Electrical and Electronic Abbreviations

Thread Starter

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
14,725
hi,
Some of the electrical and electronic abbreviations that we use on a daily basis are so limited in their meaning, that we are constantly having to explain their usage.

It would be interesting to hear other members opinions and views on whether we should introduce some additional abbreviations.

Eric

DRAFT:

AC Alternating Current.
The current changes direction in the conducting path.

AV Alternating Voltage.
The voltage changes polarity wrt to 0V.

DC Direct Current.
The current always flows in the same direction in the conducting path.

DV Direct Voltage.
The voltage polarity and amplitude is constant wrt to 0v

MV Modulated Voltage.
The polarity of the Voltage is constant wrt 0v.
The amplitude of the voltage varies with time.

CV Constant Voltage.
The polarity and amplitude of the voltage wrt 0V is constant.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,272
How about the word 'Ground' and its companion symbol?
Both are used indiscriminately, the first confusing, the second used outside of its defined context.
Should be no need to add any explanation IMO when used according to its definition, which is the idea in the first place.
Here is a good lecture on the subject by Dr Bruce Archambeault.
https://ieeetv.ieee.org/technology/the-ground-myth
Max.
 
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Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,483
Although providing 'official' definitions of terms/abbreviations is a laudable aim, I don't think it will make the slightest difference to how posters use the abbreviations in practice. Joe Public will carry on doing things his way.
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,272
Although providing 'official' definitions of terms/abbreviations is a laudable aim, I don't think it will make the slightest difference to how posters use the abbreviations in practice. Joe Public will carry on doing things his way.
Probabally those 'that have always done it this way' but there are quite a few newbies to the art that may get the message.
Max.
 

hexreader

Joined Apr 16, 2011
542
IMHO...

AC - fine - has been used for centuries and is fairly well understood (if occasionally misused)

AV - No, No, No - what has Audio Visual got to do with anything. - why add to the current (pun) state of confusion?
Doesn't Volts AC already do that job?

DC - fine - as AC

DV - why do that? - what does it add? dV/dt? Digital Video? - No, just leave it alone.
Doesn't Volts DC already do that job? - possibly DC Volts?

MV - Mega-Volts - sounds dangerous

CV - fine - constant Voltage - Already well established for PSUs and little else.

If we could just persuade Donald Trump to submit to SI units (when Hell freezes over) that would be a start. But can't throw stones in the greenhouse when us Brits still drive at 70MPH on motorways using up fuel at the rate of 40 MPG, whilst buying the same fuel in litres.

Bonkers!!!

Where many miss out is when they run their microprocessors at 10mhz instead of 10MHz, and wonder why everything runs a billion times slower than it could :)

Seems to me that if you can get yourself onto the SI committee and persuade them to adopt new standard (and hopefully unambiguous) units, then the world gets better for it. Adding spurious standards on top of SI standards seems like a backwards step.

There still remains the barrier of getting the whole world to adopt SI units (or some other standard - but JUST ONE standard) - but politics forbids...

...must get back to ordering a set of Japanese spanners so I can fix my old Yamaha motorbike :)
 
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MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,272
...must get back to ordering a set of Japanese spanners so I can fix my old Yamaha motorbike :)
I am still on a crusade here to get bars and restaurants who typically advertise beer as a 'Pint' but it rarely is, to serve something other such as a US pint or something other, but never the right one.
It is actually a Canadian federal regulation but no one enforces it.:rolleyes:
Canada really needed the imperial conversion to metric.
Max.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,324
Like many of those here my career in electronics began quite some time ago. Actually I began with learning vacuum tubes or for my friends across the pond valves. My introduction to ohms law began with E and E representing voltage or the unit of electro motive force. Now we fast forward about 40 years. Maybe a year before I retired I was in a conference room with one of our newer engineers, a really bright kid. We were marking up a drawing when he looked at me and asked why I was using the letter E as in E = where I was denoting voltage, why not a V? I smiled and told him I learned it as an E and just never broke the habit. What's interesting is he knew exactly what my markup meant but couldn't understand why I kept using the letter E. The idea being it really mattered not what letter I used because we both took it to mean the same thing.

The electronics field is constantly evolving and has evolved to the point new students have specialties within the field. This is a little like there was a time when MD following your name simply meant Medical Doctor but those days are long over as medical doctors have their own specialties.

AV Alternating Voltage.
The voltage changes polarity wrt to 0V.

I just use ACV (Alternating Current Voltage)

DV Direct Voltage.
The voltage polarity and amplitude is constant wrt to 0v

I just use DCV (Direct Current Voltage).

When I was a kid starting out in ham radio we were fortunate to have a wide variety of WW II surplus available, radio dials labeled in Kilo Mega Cycles nothing labeled in Giga let alone Giga Hertz since we just assumed a cycle to be one cycle per second. The Hertz came along later. So go figure? :)

Don't even get me started on some of the US units of measure.

Ron
 

hexreader

Joined Apr 16, 2011
542
By the way... MV is already an Si unit

giving it a second meaning really does not help.

1MV = 1000000000000000000000000000 zeptovolts :)
 

Thread Starter

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
14,725
hi Max, Ron,
Thanks for the positive comments

hexreader
I am fully aware that some of the abbreviations are in common use and have been so for a long time, but does that mean we should have to continue to explain abbreviations in our text.

I am not suggesting changes to the SI system or getting President Trump involved, US units of measure, vehicle speeds or any other irrelevant topics.

