch is a way of telling people that something is wrong with the power, and there is nothing wrong with the switch itself. In order to explain why this happens we look at what the word ‘circuit’ means, as well as discuss how electricity works.

The role of wiring in an electrical cable is explored, including the green wire being the earth wire (safety), the red wire being the active wire (carrying the electrical current from the generator/power source), and the black wire being neutral, or the return wire. Then a practical example is given of what an electrical circuit is and how it works. Richard mentions that the job of a circuit breaker is to stop the circuit so power can’t come through. This might be because there is something wrong with the wiring or the circuit is overloaded or has too many appliances connected to it. It’s designed as a safety mechanism to stop an electric shock or a fire.

Nikunu says this is good information for the whole community, otherwise people don’t understand anything about how electricity works without any education or information, and this could be dangerous.


There are 4 Stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below:

  • How power / electricity works. Explains the basic meaning of an electrical circuit & earth wires – 00:00
  • Explains the red active & black neutral wire making an electrical circuit. – 9:16
  • Meaning of circuit breaker & short circuit. – 19:58
  • Summary of the three wires in electrical circuits & circuit breakers – 29:32