600VA vs. 1000VA - What does it mean?


Active Member
I was just about to order my first X-10 wall switch but I ran into a question I dunno the answer to.

There's 2 Lightolier switches that seems to be exactly the same except that one is rated at 600VA and the other at 1000VA.

I'm guess that VA is VoltAmps, but I haven't a clue what that means. Where would 600VA be exceptable vs. the 1000VA and vice versa?


Senior Member
In simple terms (especially for standard incadescent light bulbs), a VA is equal to a Watt. So the smaller switch can control 600 watts and the larger switch can control 1000 watts maximum.

Computer equipment, audio/visual equiment, etc gets away from the 1 VA = 1 Watt rule due to a thing called a power factor. UPS's have their load capacity expressed in VA.


Waaaaaaay cool Wayne!

Another fact handy to know is that Power (Expressed in Watts) equalls Voltage (in Volts) times Current (in Amps). OR:

P = V * I

This is handy because sometimes you need to know the total current (especially when an item is expressed in the amount of "current" it can handle).

So for instance if you have a 60 Watt lightbulb in a 120 Volt system the amount of current it would draw is 0.5 Amps.


Active Member
Ok, that makes sense.

I really should've remembered W=V*I, I haven't been out of school for that long.

Thanks for the quick responses guys.