How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 239

How is AC converted in certain items to DC?
These devices use diodes, which are one-way devices for current. They only allow the current to flow a certain direction and block its flow the other way. With the help of some charge storage devices called capacitors, these diodes can stop the reversals of AC and turn it into DC. Those little black battery eliminators that you use for household electronic devices contain a transformer, a few diodes and a capacitor or two.

A step-up transformer has a secondary coil with many, many turns. As the current in the primary circuit flows back and forth, it creates a reversing electric field around the iron core of the transformer. This electric field pushes charges through the secondary coil so that it travels around and around the core. Each charge goes around many times, picking up more energy with each passage. By the time the charge leaves the transformer, it has lots of energy so its voltage is very high.


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