When a voltage is produced by an AC generator, the resulting current varies in step with the voltage. As the generator coil rotates 360°, the output voltage goes through one complete cycle. In one cycle, the voltage increases from zero to Emax in one direction, decreases to zero, increases to Emax in the opposite direction (negative Emax), and then decreases to zero again. The value of Emax occurs at 90° and is referred to as peak voltage. The time it takes for the generator to complete one cycle is called the period, and the number of cycles per second is called the frequency (measured in hertz). One way to refer to AC voltage or current is by peak voltage (Ep) or peak current (Ip). This is the maximum voltage or current for an AC sine wave. Another value, the peak-to-peak value (Ep-p or Ip-p), is the magnitude of voltage, or current range, spanned by the sine wave. However, the value most commonly used for AC is effective value.
Effective value of AC is the amount of AC that produces the same heating effect as an equal amount of DC. In simpler terms, one ampere effective value of AC will produce the same amount of heat in a conductor, in a given time, as one ampere of DC. The heating effect of a given AC current is proportional to the square of the current. Effective value of AC can be calculated by squaring all the amplitudes of the sine wave over one period, taking the average of these values, and then taking the square root. The effective value, being the root of the mean (average) square of the currents, is known as the root-mean-square, or RMS value.
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• Module 7 - Basic AC Theory
This module describes the basic concepts of alternating current (AC) electrical circuits and discusses the associated terminology.
• Module 8 - AC Reactive Components
This module describes inductance and capacitance and their effects on AC circuits.
• Module 9 - AC Power
This module presents power calculations for single-phase and three-phase AC circuits and includes the power triangle concept.
• Module 10 - AC Generators
This module describes the operating characteristics of AC generators and includes terminology, methods of voltage production, and methods of paralleling AC generation sources.
• Module 11 - Voltage Regulators
This module describes the basic operation and application of voltage regulators.