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Units and symbols for Modules 3 and 4

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A quick look at electrical units and symbols You will find that a number of units and symbols are commonly encountered in electrical and electronic circuits. If you have already studied Electrical Principles you will already know all about them but if not the following notes should quickly get you up to speed! Unit Abbrev. Symbol Notes ______________________________________________________________________ Ampere Unit of electric current (a current of 1 A flows in a conductor when a charge of 1 C is transported in a time interval of 1 s). Coulomb C Q Unit of electric charge or quantity of electricity (a fundamental unit) Farad F C Unit of capacitance (a capacitor has a capacitance of 1 F when a charge of 1 C results in a potential difference of 1 V across its plates). Henry H L Unit of inductance (an inductor has an inductance of 1 H when an applied current changing uniformly at a rate of 1 A/s produces a potential difference of 1 V across its terminals). Hertz Hz f Unit of frequency (a signal has a frequency of 1 Hz if one complete cycle occurs in a time interval of 1 s). Joule J E Unit of energy (a fundamental unit) R Unit of resistance (a fundamental unit) Ohm Second s t Unit of time (a fundamental unit) Siemen S G Unit of conductance (the reciprocal of resistance). Tesla T B Unit of magnetic flux density (a flux density of 1 T is produced when a flux of 1 Wb is present over an area of 1 square metre). Volt V V Unit of electric potential (we sometimes refer to this as EMF or PD). Watt W P Unit of power (equal to 1 J of energy consumed in a time of 1 s). Weber Wb Ф Unit of magnetic flux (a fundamental unit) ______________________________________________________________________ I A

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000. Thus to convert 0.000) (= 1) (= 0.001) (= 0. multiplying by 1. as follows: 0.0000015 V. 2 .15 × 1.01) (= 0.001) ________________________________________________________________________ Example 1 An indicator lamp requires a current of 0.000.001) (= 0.000) (= 1.000 = 150 mA ________________________________________________________________________ Key point Multiplying by 1.000 is equivalent to moving the decimal point three places to the left.000.000. These use a prefix letter in order to add a multiplier to the quoted value.000.000) (= 1. We can do this by using a standard range of multiples and sub-multiples.000 is equivalent to moving the decimal point three places to the right whilst dividing by 1. At the same time. the voltage present at the antenna input of a VHF radio could be as little as 0.000 .15 by 1. many of the electrical units can be cumbersome for everyday use.000 is equivalent to moving the decimal point six places to the right whilst dividing by 1. Similarly. Multiplier _______________________________________________ tera giga mega kilo (none) centi milli micro nano pico T G M k (none) c m µ n p 1012 109 106 103 100 10−2 10−3 10−6 10−9 10−12 (= 1.Multiples and sub-multiples Unfortunately. Express this in mA.001) (= 0.000.000. because the numbers can be very large or very small.000.15 A = 0.000.000. For example.000. as follows: Prefix Abbrev.000. we apply a multiplier of 103 or 1. Clearly we need to make life a little easier.15 A. the resistance present in an amplifier stage could be as high as 10.000) (= 1. Solution To convert A to mA.000 is equivalent to moving the decimal point six places to the left.000.000.15 A to mA we multiply 0.000.000.000.

000 pF in µF we need to multiply by 0. A pulse has a duration of 0.001. A current of 570 µA flows in a resistor.000 pF in 1 µF. multiplying by 0. A signal has a frequency of 15.750 V = 2. State the symbol used for conductance. 6. State the symbol used for capacitance.62 MHz. Express this in µF. A generator produces a voltage of 440 V. 8. A capacitor has a value of 0. Express this current in mA.0075 s.75 kV Here.027 µF (note that we have had to introduce an extra zero before the 2 and after the decimal point).750 × 0. 7. Express this in kHz. Express this in kV. Express this resistance in M . 2.000. © Mike Tooley November 2007 3 . 3. Express this time in s. ________________________________________________________________________ Test your knowledge! 1. Thus. Solution There are 1.001 = 2.001. 4. Example 3 A capacitor has a value of 27. State the units for electric current. 5.000. The easiest way of doing this is simply to move the decimal point six places to the left. Express this in kV. Thus we can convert 2. A resistor has a value of 470 k .________________________________________________________________________ Example 2 An insulation tester produces a voltage of 2.000 pF. Express this capacitance in nF. State the units for frequency.001 is equivalent to moving the decimal point three places to the left.750 V to kV as follows: 2.750 V.22 µF. 9. Hence 27.000 pF is equivalent to 0. to express the value in 27. 10. Solution To convert V to kV we apply a multiplier of 10−3 or 0.

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