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News Room

Published on 28-05-2011
Understanding Ampere, Volt & Watt

In measuring electrical power, there are three terms that are often used, they are: ampere, volt, and watt. By understanding these terms and how they relate to your electric usage, they may help you in defining electric power requirements for new appliances, read electric bill, and prevent overloading a fuse or circuit.

Ampere (amp) is named after Andre-Marie Ampere, a French physicist and considered the father of electrodynamics. An ampere is a unit to measure the rate of electron flow or current in an electrical conductor. It is the rate at which electricity flows through a wire or piece of machinery when you turn it on.

Volt (V) or usually known as voltage is a representation of the electric potential energy per unit charge. If a unit of electrical charge were placed in a location, the voltage indicates the potential energy of it at that point. In other words, it is a measurement of the energy contained within an electric field, or an electric circuit, at a given point. The term Volt is named after the physicist Alessandro Volta, who invented the chemical battery.

Electrical consumption is measured in watts, or watt-hours. State electricity Company (PLN) uses watt as a measurement in billing a customer for electrical usage. For convenience, PLN measures consumption in a unit called a kilowatt-hour, which is the equivalent of using 1000 watts of power for one hour.

The relations of these three terms can be described by using water hose analogy. The water pressure in the hose is like the voltage, and the amp value is like the volume of water flowing through the hose. The wattage, then, is the total amount of water that comes out of the hose, per unit of time. Replace the hose in the above analogy with an electrical wire, you will understand how they relate.

An appliance which uses a large amount of current, such as an electric stove, may be on a separate circuit with a higher voltage. There must be more voltage to supply the needed amps to the appliance, because it has a higher wattage. In other words, it uses up more current, or amps, per unit of time, than another appliance. Without the higher voltage, the appliance will not work because it lacks the amps it needed to be able to operate.

For further information or consultation regarding electricity, please contact Surya Cakra Mandiri.

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