Concept

# Output impedance

Summary
The output impedance of an electrical network is the measure of the opposition to current flow (impedance), both static (resistance) and dynamic (reactance), into the load network being connected that is internal to the electrical source. The output impedance is a measure of the source's propensity to drop in voltage when the load draws current, the source network being the portion of the network that transmits and the load network being the portion of the network that consumes. Because of this the output impedance is sometimes referred to as the source impedance or internal impedance. All devices and connections have non-zero resistance and reactance, and therefore no device can be a perfect source. The output impedance is often used to model the source's response to current flow. Some portion of the device's measured output impedance may not physically exist within the device; some are artifacts that are due to the chemical, thermodynamic, or mechanical properties of the source. This impedance can be imagined as an impedance in series with an ideal voltage source, or in parallel with an ideal current source (see: Series and parallel circuits). Sources are modeled as ideal sources (ideal meaning sources that always keep the desired value) combined with their output impedance. The output impedance is defined as this modeled and/or real impedance in series with an ideal voltage source. Mathematically, current and voltage sources can be converted to each other using Thévenin's theorem and Norton's theorem. In the case of a nonlinear device, such as a transistor, the term "output impedance" usually refers to the effect upon a small-amplitude signal, and will vary with the bias point of the transistor, that is, with the direct current (DC) and voltage applied to the device. The source resistance of a purely resistive device can be experimentally determined by increasingly loading the device until the voltage across the load (AC or DC) is one half of the open circuit voltage. At this point, the load resistance and internal resistance are equal.
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