You are on page 1of 18

# LIST OF CONTENTS

Section Contents Page Number
1 Summary and Objectives 2
2 Numerals and Numbers 3
3 Significant Places 3
4 Fraction Notation 4
5 Decimal Notation 5
6 Extended Fraction and Decimal Numbers 6
7 Percentage 6
8 Component Tolerance 7
9 Scientific Notation and the Base of 10 8
10 Scientific Notation and Extended Decimals 9
11 Multiplying and Dividing using Scientific Notation 10
12 Engineering Notation 11
13 Notation Summary & Comparison Table 12
14 Introduction to SI Units 13
15 SI Base and Extended Units of Measurement 14
16 SI Derived Units of Measurement 15
17 Table of Electrical Units 16
18 Examples of Scale with SI Units 17
19 Note on Calculator Use 17
20 Note on Computer Use 17
21 Calculation Short Cuts 18 V6
Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.co.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 1

These skills are necessary in engineering practice in measurements and calculations on mechanical. It is important to select the correct notation for each ‘use’ type.length. Calculations and measurements are involved in every electronic project. Each of the notations. light.This Section is to develop an understanding of Mathematical Scale and Units of Measurement. Mathematical notation is the way in which numbers are written. Maths and electronics are inseparable. This unit covers revision of basic arithmetic and maths skills that may not have been used by a student for several years. Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. Understanding these basic maths procedures and units of measurement origins will make electronic calculations and instrument measurements much easier and more enjoyable. spoken and used in calculations. A table is provided of many mechanical and electrical derived units of measurement such as acceleration. spoken or used in a number of different ways. It also covers the associated written notations to ensure correct expression of measurements verbally.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 2 . in writing and in arithmetic calculations. This is essential basic maths for City & Guilds and Edexcel BTECs. Design and measurement are two important activities of Engineers. Scale. density and Volts are derived from these Base and Extended Units. electric charge and magnetic flux. time. All other Units of Measurement such as velocity. A number can be written. There are two Extended Units of measurement . Practical experience in conjunction with competent handling of numbers will make most aspects of engineering much easier to grasp.co. current. temperature and matter.2D angle and 3D angle. Both require a good understanding and feel for scale and size. power. There are seven Base Units of measurement . electrical and electronic designs. Notation & Units of Measurement module is intended to be read and referred to regularly throughout the year. has a specific ‘use’. as the different ways of expressing numbers are called. This Numbers. weight.

The second digit from the right is called the ‘tens’ digit. which in as the ‘least significant digit’.2 NUMERALS AND NUMBERS 3 SIGNIFICANT PLACES An integer is a whole number from 1 to infinity (∞). of the example below it is also referred to as the ‘second most significant digit’. The ‘. 2. It is widely accepted that we have ten numerals.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 3 . for example. 5. ‘Notation’ is the way we refer to number presentation: Hundreds Tens 7 is called the ‘numeral 7’ digit digit seven is the English spoken and written word for 7 Units Thousands digit All of the above numbers are whole numbers greater than zero digit called ‘integers’. There are ten such numerals which we smallest numerical value. it is the largest part of the number. we are saying ‘seven’.98. 3. use to count to the base of 10. 4. It is also referred to Our numerals 0 to 9 originate from Arabic mathematics.765 6. the example below it is also referred to as the ‘third most significant digit’. Counting to the base of 10. number is made up from 6.co. It is the most significant digit in this example 3940 which is 0+40+900+3000 because. In the case these were our original counting machine. The first digit on the right is called the ‘units’ digit. we write ‘seven’. 6. number examples are: The fourth digit from the right is called the ‘thousands’ digit. Examples of valid integers are: 1234 1. 1. In the 17 which is 7+10 case of the example below it is also referred to as the ‘most 528 which is 8+20+500 significant digit’.329 -1234 . 7. significant significant digit digit Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. 8 and 9. being the one that represents the turn came from India. The When we say ‘7’. because we have 10 fingers and thumbs. being 6.’ is used to guide the eye.234 +98765 +98.765 Least & fourth Most & first significant digit We sometimes use a comma ‘. and has no Second Third mathematical relevance.000 + 300 + 20 + 9 = 6.329 In English language.’ as a marker guide every three Significant digit digits starting from the right and counting every three digits to the left. and The third digit from the right is called the ‘hundreds’ digit. In the case of The ten numerals being 0. and count to the base of 10.000.

