Computers Laptops

How Does An Ac Adapter Work on a Laptop?

What does an ac adapter?

An AC adaptor, also known as a power adaptor or a power supply, plugs into an electrical outlet converting the electrical current to the device’s specifications. Regardless of the type of device that it’s plugged in, the AC adaptor has the same function. All laptops have an adaptor and it is usually place in the middle of the power cord. For some other devices, the box can be found at the end of the power cord. Many devices inside your home use the AC adaptors such as video game systems, CD players, cordless phones, cell phone and as mentioned before, laptops.

The way that the ac adaptor actually works

The ac laptop adaptor converts the electric currents it receives from the electrical wall outlet into an alternating current, typically lower, in order for the laptop to use it. There are 2 wire windings inside the adaptor wrapped around an iron core. The first winding receives 120 volt alternating current which is delivered to the outlet creating a field of electricity inside the iron core. The role of the second wire winding is to transform the electric field into the required electric current for the laptop.

The alternating current that results from this process depends on the number of coils present in the 2nd winding. This number is related to the number of coils from the 1st winding. For example, the resulted alternating current in the second winding will be half of what it was when it entered the ac laptop adaptor. So, if 100 coils enter in the ac laptop adaptor, the 2nd winding will produce 50 coils.

About AC and DC electric currents

Your laptop has two sources of power. It can run on AC, short for alternating current, and DC, short for direct current. AC is a term used for electrical current utilized when delivering power to businesses and homes from power plants. In a graph, the AC looks like a wave that goes up and down because currents don’t flow constantly in the same direction. The ac laptop adaptors serve as a transformation tool from electric current to alternate electric current.

As mentioned before, a laptop can be powered by a battery. This battery doesn’t last very long and it has to be powered by the alternating electrical current as well. When you use your device, the ac laptop adaptor generates the necessary voltage power for both laptop and battery. There are electronics that use a battery but can be plugged into an electrical source as well. The adaptors have the same function: transforming the electrical current into direct current.

Things to known when traveling abroad

Not all countries use the same frequencies and voltage for currents. For example, the United States use a 60 hertz frequency and 120-volt currents while Ireland receives currents at a 50 hertz frequency and 220 volts. This means that if you plan on traveling abroad, you should check the currents in that specific country and buy an ac laptop adaptor that matches with your device . In conclusion the ac adaptor could be diffrent for every country because of their frequencies and voltage so before you hit the road make sure you have the right one.

By Ignat Victor, published at 03/01/2012
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