Types of Power Converters
Date Updated :
3/29/2012 7:40:09 AM
Electricity characterizes the flow of electrons or current from one place to another. Electric current includes direct current and alternating current. Direct current happens when the electricity through a wire flows in one direction only while alternating is an electric current wherein the direction of the flow reverses back and forth at regular intervals.
Alternating current has high voltage. It is the type of current that can be usually found in households since the flow of electricity will involve short distances. It can also be found in power stations and car alternator. On the other hand, direct current is used for low voltage applications and can be stored. The best examples where we can see this type of current are cells and car batteries, thermocouples and solar power systems. The overhead cables that we see in the streets contain direct current since converting it into AC is expensive. Some appliances use DC so converters are needed to alter the current to AC. There are cases when a current is available yet the other one is needed. The direction of the flow of these currents can be changed by using a power converter.
Power converters are devices capable of changing the course of the currents. These devices include inverter and synchronous converter. An inverter is a device that converts DC into AC. Since DC is usually found in batteries, inverters are applied in cases of power outage to operate household appliances from a battery supply. In contrast to inverter, synchronous converter is a machine that converts alternating to direct current or vice versa. AC motors alter the energy and store it in DC generators that serve as a back-up during power loss.
The development of power converters is essential both in companies and households. Disruption of company operations which may cause financial loss can be avoided when there is a readily available power back-up. Damage of DC appliances can be prevented if an inverter is used before plugging them in electric sockets at home.
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