# What is 60 watts of voltage

## How can you explain the difference between watts and volts?

 Question from: Date: 13.11.2003

An eight year old student asked me to explain the difference between watts and volts. I'm looking for a very simple explanation for these two terms.

This child's question is not an easy one to answer. It is very difficult to define voltage or power in a simple way. I'll try once and you'll tell me if it's understandable.

• A 230V / 60W incandescent lamp that is built into a circuit with a 3V battery does not light up.
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• A 230V / 60W incandescent lamp that is connected to a socket via a cable, i.e. to the 230V power supply, lights up.
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• A 3.5V / 200mA light bulb (which corresponds to a power of 0.7W) that would be connected to the 230V power supply would be broken immediately (you shouldn't do that under any circumstances).
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• A 3.5V / 200mA light bulb that is built into a circuit with a 3V battery lights up.

What can we conclude from this? The voltage on an electrical device (in this case, a lightbulb) indicates how many volts this device will function properly (the applied voltage should be pretty much the same). The wattage on the device, on the other hand, indicates what the device can "deliver" or consume (from an electrical point of view).