In the late 1880s, there was a major battle over market share for household electricity. Long before Mac versus PC, an even more important publicity campaign was being waged between two powerhouses: Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse and their respective energy companies. The war essentially came down to distributing Direct Current (DC) for electric power versus Alternating Current (AC). With many patents residing on both sides, large financial rewards stood to be gained by the victor of this intense feud.
Edison advocated for DC distribution, which would push lower amounts of voltage to homes – the same amount required to power household devices – from local generators within a relatively short distance. For example, by distributing a load of just 110 volts (a little extra voltage would account for minor load degradation) to operate multiple 100 volt lamps in a customer’s home would be both safe and billable in Edison’s system (he also patented a meter).
However, this method proved more costly in remote areas across the country, because it would require building many local generators and transporting expensive copper wire to rural homes. So, Westinghouse began developing an AC system based on the framework of many European inventors at the time. This system would use smaller, localized transformers to send higher voltages over longer distances, converting them to safe, usable voltage levels before entering homes and businesses. This method also involved parallel
connectivity rather than a series, and it is the basis for the electrical grid that is still used today.
With that said, it’s obvious who emerged victorious in the War of Currents. George Westinghouse invested heavily in the development AC generators, transformers and motors, and he even hired renowned inventor (and Edison’s former employee) Nikola Tesla to be a consultant on the project. William Stanley invented the first transformer in the U.S. while working for Westinghouse in 1886, and by the early 1900s, Three Phase AC power became the preeminent power source used throughout the country and the world.
Now that the dust has settled over a hundred years later, there is a far more harmonious relationship between AC and DC today. In fact, many electronic devices such as computers, televisions, cell phones, coffee makers, etc., require both types of current to operate. Their sensitive circuitry requires low, regulated voltages of DC to be converted from AC power first, before being able to scale down to a workable level. DC power is also the basis for batteries, where current flows continuously in one direction from the negative to the positive terminal, via a completed circuit, and obviously we rely on this technology every day.
Utilizing this same co-existing principal, power inverters allow you to convert DC energy from your car into AC power for your portable electronic devices. Whether planning for a long trip or preparing an emergency outage, small power inverters are a great way to operate or charge multiple electronics, often at the same time, including those with both AC outlets and USB adapters. Since car batteries are a great source of 12 volts of DC power, they are convenient for providing on-the-go, portable electricity for our many mobile devices.
With many different types of inverters to choose from, please stop by one our stores for more information about which one is best for you!
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We repair broken Apple® devices, including iPads®, iPhones® and iPods®, most Samsung® devices and many more. Plus, we have screen protectors for cell phones and tablets.
In-store services include (among others):
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