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This question is meant to be a glossary of abbreviations used in electrical engineering.

Some abbreviations are very common and universal, and are therefore acceptable to use on this site. Others are quite localized or pet abbreviations used by individuals without a wide following, so are not acceptable on this site. One purpose of this question is to list all abbreviations so that others have a chance to decode them if encountered, but thru voting also show which ones are acceptable to use in a wide international context or not.

So here are some rules to make this question work:

  1. Each answer must only be for ONE abbreviation.

  2. This will be community wiki, so only ONE answer for each abbreviation. If you want to expand on a description, edit the existing answer for that abbreviation.

  3. This is going to get long, so consistant formatting will help. For each answer (abbreviation), start with just the abbreviation within HTML "h1" and "/h1" tags on a line by itself.

  4. Upvote answers for abbreviations you think would be acceptable to use in a post on this site without any expansion or explanation.

  5. Downvote abbreviations (answers) you think should not be used "bare" on this site. This will be community-wiki, so nobody will loose reputation as a result. In this special case, you are voting on the universality of the abbreviation, not on the quality of the writeup. If you don't like the write up, fix it instead.


INDEX

A - A(2) AC(7) ADC(15) ALU(3) AM(7) ASCII(12) ASIC(6) ASK(1) AWG(7)

B - BCD(5) BJT(16) BLDC(4) BNC(6) BPF(1) BW(3)

C - CAD(5) CAN(7) CC(1) CC-II(-1) CCCS(1) CCD(6) CMOS(16) CMRR(1) COG(0) CPLD(4) CPM(-1) CPU(7) CRO(-1)

D - DAC(15) DC(7) DEMUX(2) DFT(2) DIP(5) DLL(2) DMA(7) DRC(3) DSO(3) DSP(13) DTFT(0) DVD(-10) DVM/DMM(4)

E - ECL(4) EDA(6) EE(7) EEPROM(13) EMC(3) EMS(-7) EOS(0) EPROM(3) ESD(9)

F - F(2) FDNR(-3) FET(17) FFC(2) FFT(6) FIFO/LIFO(7) FM(7) FPGA(9) FSK(1) FSM(4)

G - GBW(5) GIC(-1) GND(16) GPIO(9) GPS(4)

H - H(2) HDTV(-11) HF(4) hFE(2) HPF(2) HVSP(-1) Hz(3)

I - i(-1) I/P(-7) I2S(1) IC(11) IF(4) IFT(1) IGBT(9) IGFET(0) ISP(4) I²C(13)

J - j(-1) JFET(10) JTAG(7)

K - KCL(6) KVL(6)

L - LCD(17) LED(19) LF(3) LPF(4) LSB, MSB(2) LUT(5) LVD(-1) LVDS(5) LVDT(0) LVS(-2)

M - MCU(6) MEMS(6) MIDI(4) MOSFET(17) MPU(-1) ms(2) MUX(6)

N - NEXT(-6) NPN(12) NTSC(0) NVM(0)

O - O/P(-7) OCXO(2) OLED(4) OP-AMP(8) OTA(3)

P - P-P(0) PAL (logic)(2) PAL (television)(0) PC(-1) PCB(17) PCBA(-5) PCM(4) PFM(-2) PIC(0) PID(9) PLL(9) PM(0) , duplicate(0) PNP(14) POR(3) PPM(-1) PSK(5) PUT(-1) PWM(24)

Q - QM(-6) QVGA(0)

R - RADAR(0) RAM(12) RF(5) RFID(6) RGB(4) RJ45(6) ROM(3) RTL (discrete logic)(2) RTL (Verilog)(2)

S - SAW(3) SCR(9) SD,SDHC(0) SDCC(-3) SMA(4) SMPS(9) SMT(5) SNR(5) SOC/SoC(5) SPI(13) SPICE(8) SRAM(6) SRPP(-2) STA(0)

T - TBH(-8) TCXO(2) THD(6) TRF(-1) TTL(10) TVS(4)

U - UART(12) UHF(4) UJT(0) UL(3) USART(4) USB(4)

V - V(2) VCA(1) VCC / VEE / VDD / VSS(14) VCCS(1) VCO(5) VCXO(3) VFD(3) VGA(-2) VHDL(7) VHF(5) VLSI(2) VNL,VFL(-1) VSWR(4)

W - W(2)

X - XO(1) XOR(3) XTAL(5)

Ω - Ω(0)

186 answers - Sun May 11 09:17:28 2014 (CET)

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BCD

Binary Coded Decimal.

