A CDE Definition
The measurement of electrical power that is computed by multiplying volts times amps. In a DC circuit, volt-amps (VA) and watts are the same because DC circuits do not add inductance and capacitance that take away power. In AC devices, volt-amps ratings are higher than watts. For example, in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), the volt-amps rating is approximately 60% higher than the actual wattage. See watt.
The standard unit of measurement of electrical power. One watt is one ampere of current flowing at one volt. Watts are typically rated as AMPS x VOLTS or VOLT-AMP (V-A). However, this rating is only equivalent to watts when it applies to devices that absorb all the energy, such as electric heating coils or incandescent light bulbs. With computer power supplies, the actual watt rating is only 60% to 70% of the VOLT-AMP rating.
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