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April 17, 2023

Battery Charger & UPS Glossary

  • A B C E F G H I L M N O P R S T U V W


    ABNORMAL FAILURE. An artificially induced failure of a component, usually as a result of "abnormals" testing for regulatory agency safety compliance. For instance manually shorting components to see the effect on the safety of the power supply.

    AC (Alternating Current) An electrical current that periodically reverses direction.

    AMBIENT TEMPERATURE. The temperature of the environment in the proximity of the power supply.

    AMP Ampere, quantitative unit of measurement of electrical current equal to 1 coulomb of charge per second.

    BLACKOUT A total loss of electrical power, as opposed to brownout.

    BANDWIDTH. A range of frequencies over which a certain phenomenon is to be considered, for example noise bandwidth.

    BRIDGE CONVERTER. A DC to DC converter topology (configuration) employing four active switching components in a bridge configuration across a power transformer. This has lower losses than a bridge rectifier.

    BROWNOUT. A reduction of the AC mains' distribution voltage, usually caused deliberately by the utility company to reduce power consumption when demand exceeds generation or distribution capacity.

    BURN-IN. Operating a newly manufactured power supply, usually at rated load, for a period of time in order to force component infant mortality failures or other latent defects before the unit is delivered to a customer.

    CAPACITIVE COUPLING. Coupling of a signal between tow circuits, due to discrete or parasitic capacitance between the circuits. For example, the windings of a transformer are not only magnetically coupled, but also capacitively coupled due to their close proximity. .

    CONVERTER. An electrical circuit which accepts a DC input and generates a DC output of a different voltage, usually achieved by high frequency switching action employing inductive and capacitive filter elements.

    CREST FACTOR. In an AC circuit, Crest Factor is the mathematical ratio of the peak to RMS values of a waveform. Crest factor is sometimes used for describing the current stress in AC mains supply wires, since for a given amount of power transferred, the RMS value, and hence the losses, become greater with increasing peak values. Crest Factor gives essentially the same information as Power Factor, and is being replaced by Power Factor in power supply technology.

    CURRENT The flow of electricity expressed in amperes. Current refers to the quantity or intensity of electricity flow, whereas voltage refers to the pressure or force causing the electrical flow.

    CURRENT MONITOR. An analog power supply signal which is linearly proportional to output current flow. Usually only feasible for single output power supplies.

    DC - DIRECT CURRENTElectrical current which flows in one direction.

    DERATING. A reduction in an operating specification to improve reliability. For power supplies it is usually a specified reduction in output power to facilitate operation at higher temperatures.

    DESIGN LIFE. The expected lifetime of a power supply during which it will operate to its published specifications.

    DIFFERENTIAL MODE NOISE. Noise that is measured between two lines with respect to a common reference point excluding common-mode noise. The resultant measurement is the difference of the noise components of the two lines. The noise between the DC output and DC return is usually measured in power supplies.

    DIP A short term voltage decrease. EMI - Electro-Magnetic Interference

    DRIFT. The change in an output voltage, after a warm-up period, as a function of time when all other variables such a line, load, and operating temperature are held constant.

    DROPOUT. The lower limit of the AC input voltage where the power supply just begins to experience insufficient input to maintain regulation. The dropout voltage for linears is quite load dependent. For most switchers it is largely design dependent, and to a smaller degree load dependent. 

    EFFICIENCY. The ratio of total output power to input power expressed as a percentage. Normally specified at full load and nominal input voltage.

    ELECTRONIC LOAD. An electronic device designed to provide a load to the outputs of a power supply, usually capable of dynamic loading, and frequently programmable or computer controlled.

    EMI (Electromagnetic Interference)Unwanted noise during the operation of a power supply or other electrical or electronic equipment.

    ESR. Equivalent Series Resistance. The value of resistance in series with an ideal capacitor which duplicates the performance characteristics of a real capacitor. 

    FAULT MODE INPUT CURRENT. The input current to a power supply with a short circuit on the output.

    FERRORESONANT POWER SUPPLY. Power supply used at higher power levels in fixed applications, since they are very heavy. Can only be used effectively when the line frequency is very stable as they are sensitive to variations of input AC frequencies.

    Filter An electronic device that allows only certain frequencies to pass. 

    GROUND. An electrical connection to earth or some other conductor that is connected to earth. Sometimes the term "ground" is used in place of "common," but such usage is not correct unless the connection is also connected to earth.

    GROUND LOOP. An unintentionally induced feedback loop caused by two or more circuits sharing a common electrical ground. 

    HAVERSINE. A waveform that is sinusoidal in nature, but consists of a portion of a sine wave superimposed on another waveform. The input current waveform to a typical off-line power supply has the form of a haversine.

    HEADROOM. Used in conjunction with series pass regulators, and is the difference between the input and output voltages.

    HIPOT. Abbreviation for High Potential, and generally refers to the high voltages used to test dielectric withstand capability for regulatory agency electrical safety requirements.

    HOLD-UP TIME. The length of time a power supply can operate in regulation after failure of the AC input. Linears have very short hold-up times due to the CV squared energy storage product of their low voltage secondary side output capacitors. Switchers have longer times due to their higher voltage primary side energy storage capacitors. 

    INDUCED NOISE. Noise generated in a circuit by a varying magnetic field produced by another circuit.

    INPUT LINE FILTER. An internally or externally mounted low-pass or band-reject filter at the power supply input which reduces the noise fed into the power supply.

    INVERTER. A power supply which produces an AC output, usually from a DC input.

