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A load bank is a device which develops an electrical load, applies the load to an electrical power source and converts or dissipates the resultant power output of the source. A load bank includes load elements with protection, control, metering and accessory devices required for operation. Load banks can either be permanently installed at a facility and permanently connected to a power source or portable versions can be used for testing power sources such as standby generators and batteries. Load banks are the best way to replicate, prove and verify the real-life demands on critical power systems.
The three most common types of load banks are resistive, inductive, and capacitive. Both inductive and capacitive loads create what is known as reactance in an AC circuit. Reactance is a circuit element's opposition to an alternating current, caused by the buildup of electric or magnetic fields in the element due to the current and is the "imaginary" component of impedance, or the resistance to AC signals at a certain frequency. Capacitive reactance is equal to 1/(2 . f . c), and inductive reactance is equal to 2 . f . l. The unit of reactance is the ohm. Inductive reactance resists the change to current, causing the circuit current to lag voltage. Capacitive reactance resists the change to voltage, causing the circuit current to lead voltage.