11 Important Electronic Load Terms

DC Electronic Load

Also known as a "dummy load," a DC electronic load is a testing device used to effectively simulate a direct current electrical load. DC electronic loads can be controlled electronically to provide different load currents. Many DC electronic loads are capable of displaying resistance, power, voltage and current in a DC system in real time.

Constant Current Mode

A setting on a DC electronic load that limits current on an output channel, which acts as a current source. Voltage level may rise or fall depending on the needs of the load.

Constant Voltage Mode

A setting on a DC electronic load that keeps voltage at a regular pre-set level regardless of other changes to the load. In other words, voltage is limited while current is not limited.

Current Regulation

The ability of a DC electronic load to keep current at a consistent level on an output channel during operation.

Derated Current

A function in which current is limited to less than the maximum power of the DC electronic load. Typically measured in volts or micro-volts.

Full Scale Current

The maximum current a load can output. Typically measured in amps.

Input Current/Voltage Rating

The rated capability of a DC power load, listed with maximum amps and a range of voltage. A typical input current/voltage rating might read 30A, 0.1V-500V.

Remote Sensing

A feature on some DC electronic loads that allows the measurement of voltage between two terminals that aren't located near the load input terminals.

Ripple and Noise

Ripple refers to the effect of partially-complete suppression of an AC power source, which creates periodic variation. Ripple and background noise can be constant problems when working with low-level DC systems.

Slew Rate

The rate of change between high and low levels of a power signal. On a DC electronic load, a high slew rate is considered to be advantageous and is measured in amps per second (A/s). Higher slew rates allow DC electronic loads to handle a wider range of functions.

Voltage Regulation

The ability of a DC electronic load to keep voltage at a consistent level throughout operation.