Part of the Smart grid glossary:

Volt-ampere (VA) is a measurement of power in a direct current ( DC ) electrical circuit. The VA specification is also used in alternating current ( AC ) circuits, but it is less precise in this application, because it represents apparent power , which often differs from true power .

In a DC circuit, 1 VA is the equivalent of one watt (1 W). The power, P (in watts) in a DC circuit is equal to the product of the voltage V (in volt s) and the current I (in ampere s):

P = VI

In an AC circuit, power and VA mean the same thing only when there is no reactance . Reactance is introduced when a circuit contains an inductor or capacitor . Because most AC circuits contain reactance, the VA figure is greater than the actual dissipated or delivered power in watts. This can cause confusion in specifications for power supplies. For example, a supply might be rated at 600 VA. This does not mean it can deliver 600 watts, unless the equipment is reactance-free. In real life, the true wattage rating of a power supply is 1/2 to 2/3 of the VA rating.

When purchasing a power source such as an uninterruptible power supply ( UPS ) for use with electronic equipment (including computers, monitors, and other peripherals), be sure the VA specifications for the equipment are used when determining the minimum ratings for the power supply. The VA figure is nominally 1.67 times (167 percent of) the power consumption in watts. Alternatively, you can multiply the VA rating of the power supply by 0.6 (60 percent) to get a good idea of its power-delivering capability in watts.

Also see current , voltage , power , reactance , and watt .

This was last updated in March 2011
Contributor(s): Guillermo Cardenas
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)

    - The Advanced Encryption Standard or AES is a symmetric block cipher used by the U.S. government to protect classified information and is implemented in software and hardware throughout the world to... (SearchSecurity.com)

  • application program interface (API)

    - An application program interface (API) is code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other. Typically, APIs are released for third-party development as part of a software devel... (SearchExchange.com)

  • ampere hour (Ah or amp hour)

    - An ampere hour (abbreviated Ah, or sometimes amp hour) is the amount of energy charge in a battery that will allow one ampere of current to flow for one hour. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Smart grid

    - Terms related to smart grids, including definitions about utility electricity delivery systems and words and phrases about smart meters and distributing, monitoring and billing electrical power.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.