The act or process of encoding decimal in a binary format, usually 0000 to 1001.

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MEMS

Micro ElectroMechanical Systems.

MEMS are devices that can fit into small sized packages, typically up to few millimeters wide, and implement electro-mechanical functions such as sensing or actuating.

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KCL, KVL

Kirchhoff's laws

Kirchhoff's Current Law: The sum of currents flowing into a node is zero.
In come countries this is referred to as 1st Kirchhoff's law.

Kirchhoff's Voltage Law: The sum of voltages around a loop is zero.
In come countries this is referred to as 2nd Kirchhoff's law.

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CAD

Computer-Aided Design (as in CAD/CAM)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This one's been repurposed from "Computer-Aided Drafting" \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Voigt May 1 '14 at 15:54
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GPS

Global Positioning System

but not Global Positioning Satellite

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Mmm this is kind of obvious, I'm not sure it's worth having it \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Apr 30 '14 at 21:40
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SMT

Surface mount technologies. Also written as SMD, for surface mount devices.

Components that are soldered directly to pads of exposed copper on circuit boards, instead of the traditional through hole, or wire wrapped construction methods.

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OLED

organic light-emitting diode

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USB

Universal Serial Bus

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SOC/SoC

System On a Chip

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SMA

SubMiniture version A - a subminiture RF coaxial connector

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GBW

Gain Bandwidth Product. The product of an amplifier's gain and its open loop bandwidth is commonly considered constant. When an amplifier is configured for high gain, the bandwidth will be reduced and the other way around.

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ISP

In System Programming, also referred to as ICSP -- In Circuit System Programming

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DVM/DMM

Digital Volt Meter / Digital Multimeter; A DVM measures only voltage, while a DMM includes (at least) current and resistance. May be used interchangeably.

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BLDC

Brushless Direct Current (DC) Motor

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I personally don't care for this abbreviation, but I see it often. \$\endgroup\$ – JYelton May 1 '14 at 3:52
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LUT

Look Up Table: a component in FPGA, or a part of software program.

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PSK

Phase Shift Keying. Simple modulation method used for digital communications

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RF

Short for Radio frequency. (3 kHz ~ 300 GHz)

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VCO

Voltage Controlled Oscillator. An oscillator which its frequency can be controlled with an input voltage.

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XTAL

Piezoelectric crystal (quartz)

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VHF

Very High Frequency radio (30 MHz ~ 300 MHz). Today the terms "low", "medium", "high", etc, are not very meaningful relative to the radio spectrum in common use. However, these terms have evolved somewhat standard meanings from historical context, so now are just used to refer to certain radio bands. See other terms like ELF, VLF, LF, HF, UHF, etc.

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USART

Universal Synchronous/Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter. Usually used to describe a microcontroller peripheral that can be configured to be used as a UART, but also to implement one or more synchronous serial protocols (like SPI and I2C, for example).

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XOR

exclusive-or

Boolean logic function. Returns true if any input is different from another input.

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FSM

Finite State Machine, can be either Mealy or Moore style

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DRC

Design Rule Checking or Check(s)

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RGB

Red Green Blue, an additive color model

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PCM

pulse-code modulation

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CPLD

complex programmable logic device

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ECL

Emitter coupled logic, a fast BJT logic family. Also related: NECL -- negative emitter coupled logic and PECL -- positive emitter coupled logic

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TVS

Transient Voltage Suppression diode

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Hz

Hertz - one cycle per second

kHz

Kilohertz - one thousand (103) cycles per second

MHz

Megahertz - one million (106) cycles per second

GHz

Gigahertz - one billion (109) cycles per second

THz

Terahertz - one trillion (1012) cycles per second

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Should be only one abbreviation per answer. I think the units are useful but the metric prefixes are not necessary \$\endgroup\$ – Gorloth May 1 '14 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Gorloth I disagree. Firwt of all, I'm trying to show commonly used prefixes (e.g. millihertz is not used). Secondly, this allows just one entry in the index for H (Hertz), and a user can come to this entry to see all the variations. Otherwise you are going to glog the index with all the prefixes (which I think are important). Note this has gotten quite a few votes in its present form. \$\endgroup\$ – tcrosley May 1 '14 at 20:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want commonly used values it seems like it would be sufficient to mention that in the description (Hz - hertz a unit of cycles per second, commonly used in kHz to Thz ranges) seems that metric prefixes are not really EE specific, maybe an edit to make the unit vs prefix distinction more clear, not sure how to best do that though \$\endgroup\$ – Gorloth May 2 '14 at 0:57
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