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Form factor (electronics) 1

Form factor (electronics)
In electronics, the form factor of an alternating current waveform (signal) is the ratio of the RMS (Root Mean
Square) value to the average value (mathematical mean of absolute values of all points on the waveform).[1] It
identifies the ratio of the direct current of equal power relative to the given alternating current. The former can also
be defined as the direct current that will produce equivalent heat.[]

Calculating the form factor
For an ideal, continuous wave function over time T, the RMS can be calculated in integral form:[]

The rectified average is then the mean of the integral of the function's absolute value:[]

The quotient of these two values is the form factor, , or in unambiguous situations, .

reflects the variation in the function's distance from the average, and is disproportionately impacted by large
deviations from the unrectified average value.[2] It will always be at least as large as , which only measures
the absolute distance from said average. The form factor thus cannot be smaller than 1 (a square wave where all
momentary values are equally far above or below the average value; see below), and has no theoretical upper limit
for functions with sufficient deviation.

can be used for combining signals of different frequencies[] (for example, for harmonics[]), while for the same
frequency, .
As ARV's on the same domain can be summed as , the form
factor of a complex wave composed of multiple waves of the same frequency can sometimes be calculated as


Digital AC measuring instruments are often built with specific waveforms in mind. For example, many digital AC
multimeters are specifically scaled to display the RMS value of a sine wave. Since the RMS calculation can be
difficult to achieve digitally, the absolute average is calculated instead and the result multiplied by the form factor of
a sinusoid. This method will give less accurate readings for waveforms other than a sinewave.[3]

As discussed above, the form factor is the quotient of the RMS and the ARV. The independent properties and
similarities of these two values define the properties of the form factor.
For example, both RMS and ARV are directly proportional to the Amplitude . However, their division removes
the amplitude from the equation, meaning that form factor of a given waveform is the same regardless of how large
or small the alternating current or voltage may be.

Waveform Image RMS ARV Form Factor Sine wave [] [] [] Half-wave rectified sine Full-wave rectified sine Square wave. and can be replaced with a normalized 1 for calculating that value. However. and can thus be considered as having . The form factor. is the smallest of the three wave factors. any of the non-pulsing functions below can be appended with to allow pulsing. the form factor is the same for a direction-changing wave with a regular average of 0 and its fully rectified version. can be analyzed as . For this reason. it has no effect on the form factor.[] so the form factor can be calculated with . the electrical signal's direction) at any point. the other two being crest factor and the lesser-known averaging factor . the ratio of the "pulse" time (when the function's value is not zero) to the full wave period . Specific form factors represents the amplitude of the function. constant value Pulse wave [4] Triangle wave [5] . and has . . is the duty cycle. For example. the three factors are related by . Average rectified value and maximum amplitude of the waveform). [] Due to their definitions (all relying on the Root Mean Square. As both RMS and ARV are directly proportional to it. Most basic wave functions only achieve 0 for infinitely short instants.Form factor (electronics) 2 The squaring in RMS and the absolute value in ARV mean that both the values and the form factor are independent of the wave function's sign (and thus. and any other coefficients applied in the vertical dimension. which can be considered a pulsed full-rectified sine wave with . This is illustrated with the half-rectified sine wave.

1) External links • RMS Calculator [6] References [6] http:/ / www. phtml . com/ Calculators/ RMS-Calculator. daycounter.Form factor (electronics) 3 Sawtooth wave White noise U(-1.

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