Conventional Current Flow vs Electron Current Flow

Conventional Current Flow vs Electron Current Flow.  Probably more important than understanding which one is right is understanding what applications use which one.

The question of why we have conventional current flow and electron current flow comes up often.

Which one should you use, the quick answer:

If you are working in the industrial automation field or as an electrician, which most people who read our content are, then you are using conventional current flow.

Here's a short history lesson:

In 1752, Benjamin Franklin was doing electrical experiments and was able to collect "positive" and "negative" charges which became the common naming convention or conventional current flow.

150 years later in 1897, JJ Thomson would discover the electron and the fact that current flowed from the negative of a power supply to the positive of a power supply.  This is what we now know as electron current flow.

After 150 years of knowing this, why haven't we fix it?

The main reason that we are still using conventional current flow is that it makes very little difference in electrical calculations whether you consider current flowing from positive to negative or negative to positive.  The biggest difference is the right hand rule that determines the direction of forces from the flow of current would become the left hand rule.  In order for the world to switch from conventional current flow to electron current flow, every battery, transistor, diode, etc would have to be relabeled.  There is very little to gain from the industry switching to electron current flow when you think about the cost of relabeling every component that is labeled for conventional current flow.

Information