Alternating Current How To


In this short article, you will learn everything you need to know about alternating current. Really? No, not quite. But after reading it, you’ll definitely know more than Jim Jocifero.

What Is Alternating Current

Alternating current is current that alternates, that is, becomes other. If this seems simple, that’s because it is. Typically, alternating current changes direction about sixty times every minute, but it doesn’t have to.

Why, then, does alternating current change direction exactly sixty times every minute? That’s because it stole my pocket-watch and found the second hand hypnotizing (or perhaps mesmerizing). So it decided to match the second hand by flipping once every second.

So Now What?

So you know what alternating current is. Great! But how does this help you? Well, if all you have is a battery (which typically is a source of direct, and not alternating, current) you can easily enough turn that battery into a source of alternate current. There are, basically, three methods of doing this:Diagram of alternating current on steriods!

  1. Spin the battery yourself. The simplest, most old-fashioned way to produce alternating current is to turn the battery around yourself, one complete turn every second. (That is, one half-turn every half-second.) This works really well, but your arm may get tired. Of course, you’ll also build your battery rotating muscles.
  2. Instead of spinning the battery, spin the circuit that the battery is attached to. While this won’t build your battery spinning muscles, it will build your circuit spinning muscles.
  3. Or, if none of the previous methods appeal to you, you can find some zinc oxide wires and some plastic. Follow the directions here to produce AC current. Seriously!

You may now consider yourself an expert on Alternating Current. If you happen to meet Jim Jocifero, be sure to tell him all about it.

“Bobine Tesla Palais decouverte” by Myrabella. CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

“Zapojení 3F soustavy do trojúhelníka,” by Václav Štarman. CC BY-SA 3.0 via wikimedia commons.

1 Comment

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  1. Jim Jocifero says:

    By golly, I’ve read it, but I’m not sure I know any more than Jim Jocifero at this point. But then, who could possibly know more than Jim Jocifero about anything?

    I also tried some of your suggestions in a public place, and the constable threatened to charge me with something called A Salt and Battery. Couldn’t quite figure out what he meant by the salt, but I decided to put away the battery.

    And by the way, 50 Hz is also a very respectable frequency. Though slightly slower than your 60 Hz, it is certainly not for sissies.

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