Electrical load

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From Wikipedia Last modified on 14 February 2013, at 18:40 This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2009) If an electric circuit has a well-defined output terminal, the circuit connected to this terminal (or its input impedance) is the load. (The term 'load' may also refer to the power consumed by a circuit; that topic is not discussed here.) Load affects the performance of circuits that output voltages or currents, such as sensors, voltage sources, and amplifiers. Mains power outlets provide an easy example: they supply power at constant voltage, with electrical appliances connected to the power circuit collectively making up the load. When a high-power appliance switches on, it dramatically reduces the load impedance. If the load impedance is not very much higher than the power supply impedance, the voltage will drop. In a domestic environment, switching on a heating appliance may cause incandescent lights to dim noticeably.

A more technical approach
When discussing the effect of load on a circuit, it is helpful to disregard the circuit's actual design and consider only the Thévenin equivalent. (The Norton equivalent could be used instead, with the same results.) The Thévenin equivalent of a circuit looks like this:

The circuit is represented by an ideal voltage source Vs in series with an internal resistance Rs.

the output voltage is VS . all of VS falls across the output.With no load (open-circuited terminals). However. the circuit will behave differently if a load is added. the output voltage will fall. adding the load makes a closed circuit and allows current to flow. so the voltage at the output terminal is no longer VS . We would like to ignore the details of the load circuit. but similar discussion can be applied in alternating current circits using resistive. as we did for the power supply. The output voltage can be determined by the voltage division rule: If the source resistance is not negligibly small compared to the load impedance. capacitive and inductive elements. Whereas the voltage source by itself was an open circuit. the complete circuit looks like this: The input resistance of the load stands in series with Rs. . This current places a voltage drop across RS . and represent it as simply as possible. This illustration uses simple resistances. If we use an input resistance to represent the load.