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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Power | External Power ]

Electrical Power Basics

There are many PC users who don't know a lot about electricity or power at all. There's nothing wrong with this. I drive my car every day and have very little understanding of how anything inside it works; this is, to some extent, just the way our society is today. At the same time, though, if you really want to understand your PC's power issues, you have to have at least a basic understanding of electricity, how it works, its different types, and its fundamental characteristics.

Thick, heavy text books have been written on electrical power. I'm obviously not going to duplicate them here in a few pages. Nor, I would add, do I need to. The intent here is to help you, the PC enthusiast, learn enough about power to help you understand how PC power supplies and power protection equipment operate. The explanations here may not be as technically rigorous as those in a physics text, so I hope the university professors out there will go easy on me (though if anything is blatantly wrong, please do tell me!)

Note: This section covers electrical and power concepts from the ground up. If you are already versed on concepts such as voltage, current, resistance, work, power, conversion and inversion, you may want to skip directly to the section on electrical power problems.

Next: What Is Electricity?

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