# Electrical Units of Measure

The standard SI units used for the measurement of voltage, current and resistance are the VoltV ], AmpereA ] and OhmΩ ] respectively.

Sometimes in electrical or electronic circuits and systems it is necessary to use multiples or sub-multiples (fractions) of these standard units when the quantities being measured are very large or very small.

The following table gives a list of some of the standard electrical units of measure used in electrical formulas and component values.

### Standard Electrical Units

 ElectricalParameter MeasuringUnit Symbol Description Voltage Volt V or E Unit of Electrical PotentialV = I × R Current Ampere I or i Unit of Electrical CurrentI = V ÷ R Resistance Ohm R or Ω Unit of DC ResistanceR = V ÷ I Conductance Siemen G or ℧ Reciprocal of ResistanceG = 1 ÷ R Capacitance Farad C Unit of CapacitanceC = Q ÷ V Charge Coulomb Q Unit of Electrical ChargeQ = C × V Inductance Henry L or H Unit of InductanceVL = -L(di/dt) Power Watts W Unit of PowerP = V × I  or  I2 × R Impedance Ohm Z Unit of AC ResistanceZ2 = R2 + X2 Frequency Hertz Hz Unit of Frequencyƒ = 1 ÷ T

### Multiples and Sub-multiples

There is a huge range of values encountered in electrical and electronic engineering between a maximum value and a minimum value of a standard electrical unit. For example, resistance can be lower than 0.01Ω’s or higher than 1,000,000Ω’s. By using multiples and submultiple’s of the standard unit we can avoid having to write too many zero’s to define the position of the decimal point. The table below gives their names and abbreviations.

 Prefix Symbol Multiplier Power of Ten Terra T 1,000,000,000,000 1012 Giga G 1,000,000,000 109 Mega M 1,000,000 106 kilo k 1,000 103 none none 1 100 centi c 1/100 10-2 milli m 1/1,000 10-3 micro µ 1/1,000,000 10-6 nano n 1/1,000,000,000 10-9 pico p 1/1,000,000,000,000 10-12

So to display the units or multiples of units for either Resistance, Current or Voltage we would use as an example:

• 1kV = 1 kilo-volt  –  which is equal to 1,000 Volts.
• 1mA = 1 milli-amp  –  which is equal to one thousandths (1/1000) of an Ampere.
• 47kΩ = 47 kilo-ohms  –  which is equal to 47 thousand Ohms.
• 100uF = 100 micro-farads  –  which is equal to 100 millionths (1/1,000,000) of a Farad.
• 1kW = 1 kilo-watt  –  which is equal to 1,000 Watts.
• 1MHz = 1 mega-hertz  –  which is equal to one million Hertz.

To convert from one prefix to another it is necessary to either multiply or divide by the difference between the two values. For example, convert 1MHz into kHz.

Well we know from above that 1MHz is equal to one million (1,000,000) hertz and that 1kHz is equal to one thousand (1,000) hertz, so one 1MHz is one thousand times bigger than 1kHz. Then to convert Mega-hertz into Kilo-hertz we need to multiply mega-hertz by one thousand, as 1MHz is equal to 1000 kHz.

Likewise, if we needed to convert kilo-hertz into mega-hertz we would need to divide by one thousand. A much simpler and quicker method would be to move the decimal point either left or right depending upon whether you need to multiply or divide.

As well as the “Standard” electrical units of measure shown above, other units are also used in electrical engineering to denote other values and quantities such as:

• •  Wh – The Watt-Hour, The amount of electrical energy consumed by a circuit over a period of time. Eg, a light bulb consumes one hundred watts of electrical power for one hour. It is commonly used in the form of: Wh (watt-hours), kWh (Kilowatt-hour) which is 1,000 watt-hours or MWh (Megawatt-hour) which is 1,000,000 watt-hours.

• •  dB – The Decibel, The decibel is a one tenth unit of the Bel (symbol B) and is used to represent gain either in voltage, current or power. It is a logarithmic unit expressed in dB and is commonly used to represent the ratio of input to output in amplifier, audio circuits or loudspeaker systems.

For example, the dB ratio of an input voltage (Vin) to an output voltage (Vout) is expressed as 20log10 (Vout/Vin). The value in dB can be either positive (20dB) representing gain or negative (-20dB) representing loss with unity, ie input = output expressed as 0dB.

• •  θ – Phase Angle, The Phase Angle is the difference in degrees between the voltage waveform and the current waveform having the same periodic time. It is a time difference or time shift and depending upon the circuit element can have a “leading” or “lagging” value. The phase angle of a waveform is measured in degrees or radians.

• •  ω – Angular Frequency, Another unit which is mainly used in a.c. circuits to represent the Phasor Relationship between two or more waveforms is called Angular Frequency, symbol ω. This is a rotational unit of angular frequency 2πƒ with units in radians per second, rads/s. The complete revolution of one cycle is 360 degrees or 2π, therefore, half a revolution is given as 180 degrees or π rad.

• •  τ – Time Constant, The Time Constant of an impedance circuit or linear first-order system is the time it takes for the output to reach 63.7% of its maximum or minimum output value when subjected to a Step Response input. It is a measure of reaction time.

In the next tutorial about DC circuit theory we will look at Kirchoff’s Circuit Law which along with Ohms Law allows us to calculate the different voltages and currents circulating around a complex circuit.

• n
nikhildattani

Nice

• B
Biswaji Mahata

Bent

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T Ramakrishna

I want to know about units Generaly every house is having watt hour meters. how to convert these units for example I am having 100 watts bulb is blowing for 1 hour then how many units records in my wh meter. that meens how to convert my watts to one unit of whm

Thanks
ramakrishna

• o
orume

Hi every one my first time

• S
Sebastian

Hi I need help with the last question: What are the two basic electrical parameters that are measured? Usually Voltage and Current What is the equipment in HV circuits that is used for the measurements? Voltage in HV equipment is typically measured with specialist isolation transformers called Potential Transformers, or PTs. What are the other electrical quantities that can be derived from these two measurements (name any 4)?

• N
Naveenkumar

Units

• A
Aung Kyaw Htoo

Thank for this share of knowledge for Electrical Concepts

• P
Pawan Chaudhary

Very easy to understand…!

• s
syed Wasif Rohman

Thanks

• W
Willie

Awesome I like it thanks

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