AC vs DC

Discussion in 'The Bucket' started by alpha_03, Dec 17, 2010.

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  1. alpha_03

    alpha_03 Bubble Tip Anemone

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    I will begin with this statement-this isnt ment to bash anyone, rather to educate, for all those in the know- feel free to chime in.

    If you find this as funny, and ironic, as I do, please explain why you feel such. Don't forget the World's Fair in Chicago either.
     
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  3. thepanfish

    thepanfish Flying Squid

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  4. jonjonwells

    jonjonwells Great Blue Whale

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    I don't get the ironic part....

    Yes.... A lot of the electronics we use use DC for their power.
    Yes.... A/C is better for transmission
     
  5. sostoudt

    sostoudt Giant Squid

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    I'm pretty sure Edison and westinghouse almost went broke from the competition.

    The way I understand is since AC is alternating it can't represent a steady 0 or 1 in our computers.
     
  6. sostoudt

    sostoudt Giant Squid

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    If you want to educate me, Can you explain to me why AC's properties are better for transmission. because I would assume moving back and forth would be more inefficient.
     
  7. ReefSparky

    ReefSparky Super Moderator Staff Member

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    AC is used in transmission because we can utilize a transformer to step up and down the voltage. This saves money on the infrastrucure, as a larger diameter wire is needed to safely carry high amperages. The electricity is produced at the powerhouse, and stepped up to very high voltages using a transformer. Ohm's law tells us that as the voltage increases, with other variables being the same, amperage decreases. So, 50 thousand volts can be carried over hundreds of miles to your house at very low amperage, over relatively thin distribution wire, then the transformer on the pole, or in the ground can change it back to 240 volts at the point of use.

    The entire principle of operation of a transformer relies upon rapidly changing magnetic fields. That's breaking it down quite a bit, but it is for this reason that DC electricity (which is no less useful than AC) can not be transformed.

    FWIW, it's a bit inaccurate to say that DC is more useful than AC--in fact it's really not. The evolution of products and their use is often financially motivated. Transistors, micro switches, and many of the products that have evolved from the days of vacuum tubes utilize DC for many reasons--most notably that AC simply won't fit the bill--but both AC and DC have their respective place in the transmission and utiliziation of power.
     
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  9. sostoudt

    sostoudt Giant Squid

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    Since I have you sparky, Perhaps you can help me with some visualization of electricity.

    is Voltage like the water pressure going through a pipe? Or the GPH water travel through it or would that be wattage?

    What about amperage?
     
  10. ReefSparky

    ReefSparky Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That analogy is frequently used, yes. Voltage is like the pump, or pressure, and amperage is the flow. The diameter of the pipe would be similar to the gauge of the wire. The larger the pump, the greater the flow, necessitating the need for a larger diameter pipe.

    The analogy isn't perfect, though. As mentioned above, as voltage increases, amperage decreases, so there you have it.

    As for wattage, I've never seen that included but I'll take a shot. You know the water wheel that spins in graineries out wherever they are? The amount of water required to mill a certain amount of grain over a certain time period could be likened to wattage.
     
  11. sostoudt

    sostoudt Giant Squid

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    I have been reading and I think a voltage is the difference in electron pressures between two points.

    So its the difference of pressure between a tank and the end of a siphon tube.
     
  12. sostoudt

    sostoudt Giant Squid

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    oh you responded right as I did.

    So was I close. Because to have the greatest difference in pressure you need to have less flow(amperage).

    I'll have to think about wattage a bit.
     
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