Power Basics, Part 3 – What’s a Watt?

Everyone’s heard of Volts, Amps and Watts, but most of us don’t know the first thing about them – here’s a basic understanding of electricity’s key players, one piece at a time.

You know all about volts and amps from the first two posts in our series – so what do you get when you combine the two? You get power. Just as length is measured in inches, power is measured in watts. You’ve heard the term before, whether you were talking about light bulbs or your electric bill. Calculating the wattage of something is simple – you take the amps and multiply them by the volts.

  • Your iPad, which operates at 5V and 2A, is a 10 Watt (10W) device: 5V x 2A = 10W
  • Your 120W lightbulb is powered at 120V and 1A: 120V x 1A = 120W
  • Your toaster uses 15A at 120V: 120V x 15A = 1800W
Once you have the equation down, it’s simple to understand and calculate. Now that you know what amps, volts and watts are, we can get into how you apply this info to your electronics in Part 4!
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