Let’s start with the basics…

e·lec·tri·cal  en·gi·neer·ing

(ih-lek-tri-kuh l  enjəˈniring)


DEFINITION:  Electrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism. This field first became an identifiable occupation in the latter half of the 19th century after commercialization of the electric telegraph, the telephone, and electric power distribution and use. Subsequently, broadcasting and recording media made electronics part of daily life. The invention of the transistor, and later the integrated circuit, brought down the cost of electronics to the point where they can be used in almost any household object.  (For the full definition and history, visit



OK, so what does that have to do with hooking up your new Wii system? 


Well, no.  But…

Let’s say you are a wiz at all things electronic. You purchase the system at a reputable store where the helpful sales clerk arms you with additional cables that you’ll need for the installation and advises you to purchase a surge protector as an added safety measure.

You drive home and park in front of your quaint historic downtown cottage and haul your purchases inside. You open the box, unpack the system and after a thorough inventory, determine you have all the necessary parts.  You read the instructions…twice; and identify what gets plugged into where.   Following the diagrams meticulously, you wire the components and in no time, you power up your successfully installed Wii.

Minutes later, you catch a whiff of something burning.  What happened?

  1. The gaming unit you purchased is defective and the interior components are “melting down”
  2. You plugged the system into a defective wall receptacle
  3. You carefully plugged the system into the surge protector; which is plugged into the extension cord; which in turn is plugged into the only wall receptacle in the living room of the quaint historic cottage
  4. ANY of the above

DIY – How to Connect Your Wii

Though an engineer is not required to hookup a modern video gaming system, had an engineer been consulted on the Wii installation project, they would have foreseen the catastrophe. A plan would have been recommended to bring the house up to code.  It would have involved hiring an electrician to acquire the necessary permits and perform the work.  However, in order to acquire the necessary permits, the electrician would have needed stamped drawings from an electrical engineer detailing the proper electrical distribution to handle the homes’ load (amount of stuff plugged in and/or using electricity in the house).

Though you still may not be convinced that an engineer is needed to install a Wii, the fact of the matter is most people don’t realize that there are any number of household projects that do require an engineer. If you are working on remodeling your home or business, check with your local building department for the do’s and don’ts of your upcoming project.