What is the Difference in AC current and DC current and Why do we use Alternating Current for mains electricity? Ok let’s talk about this most common topic today. And our topic is AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current). It does not matter what you do in real life but you have Electricity at your home. That’s means we handle lots of home appliance in our daily life. Now, did we think which type of power we are using for our daily life? Some home appliance run by AC power and some are run by DC power. Ok, where did the Australian Rock Band AC/DC get their name? Why, Alternating Current and Direct Current? Both AC and DC describe types of current flow in a circuit. AC and DC power have a long an interesting history. Due to their ability they provide power in different ways.
What is Alternating Current?
Alternating Current is an electric current that changes its direction periodically. For this reason the voltage level also reverses along with the current flow. AC power is used to deliver power to houses, industry, etc. We need Generator to generator AC power. If you are gating electricity at your home then you are already receiving power from any power station near to your home. We can send AC power to long distance by stepping up the voltage level. You can have a look on Why is Electricity Transmitted at High Voltage and Low Current?
What is Direct Current?
Direct current is little bit easier to understand than AC current because DC provides a constant voltage or current. We can store DC power by using Battery like solar system. Solar panel converts sunlight to DC power and we store it battery then we convert this DC power to AC power by an inverter for our demand. But you can also use DC power without converting.
Differences Between AC Current and DC Current:
We already know that AC current can change direction but DC current cannot. Now I am going to add more about it. First Direct Current, and it was developed by Thomas Edison and the standard of America’s early foray into the world of Electricity, involves the use of current that can runs into single direction system. But unfortunately, Direct Current’s inability to be easily converted into higher/lower voltages led others to look to alternative solutions and it was Namely Nikola Tesla’s AC current. AC current have the capability of alternating and reversing direction 60 times per second (But 50 time in Europe) and AC current could be converted easily to different voltages level using a step up or step down transformer. Then the ‘War of the Currents’ ensued as the inventors battled for relevance in the future of America’s electrical infrastructure that we are having now. In the end George Westinghouse partnered with Tesla and leading AC current system into American homes nationwide.
Where we need AC Power?
Yes, our home, office and industry receives electricity in the form of wave like AC current and it is capable of changing its direction and voltage level from higher to lower current by using power transformers. You may find a utility pole near to you home where your home is getting electricity. Now in your home you are consuming AC power by various home appliances and it can be small and large like your HVAC, TV, Dish Washer, Washing Machine, etc. But for industry they use AC power to run their machine to produce essential goods for us.
Where we need DC Power?
Your Car Battery can be a good example of the source of DC power. You can have a look on your car battery now if you have planned to donate your car! Like this, the consistent and constant voltage level of DC power supplies in electronics that use a battery such as your mobile device or camera. Battery is powering your kid’s remote control car, boat even some drone that we fly in sky. The smooth and steady electrical current of DC power always flows in the same direction and it’s between positive and negative terminals.
Where we need Both (AC/DC)?
If you are reading this article using a laptop then we can say your laptop uses a combination of both types of electric current. You can have a look how you connect your laptop? It beginning with AC from the outlet to your charging cord then it converted into DC via the bulky little box (Power Adapter) between the outlet and the end that charging plugs into your computer to recharge the battery. On backside of your laptop you will find a battery. In industry we use DC to control our machine where AC power drives most of the heavy equipments like motor.
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