Questions tagged [voltage]

Voltage, otherwise known as electrical potential difference (denoted ∆V and measured in volts) is the difference in electric potential between two points (adapted from Wikipedia). Voltage can be constant (DC) or varying (AC).

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312
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8answers
297k views

What is the difference between \$V_{CC}\$, \$V_{DD}\$, \$V_{EE}\$, \$V_{SS}\$

I've seen lots of schematics use \$V_{CC}\$ and \$V_{DD}\$ interchangeably. I know \$V_{CC}\$ and \$V_{DD}\$ are for positive voltage, and \$V_{SS}\$ and \$V_{EE}\$ are for ground, but what is the ...
293
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5answers
375k views

Choosing power supply, how to get the voltage and current ratings?

Power supplies are available in a wide range of voltage and current ratings. If I have a device that has specific voltage and current ratings, how do those relate to the power ratings I need to ...
94
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10answers
245k views

What is negative voltage?

Just a general electronics question: What is negative voltage, like -5 Volt? From my basic knowledge, power is generated by electrons wandering from the minus to the plus side of the power source (...
73
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9answers
11k views

What exactly is voltage?

Bit of a strange question, but what is it? My physics teacher said it was kind of like a "push" that pushes electrons around the circuit. Can I have a more complex explanation? Any help is much ...
71
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8answers
12k views

Can a bird, previously at earth potential, get electrocuted by landing on a powerline at high-enough voltage due to the initial “equalization charge”?

At the voltage levels of typical overhead transmission lines in the US, a bird can land on one and be just fine (as long as it doesn't do something like spread its wings and touch a tree or something ...
68
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3answers
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What is ground and what does it do?

I'm a bit confused about the concept of ground, and perhaps voltage as well, particularly when trying to analyze a circuit. When I learned about Ohm's law in grade school, I learned how to apply the ...
66
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9answers
380k views

How much voltage/current is “dangerous”?

Related: Safe current/voltage limit for human contact? From what I've heard: 110 V (or 220 V; household voltage pretty much) is dangerous (i.e. can kill you) I think there's consensus on this, ...
59
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10answers
103k views

Why do many laptops run on 19 volts?

Typically mobile devices that have a mains-powered supply will accept voltage that is multiple of some single battery voltage. For example, 4.5 volts is 1.5 volts (AA primary battery) 3 times and 36 ...
48
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3answers
30k views

What does 3V3 or 1V8 mean?

While reading a datasheet for an IC I came across the pin voltages being presented as 3V3 or 1V8. What does this representation stand for?
47
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9answers
40k views

How safe is 48V DC?

In many Power over Ethernet (POE) setups the transmission voltage is 48V or slightly more. While higher voltage has obvious efficiency advantages, how safe it is? Is there any risk of electrocution ...
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7answers
183k views

230V AC to 5V DC converter, lossless

Is there any IC which converts 230V AC to 5V DC? As lossless as possible. I want to connect my microcontroller to an ordinary electrical socket and I don't have enough space available. Thanks.
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6answers
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Why aren’t the main conductors in this underground power cable made from copper?

I’ve found a piece of electrical cable left by the electricity company that supplies the area. They did a repair recently underground. I’m curious why the three big triangular conductors aren’t made ...
42
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6answers
96k views

Easy way to figure out a LED's Vf in order to pick an appropriate resistor

I was wondering what the easiest way to figure out a LED's forward voltage is, using measurement tools. I know we can assume red LEDs to be around 1.8V - 2.2V, and that we have similar information ...
40
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9answers
11k views

Is current source also a voltage source?

I'm confused between current and voltage sources; I get the text book definition but I am not able to understand real world difference. To me both current and voltage sources seem as the same. I ...
40
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8answers
8k views

Why isn't there a potential difference across a disconnected diode?

I know this question sounds silly, as if there was a potential difference a current would be created when the terminals are connected together and this would mean energy has come from somewhere. The ...
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13answers
9k views

Why can current only flow in loops? [duplicate]

In the following image: Why can't current flow across the following wire? It's a simple question, but I've kind off always wondered. Thanks!
35
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4answers
8k views

I2C 3.3 to 5.0 V conversion

I'm trying to interface a 3.3V I2C device to a 5V Arduino. I don't have any problem with SCL line. I can use a simple voltage divider but I have an issue with the SDA line as this is bi-directional. ...
34
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3answers
135k views

Help me understand the relationship between positive, negative, neutral and ground in AC and DC

This question stems from notations on schematics and seemingly conflicting information I'm seeing. I suspect that I'm seeing different vernacular for the same concepts--but I'm in a place where no one'...
33
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7answers
9k views

Why don't we use low voltage Power Sources for high wattage applications?

