All posts tagged ac power

AC and DC Power: What You Need to Know

DC power, which stands for direct current, involves the flowing of an electrical current in a singular direction. This was developed by Thomas Edison and became the standard for America’s earliest foray into electricity. Unfortunately, the inability of DC power to be simply converted into higher or lower voltages sparked the need for alternative solutions. Nikola Tesla as a result created AC power, which means alternating current. AC can be changed to different voltages more effortlessly with the use of a transformer. This is because the current alternates and reverses direction sixty times each second.

A battle of currents erupted from the creators of these rivaling electrical sources. The conflict was due to the fact that both inventors wanted to be credited for assisting in the future electrical infrastructure in America and receive any royalties that may involve. The war reached a turning point when a renowned industrialist from Pittsburgh, George Westinghouse, purchased Tesla’s patents for AC transmissions and motors. Westinghouse went on to perfect the distribution system for AC power, which lead to the prominence it has in American homes. However, AC and DC currents both have uses in the modern world. In recent years, DC power has incurred a rebirth and gained more prominence.

Offices and households almost always rely on alternating current sources because of how easy it is to generate and transport AC through long distances. Less energy is lost in electrical power transmission when AC is operating at high voltages. The higher voltage produces a lower current. The lower current has the effect of creating less heat in the power line due to resistance.  AC has the capability of fueling electric motors, as well. Generators and motors are almost identical devices; however, motors convert the energy from electrical to mechanical. This is useful for refrigerators, dishwashers, and other large appliances, which is why they run on AC.

The number of applications that DC is used for has risen in the 21st century. Every product that receives power from a battery, or uses an AC adapter to plug in the wall, is dependent on DC. This is also true for devices that need a USB cable for power. DC electronics include cell phones and flashlights. Flat-screen televisions have AC going into the TV but it is ultimately converted to DC. Electric and hybrid vehicles also run on DC. Laptops, as well as some vehicles, run on a combination of AC and DC currents

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