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Symbolic representation of a bus: The thick line is the bus, which represents three wires. The slash through the bus arrow and the "3" means that the bus represents 3 wires.

An electrical bus (alternatively spelled "buss"), derived from busbar, is a common electrical connection between multiple electrical devices.

A bus can either allow signals to be transferred between devices, the summing (mixing) of output signals from the devices or the distribution of input signals or power amongst the devices. A bus often takes the form of a wire or printed circuit conductor that terminate at multiple connectors which allows the devices to be plugged into the bus.

  • Buses are used for connecting components of a computer: a common example is the PCI bus in PCs. See computer bus.
  • Buses are used for communicating between computers (often microprocessors). See computer bus.
  • Buses are used for distribution of electrical power to components of a system. The (usually) thick conductors used are called busbars. In an electrical laboratory, for example, a bare bus-bar will sometimes line the wall, to be used by the engineers and technicians for its high electric current-carrying capacity, which allows a convenient approximation to zero voltage, or ground in the US, and earth in the UK.
  • In analysis of an electric power network a "bus" is any node of the single-line diagram at which voltage, current, power flow, or other quantities are to be evaluated. These may or may not correspond with heavy electrical conductors at a substation.
  • In pro audio, "bus" refers to a place in the audio signal chain where one can hear a mix of different audio signals—usually at the output of a mixer, or as a separate sub-mix within the mixer (for example all of the microphones used to capture a drum kit). Sometimes it is used interchangeably with the noun "mix".

See also

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