#2 - Units of Measurement

What The Heck is a Gigawatt?

When dealing with electronics it’s important to have a basic understanding of the different prefixes that can be attached to various numbers. It’s one of the languages of the trade and you don’t want to be left in the dark. Don’t memorize any of the tables we’ve included on the page here. Just find one that’s in a format that you like and understand. Print it out and use it as a reference. Before long you’ll have memorized the ones you use most and you’ll know where to look up new ones you haven’t heard before.

Use the Right Prefix At the Right Time

As you go through the tables remember that any value can be represented with any of the prefixes.

10 milliseconds is the same as .010 seconds is the same as 10000 microseconds.

All you have to do is change the number before the prefix to “calibrate” the value. This is important because in the realm of electronics you will find some prefixes are favored over others when measuring certain things. For example, I’ve never seen 300 seconds written as 3 hectoseconds.

In the Resource list we’ve linked to several tables that express the various prefixes in a variety of ways. Find one that works for you and bookmark it or print it out for reference.


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