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History of the standards of electrical distribution

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One hundred years ago a battle between standards of electricity for distribution was waged. I find it a fascinating story and explains why we have the systems we have  today.

This article from The Economist summarises the issues: https://www.economist.com/babbage/2013/01/14/difference-engine-edisons-revenge  

I am convinced we will see more DC microgrids (especially in Africa) due to their efficiency and simplicity. Perhaps we can have a topic dedicated to AC vs DC?


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4 hours ago, Richard Mackay said:

AC vs DC?

A very large portion of household appliances are already DC-driven. Of course they have onboard power supplies, so that it isn't immediately apparent, but it i still true. Many appliances are perfectly happy to run with AC voltages as low as 70V, and would also operate off 100VDC (using only half the rectifier bridge that the SMPS in such devices have). Of course you have to know what you are doing.

My point, however, is that to a great extent we're already in a place where AC is used for distribution (something it is very good for) and DC is actually used by appliances.

Of course there is a rather large omission in my argument: Induction motors. Induction motors runs form AC, and the simplicity of the design and how well they last is such that one would likely want to keep that. Of course it is possible to make DC motors, and many companies have made refrigerators with DC compressors for off-the-grid places, but they are never quite as good as a high-end low-energy "city" appliance 🙂

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