# Meaning of "short circuit current" in datasheets

This a general question regarding what should we understand when we see the term "short circuit current" in a given device datasheet. Does it always exactly mean the output current when we short the output to the ground? Or should we look for further explanation in the datasheet?

It says, the short-circuit current is 30 mA at Vdd = 5 V. I assume, it means that there is an output current protection on the device since it should be way above 30 mA considering the output impedance is 0.5 ohms. Is that a correct assumption? Does this also mean that the maximum current we can draw from the device is 30 mA (there is additional info about the current behaviour in this datasheet, what if there wasn't any)?

• There are graphs of the source and sink capability in that datasheet, figures 32 & 33. Feb 11 '20 at 21:11
• This is under the heading of "OUTPUT CHARACTERISTICS", so it's safe to assume it means the behavior of the output when it is shorted. If you find it somewhere else in a datasheet you might have to think about what it means in that context. Feb 11 '20 at 21:12
• I didn't notice the source/sink graph, I'll edit the question accordingly. Feb 11 '20 at 21:33
• @packt When operating properly (say, $\pm 5\:\text{mA}$), it's about a $50\:\Omega$ output (easily seen on one of the charts in the later pages below.) But you want to minimize your loading to minimize the voltage drop at the output. If you short-cricuit the output, it's NOT operating properly. Keep in mind that there are lots of outputs here and temperature variations due to varying output loading is to be avoided, too.
– jonk
Feb 11 '20 at 23:45