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In yesterday's post, I suggested why a solar panel, independent of the shared power line, is a good idea not yet ready for prime time. A number of astute readers asked the obvious. "Why go through all the trouble of converting to AC? Wouldn't DC be better?" Ahhh. Of course. The obvious. Why go to all the trouble of AC to DC when our equipment runs on DC in the first place? Maddening. What DC? Modern computers run on DC voltages varying from 1 to 12. A DAC from 1 to 30. A power amp can easily have 100 volts, a tube anything even higher. There's little standardization and even if we wanted it, it wouldn't work. The needs of one product aren't the same as another—their functions are different. If we start with high DC and reduce it to fit, the heat loss is enormous. Very inefficient. If we start low and want to go high, we're back to converting it to AC. Then, there are the losses over long wires. Not a problem with AC because we always have higher voltages to work with. This same head scratching occurred more than 100 years ago when Nicola Tesla won the battle with Edison. AC vs. DC. AC won because of a simple collection of coiled wire, and steel plates, the transformer.
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Paul McGowan

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