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Orders of magnitude (current)

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Title: Orders of magnitude (current)  
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Subject: Orders of magnitude (illuminance), Orders of magnitude (resistance), Orders of magnitude (luminance), Macroscopic scale, Quantum realm
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Orders of magnitude (current)

To help compare different orders of magnitude, the following list describes various ampere levels.

Factor (ampere) Value Item
10−19 160 zA Current flow of one electron per second
10−12 1-15 pA Range of currents associated with single ion channels [calcium (1 pA), sodium (10-14 pA), potassium (6 pA)] as measured by patch-clamp studies of biological membranes
10−5 10 μA Minimum current necessary to cause death (by ventricular fibrillation when applied directly across the human heart)[1]
10−4 0.7 mA Portable hearing aid (typically 1 mW at 1.4 V)
10−3 1 – 5 mA Cathode ray tube electron gun beam current[2]
10−2 10 mA Through the hand to foot may cause a person to freeze and be unable to let go[1]
20 mA Common light-emitting diode (constant current),
also deadly limit for skin contact (at 120–230 V)
80 mA Upper limit for TENS modeled for 500 Ω[3]
10−1 150 mA 230 V AC, 22-inch/56-centimeter portable television (35 W)
166 mA Typical 12 V motor vehicle instrument panel light
250 – 450 mA 230 V AC Tungsten incandescent light bulb (60–100 W)
290 mA 120 V AC, 22-inch/56-centimeter portable television (35 W)
500 – 830 mA 120 V AC Tungsten incandescent light bulb (60–100 W)
100 1.35 A Tesla coil, 0.76 meters (2 ft 6 in) high, at 200 kV and 270 kV peak.[4]
2.1 A High power LED current (peak 2.7 A)[5]
5 A One typical 12 V motor vehicle headlight (typically 60 W)
9 A 230 V AC, Toaster, kettle (2 kW)
101 10 or 20 A 230 V AC, Europe common domestic circuit breaker rating
15 or 20 A 120 V AC, United States, Canada and Mexico domestic circuit breaker rating
16.6 A 120 V AC, Toaster, kettle (2 kW)
20 A 230 V AC, Immersion heater (4.6 kW)
24 A 12V DC, PC, High-performance graphics card (288W)
38.3 A 120 V AC, Immersion heater (4.6 kW)
102 80-160 A Typical 12 V motor vehicle starter motor (typically 1–2 kW)
166 A 400 V low voltage secondary side distribution transformer with primary 12 kV ; 200 kVA (up to 1000 kVA also common).[6]
103 2 kA 10.5 kV secondary side from an electrical substation with primary 115 kV ; 63 MVA.[7]
9.3 kA 2.7V, Ultracapacitor short circuit current[8]
104 25 kA Lorentz force can crusher pinch[9]
105 100 kA low range of Birkeland current that creates Earth's aurorae
140 kA “Sq” current of one daytime vortex within the ionospheric dynamo region
106 1 MA high range of Birkeland current
5 MA Flux tube between Jupiter and Io (moon)[10]
27 MA Sandia National Laboratories, Z machine firing current since 2007
256 MA VNIIEF laboratories (Russia) current produced in explosive flux compression generator
109 3 GA Total current in Sol's heliospheric current sheet.
1018 3×1018 A Current of 2kpc segment of 50kpc-long radio jet of the Seyfert galaxy 3C 303.[11]
1025 3.479×1025 A Planck current


  1. ^ a b - Tesla coils safety information, 2003-03-30
  2. ^ - TV and Monitor CRT (Picture Tube) Information, 2008-09-24
  3. ^ - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (T.E.N.S.) unit for pain management and replacement electrodes., read 2012-06-11
  4. ^ - Modeled and Actual Voltage and Current Waveforms within aTesla Coil, 1998-12-22
  5. ^ - OCC-N010S01A - XXXX, Optogan X10 High Power COB Family, read 2012-06-14
  6. ^ - Technical Specification for 200-500 kVA, page 3
  7. ^ - BtB Plaza - The Transformer Marketplace - SIEMENS 63 MVA, 115/10.5 kV GSU, read 2012-06-20
  8. ^ Datasheet for the capacitor
  9. ^ - The PowerLabs Solid State Can Crusher!, 2002
  10. ^
  11. ^ - Measurement of the Electric Current in a Kpc-Scale Jet

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