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Fundamentals of AC Power Measurements

Power analysis involves some measurements, terms and calculations that may be new and possibly confusing to engineers and technicians who are new to this discipline. And today's power-conversion equipment often produces complex voltage and current waveforms that may require different methods than once applied for simpler sine waves. This application note will introduce the basic concepts of power measurements and clarify the definitions of key terms such as:

  • Root mean square
  • Real power
  • Apparent power
  • Power factor
  • Crest factor
  • Harmonic Distortion

By developing a better understanding of these measurement terms and concepts, as well as the relationships between them, you will be better prepared to interpret measurements that you encounter as you test your designs.

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