The numerator is the number of these equal parts that are to be selected or taken. which expressed as: means the numerator is less than the denominator. or values. For example . that are not ’whole’ or integer can be A ‘proper fraction’ is one where its value is less than one.Numbers. one eighth ⅛ one quarter ¼ one third ⅓ three eighths ⅜ one half ½ five eighths ⅝ two thirds ⅔ three quarters ¾ seven eighths ⅞ Similar to the whole number integer presentation.co. fractions are quite unusable in this form. In fact. popular in expressions using the more simple fractions such as: Improper fractions can be converted to an integer with a proper English spoken & written Fraction fraction. They are also increasingly difficult to use in calculations. Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. Fractions derive from use in verbal conversation. fractions or decimals An ‘improper fraction’ is one where its value is greater than one. fractions can be written in numeric form or English language form. More complex fractions become difficult to express verbally. its numerator and denominator by the same amount.four-hundred-and-seventy-nine six-hundred-and- thirty-thirds (489/633) is cumbersome to say. and tend to be which means the numerator is greater than the denominator. The top number and bottom number of a fraction are referred to as: 489 is numerator = 163 633 is denominator 211 The denominator gives the fraction its ‘name’ and is the number of The value of a fraction is unchanged if we multiply or divide both equal parts into which the whole has been divided.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 4 .

etc. this decimal number is easier to use within the metric number of digits to the right of the decimal point is referred to as the measurements of length.500 In subtraction. then for decimals are a convenient notation to use in practice and theory example: 0.25 Third digit is rounded up (0. multiplication and division decimals are easy using a 0.Simple fractions such as the table above are easy to use and say. if not impossible. calculator. Decimal notation is easier to express linguistically compared to large This avoids inaccuracies in the final answer. places when the final answer is required to only two decimal places.5 should be written as 0.750 calculator.333 ⅓ these are common fractions and decimals.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 5 . five eighths ⅝ 0.625 24 24 two thirds ⅔ 0. The Further.5 one significant place In summary.500) are generally dropped (0. and when using a ‘number of significant places’.875 when using a tape measure or Digital MultiMeter.125 table of numbers or the working out in a problem one quarter ¼ 0.5) but not equipment and calculators. when performing a series of calculations during the solving of a problem. Decimals are much easier to use in calculations.958 which was easy to work out On the decimal notation some fractions have come out with one decimal digit.5 Adding ⅓ and ⅝ is (8+15) = 23 is more difficult to do mentally. using a so that the reader knows you are working to three significant places.667 three quarters ¾ 0. for example: calculator. fractions. and are likely to come up +0. The leading ‘0’ is used to ensure you do not miss the Redrawing the above table with a decimal column added: decimal point. to work everything out to three significant Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.333 Third digit remains (0. but fractions are very difficult.75 It is difficult to use the fraction result. in Engineering practice.that is easy to perform mentally.25 two significant places performing written calculations: 0. Everyone should be able to recognise and remember this table since In decimals the same calculation is: 0. one half ½ 0.667) if the fourth digit is over 5 one third ⅓ 0. 0.5) unless in a one eighth ⅛ 0. = 0. mandatory (. It is normal. in test Please note: Leading zeros are traditionally used (0.625 three significant places fractions are a more difficult notation to work with If you are doing calculations to three significant places.5).co. volts. for example on a calculator or seven eighths ⅞ 0. some with two digits and some with three digits. when using a calculator or 0.333) the same if the fourth digit is 5 or less three eighths ⅜ 0.75 should be written as 0. Rules are: English spoken & written Fraction Decimal Following zeros (0.375 Adding a ½ and a ¼ equals ¾ . time.625 ⅝ regularly in tests and life.

