Alternating Current

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How a Power Supply Regulates Voltage in Electronic Circuits

The purpose of a power supply is to provide power for an electronic circuit. For a given amount of power, there's an inverse relationship between voltage and current. Whenever current increases, voltage [more…]

Electronics Basics: What Is Alternating Current?

Alternating current is of vital importance in electronics for one simple reason: The electric current you can access by plugging a circuit into a wall outlet happens to be alternating current. [more…]

Electronics Measurements: How to Measure Alternating Current

With direct current, it’s easy to determine the voltage that’s present between two points in an electronic circuit: You simply measure the voltage with a voltmeter. With alternating current, however, measuring [more…]

Electronics Basics: The History of AC/DC Current Wars

Alternating current (AC) isn’t only used in electronic devices, it is the worldwide standard for power distribution. This wasn’t always the case, however. Back in the days when electricity was first being [more…]

Electronics Basics: Alternators and Alternating Current

If you want to free your electronic circuits from the tyranny of batteries, which eventually die, you’ll need to learn how to make your circuits work from an alternating current [more…]

Electronics Basics: What You Need to Know about Alternators

You’ll need to learn a bit about alternating current (AC), if you want to use an AC power supply in your electronic circuits. One good way to get your mind around how AC works is to look at the device [more…]

Electronics Basics: What You Need to Know about Transformers

A transformer combines the two basic principles of magnetism and inductance by placing two coils of wire in close proximity to one another. Here are the principles that the transformer exploits: [more…]

Line Voltage Can Supply Power to Electronic Circuits

Line voltage refers to the voltage that's available in standard residential or commercial wall outlets. many — if not most — real-world electronics projects do require that you use line voltage. [more…]

Electronics Safety Lesson: How to Stay Safe with Line Voltage

Whenever you build an electronics project that uses line voltage, you must take extra precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of anyone who may come in contact with your project. Line voltage [more…]

Alternating Current in Electronics: Hot, Neutral, and Ground Wires

Before you start working with line voltage in your electronic circuits, you need to understand a few details about how most residential and commercial buildings are wired. The following description applies [more…]

Alternating Current in Electronics: Wires and Connectors

When working with line voltage (the power that comes from a wall outlet) in your electronic circuits, you must always use wire that's designed specifically to handle line-voltage currents. Depending on [more…]

How to Use Fuses to Protect Electronic Line-Voltage Circuits

A fuse is an inexpensive device that can carry only a certain amount of current. When a fuse is in an electronic circuit and the current exceeds the rated level, the fuse melts [more…]

How to Use Relays to Control Electronic Line-Voltage Circuits

In many electronics projects, you need to turn line-voltage powered circuits on and off using circuits that use low-voltage DC power supplies. For example, suppose you want to flash a 120 VAC flood lamp [more…]

Electronic Power Supply: Build or Buy?

You can probably purchase a preassembled power adapterthat will provide the voltage you need for your electronics project for just a few dollars more than you could build the circuit yourself. A power [more…]

How Power Supplies Transform Voltage in Electronic Circuits

In most electronic power supplies, the transformer reduces the voltage. A transformer is a device that uses the principal of electromagnetic induction to transfer voltage and current from one circuit to [more…]

How Power Supplies Filter Rectified Current in Electronic Circuits

Although the output from an electronic rectifier circuit is technically direct current because all of the current flows in the same direction, it isn't stable enough for most purposes. Even full-wave and [more…]

How Power Supplies Turn AC into DC in Electronic Circuits

The task of turning alternating current into direct current is called rectification, and the electronic circuit that does the job is called a rectifier [more…]

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