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Do we need tags for supply voltages?

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Someone just created the tags 208VAC and 230VAC. If think we need to create a policy about tag usage related to supply voltages.

Clearly, stating the supply voltage is highly relevant information in most questions. However, stating it in the form of a tag may not be ideal.

  • Should we have tags for certain supply voltage levels?
  • If we should have tags for supply voltage levels, then which ones should we allow? Industry standards such as 3.3V, 5V, 12V, 24V, 48V, 110V, 220V, 230V? Possibly in combination with dc/ac or vdc/vac?
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2 answers

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I'll venture the opinion that tags should convey relevant information and function to separate questions based on relevant expertise. (The latter is the "I am an expert in tag-name" test from Elsewhere. If that sounds like something no reasonable subject matter expert would say, then it probably is not good as a tag. "I am an expert in MOSFETs" sounds like something someone might legitimately say; "I am an expert in UHF-circuit-design", sure; "I am an expert in frequency", perhaps not so much.)

Whether a circuit is designed for 3.3 volts or 400 volts is a relevant distinction to make.

Whether it's designed for 3.3 volts or 5 volts, or for 380 volts or 400 volts, is not as relevant as a distinction for the purpose of question categorization.

Someone qualified to answer questions about low-voltage (say, 3.3 volts) circuits might not be qualified to answer questions about high-voltage (say, 2000 volts) circuits. On the flip side, someone looking for answers pertaining to high-voltage circuits might not be helped by answers about low-voltage circuits.

I can see some value in separating DC and AC designs, since there are some aspects that need considering in one that doesn't need as much (or any at all) consideration in the other.

I also see significant value in falling back on some kind of internationally recognized standard, rather than coming up with a set of voltage ranges that only applies on Electrical Engineering Codidact.

I therefore propose adopting the IEC 61140 voltage ranges:

  • Extra low voltage: <50 V rms (AC) or <120 V (DC)
  • Low voltage: higher than extra low voltage, but ≤1000 V rms (AC) or ≤1500 V (DC)
  • High voltage: >1000 V rms (AC) or >1500 V (DC)

as well as separating AC and DC.

This would give six tags, which could be named:

  • extra-low-voltage-ac, extra-low-voltage-dc
  • low-voltage-ac, low-voltage-dc
  • high-voltage-ac, high-voltage-dc

Naming them thus also has the advantage that searching for "volt" or "voltage" will find all of them. The brief tag excerpt probably should mention the voltage range for each in some kind of harmonized format, to allow telling them apart easily in the tag list.

Questions that deal with both AC and DC, or multiple voltages, might need more than one of those tags. For example, a question about PC power supply design might be tagged low-voltage-ac extra-low-voltage-ac extra-low-voltage-dc to cover all of the voltages involved (to the extent that all of them are actually relevant to the question, of course).

Negative voltages do not need special tags, since that's just a matter of which reference is used. If the fact that the specific choice of reference level results in a negative value is important for the specific question, that distinction can be made within the question itself.

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2 comment threads

Low voltage (2 comments)
Makes sense, but it'll be a thing that needs explaining, again and again... (1 comment)
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I agree that "208VAC" and "230VAC" are too specific to be useful.

I tried to edit the post to remove them. There is apparently a bug in the system. While I removed both tags from the post, one of them still shows. However, when I go to edit the post again, that tag is not there, so I can't remove it. Wierd. I'll wait a while since maybe something in the database has to settle. If the zombie tag is still there later, I'll report this as a bug in main meta.


Canina said:

Might that editing glitch somehow be related to https://meta.codidact.com/posts/284210 which I encountered a while ago?

Thanks, that does look like a related problem. I added my bug report there as an answer instead of creating a new question to keep all the symptom descriptions in one place.

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