292 which becomes 236.5% with than Extended Fractions.co.625 .958 Second multiply by a hundred This becomes 302.333 is 33. instead of 1.29 when rounded to two significant decimal places.625 0.5 33. multiplication and division.96 when rounded to two significant decimal places. Subtraction of one number from another is performed in a similar way: 269.33 95. subtraction. multiply the decimal by 100. Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. To calculate the percentage.333 answer: 236. To express a fraction as a percentage: Adding two Extended Decimals: 33.333 +269.75 269.5 is 50% In Engineering practice the Extended Decimals are easier to work 0. A calculator is easy to use in working out Extended Decimal arithmetic such as addition.3% 0.875 is 87.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 6 .625 first convert the fraction to a decimal answer: +302. and then follow the An Extended Decimal is a number comprising an integer part and a answer with a % symbol: decimal part: 4.6 EXTENDED FRACTIONS AND DECIMALS 7 PERCENTAGE An Extended Fraction is a number comprising an integer part and a fraction part: Percentage is where a fraction or decimal number is expressed 4½ 33⅓ 95¾ 269⅝ as a number compared to 100.33.

Also.All electronic components are manufactured.100 to 82.000-4.6 Ω Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. resistors.100 = 77.000±5% = 82.6 to 330+6.1 times that number. This is obtained by dividing 10% by 100 and removing the % symbol. The Buyer of Electronic Components will want to know how accurately the components have been manufactured. indicates a 50 Ω resistor has a value between: 50-10% to 50+10% normally written as: 50±10% using the ± symbol Which becomes: 45 Ω to 55 Ω when calculated out How exactly is this calculated out? 10% of a number is 0. Then 50±10% becomes: 50-(0.6 = 323.100 Ω 330±2% = 330-6. 10% tolerance. for example. The accuracy of manufacture is far from perfect.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 7 . a component is likely to be cheaper to make if the accuracy of manufacture is allowed to be wide. As such.co.4 Ω to 336. capacitors and inductors are specified with a ‘preferred value’ accompanied by the tolerance.1 x50) = 50-5 to 50+5 = 45 Ω to 55 Ω Further examples are: 4700±10% = 4700-470 to 4700+470 = 4230 Ω to 5170 Ω 82.900 Ω to 86.000+4.1 x 50) to 50+(0.

A positive superscript. a tenth is 1 which is 10-1 which is also 0. 0. which means it is a fraction. A negative superscript means the number is less than 1. The little ‘6’ part is called the ‘index’. the two examples above are: Scientific Notation only applies to numbers counting to a base of 10. Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 8 . as above.001 and 0. All of the significant digits will be to the right of the decimal point. or ‘power’. This method is also called Exponent 1000 Notation. In English we say ‘one-millionth’.000 is written as 1 x 106 or just 106 In English we say: ‘10-to-the-sixth’ or ‘one million’ or ’10 to the power 6’ The ‘10’ part is called the ‘base’.000 is written as 1 x 103 or just 103 Thus.000. When written out in decimal form. In English we say ‘one-thousandth’. particularly if you are slightly dyslexic. Example: 1 is written as 1 x 10-6 or just 10-6 Numbers ending with many zeros (‘0’) can be difficult to accurately 1000000 grasp. means the number is greater than 1.000001 Example: 1.Scientific notation is the name given to a shorthand method of writing Example: 1 is written as 1 x 10-3 or just 10-3 down long or large numbers.co.1 10 In English we say: ‘10 cubed’ or ‘one thousand’ or ’10 to the power of 3’ Example: 1.

