# brownout

#### Fiamma.1981

##### New Member
Hi everyone!
Does someone know the exact difference between "blackout" and "brownout"? Thanks.

• #### Old Novice

##### Senior Member
Blackouts are when you lose power entirely. Brownouts are when demand is so high relative to capacity that the engineers cannot maintain the level of delivered power at its desired state. The lights dim, or go "brown" rather than "black."

#### foxfirebrand

##### Senior Member
He definitely didn't. It's the wattage that drops (as it's been explained to me-- I couldn't swear by it), not the voltage. I understand brownouts are a way of life in California during what they call air-conditioning season.

Nowadays I'll bet Californians are calling summer exactly what we call it in Montana-- Fire Season.
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#### Kajjo

##### Senior Member
During a brownout the actual voltage is below the required, normal voltage, usually due to a too high power demand which cannot be satisfied temporarily.

Kajjo

#### foxfirebrand

##### Senior Member
During a brownout the actual voltage is below the required, normal voltage, usually due to a too high power demand which cannot be satisfied temporarily.
Well, now I have two explanations. I'm waiting for the third shoe to drop, and someone come along to say no, it's the amperage that's insufficient. I wish I could remember what I "learned" about the way those three aspects of electricity interrelate.
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#### Kelly B

##### Senior Member
Watts = volts x amps, so if voltage is reduced, so is the wattage. Wattage is analogous to power.

Here's where I'm a little fuzzy... I'm almost sure the amperage is a function of the load you put on the system. That'll go down with voltage too, but it's an effect, not a cause.

Edit - except that the brownout is probably caused by excess loads to begin with, which brings us full circle, I suppose.

#### maxiogee

##### Banned
Just put it down to "insufficient resources" ffb.

#### Kajjo

##### Senior Member
Explanation of Wikipedia. (Reduced voltage)
Energy glossary of the Goverment of California. (Reduced voltage)

Kajjo

#### panjandrum

##### Lapsed Moderator
Surely you all know what happens when the battery in your torch or the battery in your portable drill is coming to the end of its natural life?
As soon as you put too much load on the supply, the bulb dims, the drill slows down.
Brownout.