# AC Definition Understanding

Discussion in 'Homework Help' started by Zeldalover1116, Apr 9, 2015.

1. ### Zeldalover1116 Thread Starter New Member

Apr 9, 2015
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I'm a sixth grader, and in English class we're creating how-to projects. I chose "How to Hook Up a Wii U to a TV". It was going perfectly, until I realized: I didn't know what AC stood for! So I went on Google, hoping for a simple explanation, but I got the exact opposite of that! Now, I knew beforehand that the definitions weren't going to be easy to understand. Would it be okay if I could have a simpler explanation from someone here?

2. ### shteii01 AAC Fanatic!

Feb 19, 2010
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AC, alternating current. The current flows one way, then it flows the other way. The key to understanding AC is that AC exists for one and one reason only! AC is used for transporting electricity. That is all. We don't power machines with AC. We transport electricity using AC, then we convert AC to DC, and use DC to power the machines.

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3. ### Zeldalover1116 Thread Starter New Member

Apr 9, 2015
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Thank you so much! This helps immensely!

4. ### WBahn Moderator

Mar 31, 2012
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We don't power machines with AC?????

So.... what about an AC motor?

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5. ### WBahn Moderator

Mar 31, 2012
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AC stands for, as shteii01 said, "alternating current" and, for your purposes, it describes one type of electrical power. When you apply power to something, you need to be sure to use the right kind of power. In most cases, this means using a power source that is the right voltage (such as 120V) and is the right type (AC versus DC -- direct current, in most cases). The supply also has to be able to furnish enough electrical current to meet the device's needs.

So, usually, if you look on the label of something that you plug into the wall you will see something like 120VAC/2A. This means that you need to supply it from something that has 120 volts using AC electricity and that can supply at least 2A of current.

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6. ### MrChips Moderator

Oct 2, 2009
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Just so that you don't quote this definition 10 years down the road:

AC means alternating current, the current flows in one direction and then flows in the opposite direction.

In electronics, AC can have a different interpretation. You can have AC superimposed on a DC signal. For example you can have a constant DC voltage of 10V with a +/- 1V AC signal added to it giving 9V and 11V. The current never changes direction. But this is also considered AC + DC. In circuit analysis, this distinction is very important.

Last edited: Apr 9, 2015
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7. ### Zeldalover1116 Thread Starter New Member

Apr 9, 2015
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Thanks, you guys! This will definitely help with the project!