Math Tips
The information given here is simply the opinion of one guy
who did electrical work from 1967 until 2001and has taught
electrical courses since about 1973. Please confirm all aspects
of this information with others before acting on the contents.
Hopefully you will find helpful details here which will make
your career choice easier to follow. Cheers:>) David U.
Larson

Standard Layout
Organization of data is important to a successful outcome for any
mathematical calculation. My favorite layout is as below:
Given

Formula

Substitution

Solution





Given is the place where quantities provided in the problem are
listed with the appropriate symbols. This step is the most difficult.
Formula is the place where the formula which allows the given
information to find the desired answer.
Substitution is where the given information is substituted into the
formula.
Solution is where the calculator is used to find the answer.
Technique of Solution
All mathematical problems probably have more than one method which can
be used to find the correct solution. When you find a technique which
you feel comfortable using, memorize it. This should be done aloud
without reference. Practice while driving and while waiting at a stop
light.
Estimate The Answer
Mathematics problems are often difficult to apply an estimation. But
working many examples of problems over time will provide a
seatofthepants feeling for the magnitude of the answer. When ever
possible, make an educational guess before crunching the numbers.
Use Check Values
The application of check values to a specific set of formulas will
demonstrate to you if you are applying the formulas and calculator
properly. The advantage of this study practice exercise is to verify
that you can correctly apply each formula. Here's a chance for you to
try this. Click HERE to see
check values for AC circuits taken from my
Reference Formulas Appendix Workbook. Print the page then use these
check values to verify that you can correctly apply each formula.
When you try a formula, substitute the check values into the right
side of a formula. Do the math, and if you get a close answer to the
left side of the formula, you're doing the calculator entry aspect
properly. Circle the formulas which you produce a correct answer. Keep
working on any that do not work out. Seek help of you can not make any
of these work. I've used these check values and formulas for several
years. So all problems for several years. So all problems should work
out. You will be slightly off due to the number of places to the right
of the decimal.
Make up your own check values for each formula used to make
electrical calculations.
Calculator Use
The little booklet which comes with a calculator is quite helpful. Don't
ignore it or throw it away. The calculator I recommend for use with all
the workbooks I sell at ElectricianEducation.com is the Texas
Instruments TI30Xa. Note the Xa. That's the right one. Nothing else. It
is about $12 or less. How such a great calculator is made so
inexpensively baffles me to this day.
Texas Instruments has a great web site. Click HERE to visit their
site.
Rounding Off
Don't. Leave all digits to the right of the decimal point in your
calculator as you work a problem. Some problems do not need any digits
to the right of the decimal. Like circular mils in a voltage drop
problem. Some problems need as many as four places to the right of the
decimal like conduit and nipple fill problems.
When digits are important to the right of the decimal, use the STO
(Storage) and RCL (Recall) keys feature of the TI30Xa to maintain
accuracy. See the instruction booklet for calculator technique.
Remember, if a formula has more than one quantity on the denominator,
brackets are needed to enter the problem properly.
Example L = Vd Cm divided by (2 k I ) on the calculator becomes:
Vd times Cm = divided by ( 2 times k times I ) equals answer.

