# Units of measurement

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A Sanwa YX360TRF analog multimeter.
Units of measurement commonly used in electronics can be very large or very small.

## Converting between units

In the metric system instead of using a lot of zeros the quantity is given a metric prefix. Converting from one unit to another is done by simply moving the decimal point.

Common metric prefixes used in electronics.
Prefix Base 10 Decimal English word
Name Symbol
giga G 1 x 109 1,000,000,000 billion
mega M 1 x 106 1,000,000 million
kilo k 1 x 103 1,000 thousand
hecto h 1 x 102 100 hundred
deca da 1 x 101 10 ten
1 x 100 1 one
deci d 1 x 10-1 0.1 tenth
centi c 1 x 10-2 0.01 hundredth
milli m 1 x 10-3 0.001 thousandth
micro µ 1 x 10-6 0.000 001 millionth
nano n 1 x 10-9 0.000 000 001 billionth
pico p 1 x 10-12 0.000 000 000 001 trillionth

## The most common SI units in electronics

There are other SI units in electronics, this is a list only of those most likely to come up in practical experiments. The units with capitalised symbols are named after significant people.

The metre (m)
The unit of length. In the USA and Phillipines spelt meter. Usually in use as decimal fractions of a metre, as centimetres (cm) or as millimetre (mm) and fractions of mm e.g. stripboard holes are spaced at 2.54 mm intervals.
The ampere or amp (A)
The unit of electric current. Usually used in amps or milliamp (mA) e.g. a 780x voltage regulator rated at one amp.
The volt (V)
The unit for electric potential. Measure differently for DC or AC but in the range of volts and millivolts (mV) e.g. a 9 V PP3 battery.
Ohms (Ω)
The unit of electrical resistance. In electronics also with the symbol R. As resistors usually encountered in ohms through kilohms to megaohms, often with the unit instead of the decimal point. e.g. 4R7 for 4.7 ohm or 1k5 for 1.5 kilohm.
The watt (W)
A unit of power. Most often measures of milliwatt e.g. a laser pointer outputs about five milliwatts of light power. Audio signals and other electronic signal levels are often measured in dBm, referenced to one milliwatt.