Super nooby question involving Ohm's law, but this has been on mind this morning. Say I have a 60W device, and I want to power it. Usually this calls for a 120V source or something. However, why not ...
33
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8answers
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Two black boxes display the same impedance at all frequencies. Which has the single resistor?

Two black boxes display the same impedance at all frequencies. The first contains a single 1 Ohm resistor. Each end is connected to a wire, so that two wires protrude from the box. The second box ...
29
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6answers
239k views

Reducing voltage with resistors

I have been looking around for an easy way to convert 12V to 5V. I have seen some people saying that a simple resistor is all that is needed. $$ Volts = Ohms \cdot Amps $$ $$ Amps = \frac{Volts}{...
29
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8answers
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Can I reduce voltage from 3.3V to 1.8V using a 1.5V battery?

I am interfacing to an EEPROM that works via SPI at 1.8V; unfortunately I do not have a 1.8V power source around and being this a weekend project, I wanted to complete it without going to the shop. I ...
29
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6answers
98k views

“Ground” vs. “Earth” vs. common vs. negative terminal

This may just be me not having a degree in electrical engineering or electronics, but the whole notion of "ground" and "earth", when used in electrical circuit diagrams (especially integrated circuits)...
27
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7answers
28k views

Least expensive way to boost DC voltage

What would be the least expensive way to boost a DC voltage? The aim is to convert 1.2 V/1.5 V (from an AA/AAA cell) to 3.3 V to power a small 8-bit microprocessor, like Atmel ...
27
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7answers
70k views

When people talk about a device “drawing” current, what do they mean? Why do devices under load “draw” more current?

In my (extremely rudimentary) understanding, the amount of current flowing in a circuit is determined by a) its resistance, and b) the voltage of the power source (voltage from beginning to end), ...
27
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5answers
3k views

Capacitor Gaining Voltage Over Time?

I recently bought two 3300uf 100v capacitors and have connected them in parallel. I charge them up to 100v and discharge them. I then hook up a multimeter and notice the voltage going up very slowly, ...
26
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7answers
5k views

Why are integrated circuits powered by low voltage and high current?

I've heard that a typical graphics card uses around 100 A of current and only 1 V of voltage. Is there a specific reason why not to use the other way around, so high voltage and low amp? Usually high ...
26
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13answers
28k views

Is voltage the speed of electrons?

Current is the amount of electrons passing through a wire. Can we say that voltage is the speed of those electrons?
26
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5answers
391k views

how to reduce DC voltage using resistors?

How would one go about using a 12 V DC power source to power something which needs 4.5 V DC using resistors? Is there a way to determine how much adding a resistor would drop the voltage?
26
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4answers
4k views

Why old PMOS/NMOS logic needed multiple voltages?

Why does old PMOS/NMOS logic needed multiple voltages like +5, -5, and +12 volts? For example, old Intel 8080 processors, old DRAMs, e.t.c... I'm interested in the causes on the physical/layout ...
25
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8answers
14k views

Why is the diode forward voltage constant?

When you have a diode with a certain barrier voltage (e.g., 0.7 V for Si) and you apply a voltage higher than this barrier potential, why does the voltage across the diode remain at 0.7V? I ...
25
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6answers
10k views

Voltage regulator vs. voltage reference

I need a cheap, somewhat accurate (~0.5%) voltage reference for some DACs. At first I was going to use a LDO voltage regulator (a TC1223 specifically) for this, it seems to fit the bill looking at the ...
23
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14answers
4k views

What can I put a kilowatt into? (Or: help me save my hairdryers)

TL;DR: I need something to discharge roughly 160A at 14V into, or 2.24 kilowatts. Any comments, or answers, with either a) something I can dump a kilowatt into, b) some way I can modify a common item ...
23
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3answers
74k views

Is MOSFET gate threshold voltage a limit or minimal “Full-on” switching voltage?

