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Almost certainly a neophyte question. I'm trying to understand the difference between nominal voltage and operation voltage range. My intuition was that, for a given power supply, it would hold a voltage within a few volts (hence, it would have an operational voltage range within a few volts of it's nominal voltage).

So what I'm trying to understand, is why a device such as this has such a wide operational voltage range:

enter image description here

Image source: http://www.astronautix.com.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The original TTL logic SN74XX family was 5 volts nominal, and was guaranteed to meet specs from 4.5 to 5.5 volts. \$\endgroup\$ – analogsystemsrf Nov 18 '18 at 4:35
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It has a nominal power of 2200 W at the nominal voltage of 350 V which, I presume, is DC. This may be related to a standard power supply they manufacture.

My intuition was that, for a given power supply, it would hold a voltage within a few volts.

No, it would be up to the power-supply to hold the voltage, not the device.

So what I'm trying to understand, is why a device such as this has such a wide operational voltage range.

Because it can! An electric heating element may have a nominal voltage of 230 V. You can run it at 250 V and it will run a bit hotter (and may die sooner) or you could run it at a lower voltage but it would give out less power (but might last forever).

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"Nominal" means the voltage for which the specified performance holds.

That's not an astonishingly large range for a power device. Regulated power supplies cost money and add weight; a system designer may well want to use an unregulated or lightly regulated supply if it's cheaper and lighter.

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