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Watts and Volt-Amps: Powerful Confusion


Many people are confused about the distinction between the Watt and Volt-Amp (VA) measures for UPS load sizing -- and many manufacturers of UPS and load equipment add to this confusion by failing to distinguish between these measures.

This white paper helps explain the differences between Watts and VA and explains how the terms are correctly and incorrectly used in specifying power protection equipment.


Neil Rasmussen Founder and the Chief Technical Officer, APC Neil Rasmussen is a founder and the Chief Technical Officer of American Power Conversion. At APC, Neil directs the world’s largest R&D budget devoted to Power, Cooling, and Rack infrastructure for critical networks, with principal product development centers in Massachusetts, Missouri, Denmark, Rhode Island, Taiwan, and Ireland. Neil is currently leading the effort at APC to develop modular scalable data center solutions. Prior to founding APC in 1981, Neil received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from MIT in electrical engineering where he did his thesis on the analysis of a 200MW power supply for a Tokamak Fusion reactor. From 1979 to 1981 he worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratories on flywheel energy storage systems and solar electric power systems.
Schneider Electric
01 Apr 2010
01 Jan 2003
5 Page(s)
White Paper

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