000 = 5.000 = 1 x 103 Now consider examples using Extended Decimal numbers: 1.0000000033 = 3.7 x 104 8. That means the correct conversions to Extended Decimals will always have 10 3.000 which you will see in Section 12 on Engineering Notation.250 = 1.000 = 820 x 103 or 8.2 x 10-3 0. But in electronics SI Units are expressed in multiples or divisors of 1.6 x 106 These are typical value ranges for resistors.This combines the use of Scientific Notation with Extended Decimals. even preferable. 109 etc.15 = 150 x 10-3 but often left as 0. Decimal numbers are followed with 10 to a negative index.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 9 .2 x 105 5. Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. The index is always a multiple of 3.co. 0. The index is still kept to multiples of 3.2 x 105 would be acceptable. distance or weight: 4. In many ordinary maths calculations relating to.2 15 = 15 180 = 180 1. 106.3 x 10-9 These numbers are typical values for inductors.000 = 47 x 103 or 4.7 x 104 820.2 = 1.25 x 103 47. voltage and power.15 0.022 = 22 x 10-3 0.600. say.0082 = 8.000091 = 91 x 10-6 0. capacitors and current. From above we had: 1.

94 numerator: 10-6 / 103 = 10-6-3 = 10-9 Dividing examples: 109 / 103 = 109-3 = 106 10-6 / 10-9 = 10-6+9 = 103 0.000758 / 2470 = 758 x 10-6 / 2.00146 = 39 x 103 x 1.47 x 103 = 758 / 2.co. you subtract the index of the denominator from the index of the = 56.01 x 109 109 x 103 = 109+3 = 1012 39000 x 0.46 x 10-3 ensure there are NO Engineering Notations mixed 0.815 x 103+6 10-6 x 103 = 10-6+3 = 10-3 = 2. 39000 = 39 x 103 The procedure to use is: 815000 = 0.000758 = 0. The calculated result has to be accurate and to the correct scale.46 x 103-3 When dividing one number in Scientific Notation by another (both to the base = 56.063 = 0.Most calculations in electrical and electronic engineering require multiplying Extending this to integer and decimal numbers: and dividing of numbers from trillionths to trillions. It can be quite difficult to ensure that 2470 = 2.47 x 103 the answer is not out by 1.00146 = 1.0129 x 109 = 12.063 = 63 x 10-3 and Scientific Notation 0.47 x 0.815 / 63 x 10-6+3 = 0.000 for example.758 x 10-3 or 758 x 10-6 in (ie KW becomes 103 W) do the calculations using Laws of Indices Rules below Multiplying examples: When multiplying two numbers expressed in Scientific Notation (both to the 2470 x 815000 = 2.94 x 100 10).9 x 106 Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.815 x 106 base of 10).47 x 103 x 0. examples being: = 2.47 x 10-6-3 explaining in more detail: = 306.815 x 106 ensure they are expressed as a decimal number 0. you add their indices together.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 10 .46 x 10-3 10-6 x 10-9 = 10-6-9 = 10-15 = 39 x 1.815 x 106 / 63 x 10-3 which is 10-6 / 103 = 10-9 = 0.9 x 10-9 10-6 numerator 103 denominator 815000 / 0.