It is unfortunate you felt it necessary to ridicule a suggested idea for discussing ways that would try to help clarify the meaning of these abbreviations.

It would be interesting to hear any constructive points you may have, but please try to stay focussed on the topic.

Eric
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,324
Something I try to do is when replying to a new post is initially avoid abbreviations. For example based on what a thread starter may say can give an idea of their experience or level. I may sat "how many DI (Digital In) channels do you have. Then as I cover things I will just use DI after using the abbreviation. We also have and use abbreviations in electronics which use the same letters in other fields. POI was recently used which referenced Power Over Internet but in my world it is also Point Of Aim. Anyway I like to include at least one good reference explaining an abbreviation in my post just to eliminate doubt.
<EDIT>
I posted this and moved along and here is a good example. IOT we assume is the great new buzz phrase Internet Of Things? The thread starter seems to just assume everyone reading his post knows what IOT is.
</EDIT>

Ron
 

Thread Starter

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
14,725
Hi Ron,
I have been using a similar method, using an abbreviation and adding in brackets the expanded version.
I guess its one way of being sure the reader gets the meaning.
On a recent/current thread regarding driving a MOSFET there was a another debate on the 'intended' meaning of AC in the context of PWM.
Thats what got me thinking, surely there must be some way of using abbreviations which are not ambiguous.

Then there is the point that @MaxHeadRoom raised, Earth, Ground, Common meaning, there are endless queries from Wannabes regarding these definitions.

Eric
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,272
Then there is the point that @MaxHeadRoom raised, Earth, Ground, Common meaning, there are endless queries from Wannabes regarding these definitions.
Eric
Having got much of my experience from growing up in the UK I am still accustomed to using the term Earth for a earth grounded conductor.
For the rest, in any documentation,schematics etc, I never use the Earth symbol for anything but a circuit that is actually connected to earth GND.
In electronic schematics etc, I always use the term 'Common' together with the appropriate symbol.
Max.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
6,324
I saw that thread and after reading through it figured I was not going to jump into the pond. :) Yes, Max brought up some very good points and ground and ground symbols pop up frequently. I see as I took the dogs out Max has also commented.

Ron
 

hexreader

Joined Apr 16, 2011
542
@ericgibbs

Apologies that my post came across as ridicule. It was not intended that way.

I thought I was on topic, and I really do wish USA would convert to Si, and that Britain would finish converting to Si.

I guess I am a typical technician in that I communicate poorly.

I will try to stick to simpler messages in future
 

Thread Starter

ericgibbs

Joined Jan 29, 2010
14,725
hi @hexreader
I would agree that it would make our engineering calculations more rational if the States did adopt SI units.

I did my engineering studies using the British Imperial units and LSD, woops another abbrev.! [ for our US cousins thats Pounds Shillings and Pence] not the happy stuff.
When the changeover to Metric came in the late 1960's it was a breath of fresh air.

Ref the Japanese screw sizes, I worked for Mitsubishi, I know what you mean.

Eric
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
24,272
Having been brought up on Whitworth, BSF, BA, US, and the rest the Metric conversion was great.
I particularly like it for drills and taps.:cool:
Max.
 
Interesting topic and kudos to @ericgibbs for taking on the task (or at least considering doing so).

I read the thread and I tried to pay particular attention to the intended purpose. That's probably always a good idea, but particularly so for me in this case since I am not an EE.

"Some of the electrical and electronic abbreviations that we use on a daily basis are so limited in their meaning, that we are constantly having to explain their usage." [post #1]

That means, to me, that the definitions of some of the abbreviations (used regularly in the posts) would benefit by elaboration such that the abbreviation could be used with greater specificity, if the "enhanced" definition were available in some centralized location. The advantage, then, would be to avoid having to repeatedly provide the enhanced definition. OK, I think I follow.

"It would be interesting to hear other members opinions and views on whether we should introduce some additional abbreviations.". [post #1]

That is a little confusing, unless I interpret it to mean that it is not just the abbreviation, but the enhanced meaning of the abbreviation. So, with that qualifier, I think that I am still following.

"I am fully aware that some of the abbreviations are in common use and have been so for a long time, but does that mean we should have to continue to explain abbreviations in our text." [post #11]

OK, I think I get that. On that point, I think that identical abbreviations that are easily distinguished by context are not problematic. CV meaning "curriculum vitae" versus CV meaning "constant voltage" are just not going to be confused very often. There may be case, where the electronic abbreviations could be confused and that is a point, but not your central one.

So, I thought about it in practice with an eye toward ascertaining if what I think you are proposing is feasible and worthwhile (with respect to the effort required).

I searched the forum for "modulated voltage", which is one of therms in post #1. I received a number of hits with various degrees of relevance, but the top hit https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/meas-rmsv-of-modulated-dc.148195/#post-1264265 is an interesting example.

At first, I thought, @PeteHL did a pretty good job of an operational definition of a modulated DC voltage. But, by the end of the thread (and I admit that I did not spend a great deal of time reading) I was a bit confused about whether this was a modulated DC voltage or a modulated AC voltage.

My point is that it may be the case that a centralized definition will only work in the case of terms that can be defined clearly and easily. In other cases, use of the term by abbreviation may be too cumbersome. For terms with more complicated definitions, further explanation may be unavoidable.

That is just an opinion from a non-EE.

BTW: I once mistakenly used the abbreviation CO for a contracting officer. The appropriate abbreviation is KO (a lesson I learned quickly). CO is a reserved definition (US Gov and Mil folks will understand that) ;)
 
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