If you are looking for an AC to DC Converter you probably already know what’s the difference between AC (Alternate Current) and DC (Direct Current). That may seem very basic but still most people don’t know what’s the difference between them and thus aren’t sure what kind of job has a current converter.
Electrical Current Types at a Glance
In a very short paragraph, alternate current is the one used on big appliances like a fridge, a washing machine and many others found on our houses. This is the kind of current we receive from the electric company and comes to our houses by the public distribution lines. It is a very rough electrical current type and thus can’t be used to operate sensitive devices such as a cell phone, a laser printer or led lamps but is less susceptible to losses and that’s why it’s the electric current kind used by the electric companies.
Different from the alternate current, the direct current is mostly used to operate those sensitive to current oscillation devices and can be found anywhere, from our houses on the fluorescent and led lamps to hospitals on medical equipments such as a cardiac monitor. Generally those devices using the direct current will have an ac to dc converter built into it or in the AC adapter that will then convert the house alternate electrical current into a more suitable current type for the device itself.
Where AC to DC Converters can be found?
You may find one of those converters in almost any room of our houses and even in our cars. Almost everything we have needs a current converter that will work into making the electricity more suitable by each device in particular. The most common converters are found in the AC adapters from notebooks, cell phones chargers and in the computer power supplies. In fact if a device operates with a battery or needs an ac adapter or power supply then it surely requires direct current to operate and thus it will need a current converter.
Don’t assume that an ac adapter will work on any kind of device because a current converter may output electricity with different voltages; they are very specific and varies from device to device. If you give a particular device more voltage than it needs it will surely destroy it and that’s why each device has its own ac to dc converter built into their ac adapters or in the device itself.
AC to DC Conversion: How it’s done
Inside all the ac/dc converters there’s an electronics component called rectifier (or a better bridge rectifier). Those rectifiers can have a number of different physical forms including mercury-arc valves, solid-state diodes, vacuum tube diodes and silicon based semiconductors rectifiers and switches. To convert the alternate current input to a direct current output, this component literally rectifies the current direction to flow in a single direction.
While the alternate current flows up and down and have two polarities, the direct current only has one and only flow in a single direction, either up or down. The rectifier can block one polarity (like in half-wave rectification) or convert both to a single constant polarity (like in a full-wave rectification), as the latter being the best and most efficient method of rectification. The full-wave rectification is particularly necessary in high-end equipment that has specific needs and will not operate properly on a half-wave rectified current.
The alternate current is standardized and only differs between countries while the direct current is not. Not any ac to dc converter will work on any device because the DC requirements can vary and thus you have to look out for your device needs. Failure on compatible current may lead to harm and irreparable damage to your electronics so always take care of using a proper ac adapter to make the ac/dc conversion.