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Difference between AC and DC Power

AC power alters its direction with time, while DC power remains constant. Furthermore, AC power oscillates at 60 Hz frequency whereas DC power has Zero frequency.

The main advantage of an AC power over DC is that it can be transmitted over long distances at higher voltages using transformers with low losses and can easily be converted to DC if needed in any particular applications.

The most important differences between AC Power and DC Power are explained on the basis of time, frequency, transmission, supply sources, storage, power factor, generation, and applications.The following table explains the key differences between AC and DC Power.

Difference between AC and DC Power

CharacteristicsAC PowerDC Power
Originator Nikola TeslaThomas Edison
Voltage and CurrentChanges over timeRemains constant as it does not depend on time
FrequencyHas a frequency (either 50 Hz or 60 Hz depends upon the location)Zero frequency
TransmissionIt can be transmitted, with certain losses, over long distancesCan be transmitted, with trivial losses, over long distances (favorable for long distance transmission)
Supply SystemCan be single phase and three phaseSingle phase ONLY
StorageCannot be stored (dynamic entity)Can be stored in batteries and cells for later use
GenerationProduced by generatorsProduced by batteries, cells
Power factorRanges between 0 and 1 because of resistive and reactive components.Always 1 because of resistive component only.
Load TypeResistive, Inductive, and Capacitive loads run by ACONLY resistive loads run by DC
ApplicationMainly used for motors, lights and to transmit electricityPrimarily used in electronic devices, electroplating, electrolysis, and DC operated drives

About Ahmad Faizan

Mr. Ahmed Faizan Sheikh, M.Sc. (USA), Research Fellow (USA), a member of IEEE & CIGRE, is a Fulbright Alumnus and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical and Power Engineering from Kansas State University, USA.

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