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nominal current

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Nominal current is a term used in electrical engineering to refer to the expected or standard operating current of an electrical device or circuit. It is often used interchangeably with rated current, but there can be subtle differences between the two terms.

Here's a table summarizing the difference between nominal current, rated current and full load current:



Nominal Current

Expected or standard operating current

Rated Current

Maximum current a device can carry continuously without exceeding its temperature rating

Full Load Current

Current drawn by a device when it is operating at its rated capacity

In general, the nominal current is the value that is most commonly used in specifications and documentation. It is the current that the device is designed to operate at under normal conditions. The rated current, on the other hand, is the maximum current that the device can safely carry. It is important to never exceed the rated current of a device, as this can lead to overheating and damage.

Here are some examples of how nominal current is used:

  • The nominal current of a light bulb might be 1 amp. This means that the bulb is designed to draw 1 amp of current when it is lit.
  • The nominal current of a fuse might be 10 amps. This means that the fuse is designed to blow if the current exceeds 10 amps.
  • The nominal current of a circuit breaker might be 20 amps. This means that the circuit breaker will trip if the current exceeds 20 amps.