The magnitude of a sine wave signal voltage can be specified by
giving its peak-to-peak value.
This method of describing the
potential between the signal's positive and negative voltage peaks.
For example, the sine wave voltage shown in figure 3-1 of this lesson
booklet swings 3 volts in a positive direction and 3 volts in a
between the positive and negative peaks. The alternating voltage in
figure 3-1 is therefore referred to as being a 6-volt peak-to-peak
A 6-volt peak-to-peak sine wave voltage.
DISTORTED SINE WAVES
If a sine wave voltage is distorted, i.e., if it does not swing
to an equal peak in both the positive and negative direction, then a
single peak reference, such as 6 volts peak to peak, does not fully
describe the signal.
To avoid this limitation in the use of the
peak-to-peak designation, this definition is made: any peak-to-peak
voltage mentioned in this subcourse is assumed to be an undistorted
sine wave swinging to an equal peak magnitude in both the positive
and negative directions.