    ISOLATION. Two circuits that are completely electrically separated with respect to DC potentials, and almost always also AC potentials. In power supplies, it is defined as the electrical separation of the input and output via the transformer.

    ISOLATION VOLTAGE. The maximum AC or DC voltage which maybe continuously applied from input to output and/or chassis of a power supply. 

    LEAKAGE CURRENT. A term relating to current flowing between the AC supply wires and earth ground. The term does not necessarily denote a fault condition. In power supplies, leakage current usually refers to the 60 Hertz current which flows through the EMI filter capacitors which are connected between the AC lines and ground (Y caps).

    LINE REGULATION. The change in output voltage when the AC input voltage is changed from minimum to maximum specified. It is usually a small value, and may be near zero with current mode control.

    LOAD REGULATION. The change in output voltage when the load on the output is changed. 

    MAGNETIC AMPLIFIER. Sometimes abbreviated "Mag Amp," a saturating inductor which is placed in series with a power supply output for regulation purposes.

    MARGINING. Adjusting a power supply output voltage up or down from its minimal setting in order to verify system performance margin with respect to supply voltage. This is usually done electrically by a system-generated control signal.

    MINIMUM LOAD. The minimum load current/power that must be drawn from the power supply in order for the supply to meet its performance specifications. Less frequently, a minimum load is required to prevent the power from failing.

    NOISE An undesirable signal that is irregular and is riding on top of the desired signal. 

    OFF LINE. A power supply which receives its input power from the AC line, without using a 50/60 Hz power transformer prior to rectification and filtering, hence the term "off line" power supply.

    OPTOISOLATOR. An electro-optical device which transmits a signal across a DC isolation boundary.

    OUTPUT IMPEDANCE. The ratio of change in output voltage to change in load current.

    OUTPUT NOISE. The AC component that may be present on the DC output of a power supply. Switch-mode power supply output noise has two components: a lower frequency component at the switching frequency of the converter and a high frequency component due to fast edges of the converter switching transitions. Noise should always be measured directly at the output terminals with a scope probe having an extremely short grounding lead.

    OVERVOLTAGE PROTECTION. A circuit which either shuts down the power supply or crowbars the output in the event of an overvoltage condition. 

    PEAK POWER. The absolute maximum output power that a power supply can produce without immediate damage. Peak power capability is typically well beyond the continuous reliable output power capability and should only be used infrequently.

    POWER FACTOR. The ratio of true power to apparent power in an AC circuit. In power conversion technology, power factor is used in conjunction with describing the AC input current to the power supply.

    PRIMARY. The input section of an isolated power supply which is connected to the AC mains and hence has dangerous voltage levels present. 

    RATED OUTPUT CURRENT. The maximum load current that a power supply can provide at a specified ambient temperature.

    REGULATION. The ability of a power supply to maintain an output voltage within a specified tolerance as referenced to changing conditions of input voltage and/or load.

    REGULATION BAND. The total error band allowable for an output voltage. This includes the effects of all of the types of regulation: line, load, and cross.

    REVERSE VOLTAGE PROTECTION. A protection circuit that prevents the power supply from being damaged in the event that a reverse voltage is applied at the input or output terminals.

    RFI. An abbreviation for Radio Frequency Interference, which is undesirable noise produced by a power supply or other electrical or electronic device during its operation. In power supply technology, RFI is usually taken to mean the same thing as EMI.

    RIPPLE AND NOISE. The amplitude of the AC component on the DC output of a power supply usually expressed in millivolts peak-to-peak or RMS. For a linear power supply it is usually the frequency of the AC mains. For a switching power supply, it is usually the switching frequency of the converter stage. 

    SAFETY GROUND. A conductive path to earth that is designed to protect persons from electrical shock by shunting away any dangerous currents that might occur due to malfunction or accident.

    SECONDARY. The output section of an isolated power supply which is isolated from the AC mains and specially designed for safety of personnel who might be working with power on the system.

    SEQUENCING. The technique of establishing a desired order of activating the outputs of a multiple output power supply.

    SURGE An abnormally high voltage lasting for a short period of time.

    STANDBY CURRENT. The input current drawn by a power supply when shut down by a control input (remote inhibit) or under no load.

    SWITCHING FREQUENCY. The rate at which the DC voltage is switched on and off during the pulse width modulation process in a switching power supply. 

    TEMPERATURE COEFFICIENT. The average output voltage change expressed as a percent per degree centigrade of ambient temperature change. This is usually specified for a pre-determined temperature range.

    THERMAL PROTECTION. A power supply protection circuit which shuts the power supply down in the event of unacceptably high internal temperatures.

    TRACKING. A characteristic in a multiple output power supply where any changes in the output voltage of one output caused by line, load, and/or temperature are proportional to similar changes in accompanying outputs.

    TRANSFER TIME The amount of time it takes a stand-by or off-line type UPS to sense a power interruption and switch from utility output to inverter output. Normally expressed in milliseconds. See also Switching Time. Transformer

    TRUE POWER. In an AC circuit, true power is the actual power consumed. It is distinguished from apparent power by eliminating the reactive power component that may be present. 

    UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). A power supply which continues to supply power during a loss of input power. Two types are the stand-alone UPS, which is located external to the equipment being powered, and the battery back-up power supply, which is embedded in the equipment being powered, such as a POWER-ONE SPM series high power product with a G5 battery back-up module. 

    VOLTAGE BALANCE. The difference in magnitudes, in percent, of two output voltages that have equal nominal voltage magnitudes but opposite polarities.

    WARM-UP TIME. The time required after initial turn on for a power supply to achieve compliance to its performance specifications.

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