Non-linear loads

edited May 2020 in Power System

Can someone please help me understand what exactly is a non-linear load? I guess it has to do something with the noise that is encountered in electronic equipment such as computers, electronic ballasts, etc. most loads i think are linear. please clarify.


  • AC electrical loads are classified as linear and non-linear. Here, linear load means the current is proportional to voltage (Ohm's law) at any time and the relationship between current and voltage are sinusoidal. Examples of linear load are ideal resistors, transformers etc.

    On the other hand, in case of non-linear loads, the current is not proportional to voltage. The current fluctuates depending upon the alternating load impedance. Here, the impedance changes with the applied voltage. The current waveform in non-linear loads contain different components that are multiples of fundamental frequency of the system. These components are called harmonics.

    Examples of non-linear loads are computers, electronic ballasts, refrigerators, variable speed drives, rectifiers etc.

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