I've been shopping for some mosfet transistors, for a starter kit, and noticed listings that state a mosfet is suitable for 5v logic, but the data sheets says Gate Threshold is 1-2v. 4v gated mosfets,...
23
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5answers
37k views

Why does USB have Vcc=5V and high=3.3V?

I am thinking about adding USB support to a device of mine using V-USB. From what I read there and on other sites USB seems to have only 3.3V as a high level on the data pins, whereas the voltage ...
23
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3answers
5k views

Compensating the forward voltage drop of a diode signal rectifier

I am reading Arts of Electronics and they are showing this circuit: It says that D1 compensates for D2's forward drop by providing 0.6V of bias. I don't understand this circuit at all. Is the +5V an ...
22
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11answers
6k views

When is it okay to exceed the absolute maximum rating on a part?

I've always thought that the absolute maximum ratings on a part are the limits that thou shalt not violate. Period. End of story. However, another engineer is making the case that it's okay to ...
22
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5answers
33k views

Whats does “hr” mean among “V” and “Ah” in batteries?

I have a battery which indicates 12V25Ah/10hr. What does 10hr mean here? I guess "hr" stands for "hour". But 25Ah already means if battery is fully charged and if I load 12V 25A (=300W) to it, it ...
22
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2answers
5k views

Why do condors get electrocuted by power lines?

Plenty has been said about why birds are safe to land on power lines. But condors, apparently, are not. The linked article explains that condors are electrocuted often enough and endangered enough ...
22
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2answers
3k views

Why do we need a voltage divider when we get the same voltage at the output as the input?

I am using a voltage divider circuit of 100 Ω and 10 kΩ resistors, and using their output for the (IRF740) transistor's input. I'm trying to figure out why do the resistors have those specific values....
22
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4answers
50k views

Why is it bad to mix new and old batteries?

I've seen warnings that it's bad to mix new and old batteries -- why? Is it a matter of a battery's age or a battery's voltage/current (remaining)?
21
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4answers
7k views

Why is home voltage value higher during the night?

I have been monitoring the voltage in my own home (Mexico 120V 60Hz). I have been graphing the values every minute and I'm starting to notice that during the morning voltage gets up to 127, and during ...
20
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4answers
3k views

Purpose of 2 serial resistors on voltage divider

In the schematic/picture below, what is the purpose of 2 serial resistors for voltage divider? Temperature, thermal runaway, stocks, prices, or something else? Thank you. simulate this circuit &...
20
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6answers
14k views

What are the highest DC and AC voltages or currents that can be considered as safe?

By safe I mean safe for us when we touch a wire that is not insulated. I have heard that human body resistance is normally 50k Ohm when dry and 20K Ohm when wet. Therefore, these voltages or currents ...
19
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9answers
110k views

High voltage capacitor, in a low voltage system?

Quick question: is using a capacitor rated for high voltage (let's say 35V) in a system that let's say supplies 5V (like for LEDs or what have you) dangerous? Since it can store up to 35V, will it ...
19
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5answers
8k views

Why is a current signal preferred to a voltage signal for long analog transmission?

Some sensors act like current sources, and I have seen it several times, especially for very long wires even at outdoors like wind vanes. 4-20 mA current loops are used instead of 0-10 V ...
19
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3answers
5k views

Difference between 0-18V and -9V - +9V

What is the principle of the difference between a supply which provides 0-18V and +9V and -9V? If I am using a circuit which takes a +/-9V power supply, and instead start powering it with 2 9v ...
18
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7answers
7k views

Why can sticking fingers in an electric outlet kill you?

I just wanted to learn some differences between volts, amps, ohms and so forth and came up with this question. If your skin has 100k ohms resistance and the outlet is 220v wouldn't the current flowing ...
18
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5answers
7k views

Is there any reason why 5 volts is so ubiquitous for powering small consumer electronics?

So pretty much every phone charger, tablet charger outputs 5 volts. 5 volts was part of the original USB specification which I assume had some influence on this, resulting in it just being easier to ...
18
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5answers
45k views

Is it OK to put LEDs in parallel? [duplicate]

I wonder if it's a good idea to put LEDs in parallel, as below: I've heard that it might not be because the voltage threshold won't be exactly the same for each LED, so they'll shine all with very ...

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