000 = 820 x 103 820 Kilo 820 K 5. For very large or very small numbers it becomes clumsy. such as 5.0000000033 = 3. how convenient it is to: Kilo or Mega.2 detailed specification with lists of components.2 = 1. or abbreviated form of the Engineering notation. This is the short form. when a number is increased or decreased by units of When carrying out electronics calculations.25 K 47.2 milli 8. are only used in this full format when speaking English. For small numbers such as 1.000 or 0.3 nano 3. it is important to note 1.000091 = 91 x 10-6 91 micro 91 μ 0. 1. but is not convenient for calculations.6 x 106 5.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 11 .2.0082 = 8.600.000 = 47 x 103 47 Kilo 47 K 820.000 = 5.0000000033 Scientific notation is good for bringing a wide scale of numbers into a concise manner ready for use in calculations.022 = 22 x 10-3 22 milli 22 m 0.3 n The decimal notation is the normal way people write down numbers. The names.25 x 103 1. such as nano.In Engineering Notation. as may be the case in a 1.250 = 1.2 m 0.2 1.3 x 10-9 3. Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. Each name has a single letter or character symbol for use when appended to a do all the calculations in Scientific Notation number.000 it is given a name originating from the Greeks.15 = 150 x 10-3 150 milli 150 m 0.600.2 x 10-3 8. 15 full abbreviated or 180 as might be expected. The engineering notation is also concise and in a form that we can easily read and speak. the ‘R’ has not been used for 1.6 Mega 5.6 M 0. The ‘R’ is used in 15 = 15 15 15 180 = 180 180 180 the BS1852 Letter Code System for marking resistor values.25 Kilo 1. convert Scientific Notation back to Engineering Notation Decimal Scientific Engineering Engineering Note from the table above. The ‘R’ is generally not used unless you are being ‘politically correct’.co.2 1. The names start with a capital letter if greater than 1 and start with lower case letters if less convert from Engineering Notation to Scientific Notation than 1.2 or 15 it is very concise.

This is made possible and practical by the use of electronic equipment such as Digital Multi Meters (DMM) and Oscilloscopes (CRO) for measuring values.000.001 Thousandth 10-3 milli m 0.000 Trillion 1012 Tera T 1.000.000000001 Billionth 10-9 nano n 0. There is anything from five to 10 scales settings to accommodate the number range below.000 Million 106 Mega M 1.0 One 100 None R 0.000 Billion 109 Giga G 1.000 Thousand 103 Kilo K 1.co. Multiplication Factor Spoken Scientific Power Engineering Engineering Decimal Numerals English of 10 Name Symbol 1.000.000001 Millionth 10-6 micro µ 0.000000000001 Trillionth 10-12 pico p Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 12 .000.000.Engineering practice deals in numbers across a very wide scale from extremely small to extremely large.000.

they were a nightmare to work with. The variants were all multiples There are still some instances where we continue to use Imperial or divisors of 10. As a result However. but there are many more System’. pounds. Resistance. Equally. and to its mathematical simplicity of being in multiples of 10. Span and Stride. size of the person. Centuries Global science was mostly European based. time. Magnetism.by law! the metric system. milligram. electrical. the first letters of the French ‘Systéme Internationale’. These units are now called SI Units. Power. weight. Standard measurements were needed. The metre and kilogram are the foundations of we are now completely metric . covering Electrostatics. The same was and is true for the gram. Capacitance. volumetric sizes varied . hectare and acre. An international body was set up last century to standardise on all Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.When Noah built his ark his measurements were in Cubits . mathematically.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 13 .imagine buying On length and distance measurement the metre was adopted due a ‘small pint’ of beer.g. yards. inch. because in the 18 th and 19th ‘standards’ spread across the Commonwealth and the USA. and so on. The scientific community worldwide had always based its stones and hundred weight for weight measurement. terms of the inter-relationships between e. mile. In England we used miles. millimetre and kilometre for example. However. We used ounces. distance between his elbow and the tip of his outstretched fingers. The these evolved in the more civilised countries and regions. SI are Other units used over the ages were Palm. mechanical and so on. Nuclear Energy and other In Europe they created the metre with its variants of centimetre. These measurements on the metric system. Time. distance and area measurement. Current. yard. It was decreed to be Measurement’ for Voltage. when it came to the basic maths for these weights and the electrical SI units developed from a metric base. and is typical of the origins of the ‘English common electrical measurement criteria. feet and inches for furlong. measurements.co. the distance from the point of his nose to the end of his thumb. depending on the physical headquartered in Paris. throughout the manufacturing and construction industries kilogram. so were extremely easy to work with measurements such as a ‘pound of potatoes’ or a ‘pint of beer’. Energy and Charge.the measurements issues covering distance. areas. length. furlongs. which is These measurements were approximate. but still ‘Imperial’ system as originated in the UK was far too difficult in differed between these regions. These are the most is an arbitrary standard. This Inductance. The electrical SI units are listed on the attached table ‘Units of The length of the yard was set by King Henry I.

