What is AC vs DC? A Simple Guide

AC/DC is more than just a popular 80’s band! If you’ve ever found yourself wondering “What is AC vs. DC power?”, you’re in the right place. Stick with us as we explain the answer to this common question.

DC Power: The Basics

Direct current, or “DC,” power was first developed by Thomas Edison. It uses a current of electricity that runs in a single direction. While this cost-effective solution was America’s first experience with electric power, it had a major drawback. The biggest issue with DC power is that there’s no easy way to convert it to higher or lower voltages.

This led others to start looking for a better option — including Nikola Tesla, who developed the AC power current.

AC Power: The Basics

AC stands for “alternating current.” This current alternates and reverses direction 60 times per second (50 times per second in Europe). The benefit is that it’s easy to covert this power source to different voltages using a transformer.

AC power is the science behind your home electrical services. It’s what powers everything from your TV and your lights to your HVAC system.

Which is Better: AC or DC Power? 

Once you learn the answer to the question, “What is AC vs. DC power?” the next obvious question is – which is better? This was a hot question in the late 1800s as Edison and Tesla battled it out in a very public way. At stake were large sums of money, patent royalties, and the right to electrify America’s cities. The fight eventually got ugly, with Edison starting a smear campaign against Tesla and even going as far as electrocuting an elephant at Coney Island!

However, the deal was sealed when Edison and Tesla battled it out at the Chicago World’s Fair and victory was declared for Tesla’s AC power. He won the contract to electrify the fair, then went on to electrify streetlights in the city of Buffalo NY, using AC power supplied by hydroelectric generators at Niagara Falls.

It’s important to note, though, that DC power is far from dead. In fact, it’s used for most electronics powered by batteries – including your smart phone! As technologies like solar cells, electric vehicles, and LEDs become more popular, so have methods for transporting and converting DC power.

It’s possible that the “war of the currents” could rise again, although it will likely be a much friendlier competition this time. Eventually you could see AC and DC power working peacefully side-by-side in homes and businesses.

What is AC vs. DC Power? Now You Know!

Next time someone asks you “What is AC vs. DC power?” not only will you know the answer, but you’ll have some interesting historical facts to share!

While this might make you feel pretty smart, it’s still a good idea to call in the pros when you have an electrical problem at your home or business. At Luminous Electric, we take care of everything from a faulty switch to a whole house rewire. Check out our current specials, then reach out and let us know how we can help!

Similar Posts