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 700μA Portable hearing aid (typically 1 mW at 1.4 V)
10−3 1 – 5mA Cathode ray tube electron gun beam current[2]
10−2 10mA Through the hand to foot may cause a person to freeze and be unable to let go[1]
20mA Common light-emitting diode (constant current); also deadly limit for skin contact (at 120–230 V)
80mA Upper limit for TENS modeled for 500 Ω[3]
10−1 150mA 230 V AC, 22-inch/56-centimeter portable television (35 W)
166mA Typical 12 V motor vehicle instrument panel light
250 – 450mA 230 V AC Tungsten incandescent light bulb (60–100 W)
290mA 120 V AC, 22-inch/56-centimeter portable television (35 W)
500 – 830mA 120 V AC Tungsten incandescent light bulb (60–100 W)
100 1.35A Tesla coil, 0.76 meters (2 ft 6 in) high, at 200 kV and 270 kV peak[4]
2.1A High power LED current (peak 2.7 A)[5]
5A One typical 12 V motor vehicle headlight (typically 60 W)
9A 230 V AC, toaster, kettle (2 kW)
101 10 or 20A 230 V AC, Europe common domestic circuit breaker rating
15 or 20A 120 V AC, United States, Canada and Mexico domestic circuit breaker rating
16.6A 120 V AC, toaster, kettle (2 kW)
20A 230 V AC, Immersion heater (4.6 kW)
24A 12V DC, PC, High-performance graphics card (288W)
38.3A 120 V AC, Immersion heater (4.6 kW)
102 80-160A Typical 12 V motor vehicle starter motor (typically 1–2 kW)
166A 400 V low voltage secondary side distribution transformer with primary 12 kV; 200 kVA (up to 1000 kVA also common)[6]
103 2kA 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]
30 kA Typical lightning strike
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
180 kA Typical current used in electric arc furnace for ferroalloys[10]
106 1 MA High range of Birkeland current
5 MA Flux tube between Jupiter and Io (moon)[11]
26 MA Sandia National Laboratories, Z machine approximate firing current[12] since 2007
256MA VNIIEF laboratories (Russia) current produced in explosive flux compression generator
109 3 GA Total current in Sol's heliospheric current sheet
1018 3 EA Current of 2kpc segment of 50kpc-long radio jet of the Seyfert galaxy 3C 303[13]
1025 34.79 YA Planck current


  1. ^ a b pupman.com - Tesla coils safety information, 2003-03-30
  2. ^ repairfaq.ece.drexel.edu - TV and Monitor CRT (Picture Tube) Information, 2008-09-24
  3. ^ debmar.com - Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (T.E.N.S.) unit for pain management and replacement electrodes., read 2012-06-11
  4. ^ capturedlightning.org - Modeled and Actual Voltage and Current Waveforms within aTesla Coil, 1998-12-22
  5. ^ optogan.com - OCC-N010S01A - XXXX, Optogan X10 High Power COB Family, read 2012-06-14
  6. ^ pgvcl.com - Technical Specification for 200-500 kVA Archived 2012-06-17 at the Wayback Machine, page 3
  7. ^ btbplaza.com - BtB Plaza - The Transformer Marketplace - SIEMENS 63 MVA, 115/10.5 kV GSU, read 2012-06-20
  8. ^ Datasheet for the capacitor
  9. ^ powerlabs.org - The PowerLabs Solid State Can Crusher!, 2002
  10. ^ "High-current industrial transformers", Siemens AG, accessed 2017-11-23
  11. ^ http://ase.tufts.edu/cosmos/view_picture.asp?id=1174
  12. ^ "About Z". Sandia National Laboratories. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  13. ^ Kronberg, Philipp P.; Lovelace, Richard V. E.; Lapenta, Giovanni; Colgate, Stirling A. (2011). "Measurement of the Electric Current in a Kpc-Scale Jet". arXiv:1106.1397.

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