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Old 7th January, 2006, 01:22 AM
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However, modern electronics all work on DC, not AC. So, we have to build a power inverter to change the AC to DC. The simplest and most common way to do this is with the use of diodes; semiconductors specifically designed to only pass current in one direction, and to block current in the other. If we use only the diode, though, we get pulsating DC. It is always one polarity, so the negative terminal is never more positive than the positive terminal (which is good) but it pulses at the frequency of the AC (which is bad). This pulsation is the ripple VOLTAGE. It can be reduced by increasing the capacitance in the circuit (via capacitors, specially designed components capable of being repeatedly charged and discharged over very short time spans), or by decreasing the load on the circuit. The ripple FACTOR is the ratio of the RMS value of the ripple VOLTAGE to the actual DC voltage present in the system.
Also known as a rectifier.
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