Unlike direct current, where electrons only move in a single direction, the flow of electricity with alternating current periodically reverses. Some smaller devices can operate using AC power, but many larger and more powerful electronics require DC power. Since electric generation plants only transmit AC power, AC to DC converters allow consumers to use their DC powered devices.
In many cases, AC to DC converters are included as components in larger electronic devices and power systems, but they can also be used as external power supplies. Most people are familiar with the “power brick” component of a laptop power cord. This brick serves to change the alternating current from the wall socket to direct current as well as to lower the voltage to a useable level. This is an example of an AC to DC converter, and there are many similar examples seen in other electronic devices.
These devices are also known as voltage adapters, AC/DC power adapters, universal voltage adapters, or adapter plugs. Ideal as a household transceiver, cellular phone charger, automobile/mobile equipment, or portable equipment, an AC to DC converter has many uses. It can convert any cell phone or PDA phone car charger to a house charger.
An AC to DC converter makes it possible to get power from anywhere and at anytime. It can also be used to transform a traditional outlet into a power charger or as an adapter between U.S. and European power sources. Also phase converters are used in the AC-to-DC converter processes.