symbol Symbol There are two Extended Units which relate to 2D Base Units angle and 3D angle measurement. then: Extended Units Time = t s plane angle θ radian rad solid angle W steradian sr Temperature Engineers use Centigrade. but start at Absolute Zero. amount of substance mol mole mol If we have a situation where something is measured in seconds. mass m kilogram kg time t second s The ‘quantity symbol’ column is the letter or symbol we may use as an unknown variable in an equation.There are seven Base Units of measurement as Feature Quantity Unit Unit shown in the table to the right. Scientists use Kelvin Each degree step is the same.co. the lowest temperature 00K 2730K 3730K possible. absolute zero water freezing water boiling Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. Kelvin -2730C 00C 1000C degrees have the same degree increments as Celsius. but is an unknown variable. and when atomic matter stops moving. electric current I amp A for example: velocity = l / t (length / time) temperature t kelvin K The ‘unit symbol’ column specifies the Units of luminous intensity I candela cd measurement. but the starting point is different Everyday temperatures are quoted in degrees Celsius which has its 00C at the freezing point of water. for example 60 s is 60 seconds.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 14 . All other Units of Measurement can be derived from length l metre m these nine Units.

2 Acceleration a metre/sec/sec m/s m / s2 One can play with the expressions Force & Friction F Newton N kg m / s to change a Derived Unit from one Pressure P Pascal Pa = N / m 2 Kg / m / s set of Units to another set of Units.co. Energy is Joules 2 = Volts x Amps x Sec Magnetic Flux Density B Tesla T = Wb / m V s / m2 = Watts x Sec Frequency f Hertz Hz /s Luminous Flux L Lumen lm Cd sr Illuminance Il lux Lx = lm / m2 Cd sr / m2 Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk. Derived Units Area A square metre m2 m2 Some important examples of mechanical.Derived units are formed from Quantity Feature Unit Unit Symbol Derived from combinations of Base Units and symbol Extended Units.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 15 . for example: Energy E Joule J=Nm kg m2 / s Power P Watt W=J/s=Nm/s kg m2 / s2 Volts = Watts W Electric Potential V Volts V=W/A kg m2 / s2 / A Amps I Resistance R Ohm Ω V/A = Joules/sec J/s Conductance G Sieman S=1/R A/V Amps I Resistivity σ Ohm metre Ωm Vm/A = Joules J Amps x seconds Is Electric Charge Q Coulomb C As = Joules . J Capacitance C Farad F As/V Coulombs C Magnetic Flux Φ Weber Wb Vs Inductance L Henry H Vs/A Also. electrical and Volume V cubic metre m3 m3 electronic units of measurement Density ρ kilogram /cubic metre Kg / m3 Kg / m3 are provided in the table on the Velocity v metre / second m/s m/s right.

1 .000 1.000 1.co.000.000.000. 1.000.000.000.000 000 Measurement ment pico nano micro milli Kilo Mega Giga 100 Tera 10-12 10-9 10-6 10-3 103 106 109 1012 Voltage Volt pV nV µV mV V KV MV GV TV V Current Amp pA nA µA mA A KA MA GA TA I Resistance Ohm pΩ nΩ µΩ mΩ Ω KΩ MΩ GΩ TΩ R Capacitance Farad pF nF µF mF F KF C Inductance Henry pH nH µH mH H KH L Power Watt pW nW µW mW W KW MW GW TW P Time Second ps ns µs ms s T Energy Joule pJ nJ µJ mJ J KJ MJ GJ E Charge Coulomb pC nC µC µC C KC MC Q Nick Brackenbury nb@nbuk.000 1. 1 .000. trillionth billionth millionth thousandth units thousand million billion trillion Electrical Unit of 1 .000.000.uk Electronics Notes January 2005 Page 16 . 1 .000.000 1.000. Unit of Measure.000. 1 1000 1.000 1.