How to Convert 110 AC to 12 Volt DC

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Converting alternating current, or AC, voltage to a direct current, or DC, voltage will let you power battery powered devices from an AC outlet Your laptop’s power adapter has an electronic circuit in it that converts the 120 Volt AC voltage to not just 12 volt DC, but in many cases also to 5 volt, 3 volt and 1.5 volts. Besides your laptop, all your other portable devices, such as your cell phone, smart phone and battery chargers, all have AC to DC converters built into their power adapters.

    Review the input and output voltage specifications for different AC to DC voltage converters on the market. Make sure the converter has an AC input voltage range that will accept a 110 AC voltage input. Also check if the output will produces a 12 volt DC signal or can be adjusted to 12 volt DC.

    Examine the power efficiency specifications of different 110 volt AC to 12 volt DC voltage converters. If you are interested in saving electrical costs over the long run, choose a converter with a power efficiency between 85 and 95 percent. Converters that a lower power efficiency consume more electricity but usually cost less to purchase.

    Compare the power factor correction specifications of the converters. Those with a power correction factor close to "one" are more energy efficient and will reduce energy consumption. Those with a lower power correction factor aren't as efficient but are usually less expensive.


    • There are many important specifications for the selection of AC to DC converters.

      If you want to design an AC to DC voltage converter for a project, the process is not complicated. You will need a few basic components like full wave rectifiers, filters and voltage regulators. However, a quality design will require significant engineering.

      Because AC current can be dangerous to work with, it is not recommended that novice and hobbyists design AC to DC current converters.

      Carefully read the manual and safety precautions that come with any electrical device, including power converters.


About the Author

Mark Stansberry has been a technical and business writer over for 15 years. He has been published in leading technical and business publications such as "Red Herring," "EDN" and "BCC Research." His present writing focus is on computer applications programming, graphic design automation, 3D linear perspective and fractal technology. Stansberry has a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from San Jose State University.

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