Toasters are one of my favorite kitchen electrical appliances, and the reason isn’t far-fetched. Who doesn’t love the aroma and taste of well-toasted bread taken for breakfast? However, one question on every home owner’s mind is whether or not Toasters use alternating or direct current.
Unlike some household devices that need to convert alternating current into direct current before usage, toasters use alternating current. These devices, like the television, pull electrical energy in the form of alternating current from the power outlet and convert it into direct current inside itself. But toasters do not do this. Instead, they utilize alternating current that way.
Does A Toaster Run On DC?
A toaster is built to work on alternating current because of its resistive heating element and electrical motor. It usually comes rated as 120 volts AC, but this depends on the type or make. It is a motorized electrical appliance, and most household devices with motors require alternating current.
Alternating current is used chiefly for the production and transmission of electricity. Most homes the world over are powered by alternating currents. This is because transportation of electricity in the alternating current form is safer and less expensive, incurring lesser losses.
If electricity is transported as a direct current, much power is dissipated as heat, and there is a greater risk of causing fire outbreaks. Also, you’ll need to convert the low current and high voltage into the high current but low voltage using transformers, which makes it more expensive.
Electrical appliances with electric motors are powered chiefly by alternating current and not direct current in homes. Toasters are one of them. They typically need alternating current to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. Nowadays, only a few kitchen appliances work directly because only a few, like microwaves, have transformers. Most households are supplied by alternating current.
Therefore, any device that requires direct current needs to have a transformer to convert it from alternating to direct current. On the other hand, the alternating current comes from power outlets, and there is no need to convert it into direct current.
Because the conversion will involve including rectifiers and capacitors to the appliance, this will make it more complex and expensive from both the manufacturer’s and the homeowner’s point of view.
Nevertheless, other household electronics like cell phone chargers and laptops that require direct current use an adapter instead of a transformer.
These devices take in the alternating current, and the adapter or rectifier converts it into the specified direct current voltage required for it. In addition, inbuilt filters smoother the direct current produced, and by doing so, attenuate the ripples.
How Do You Tell If An Appliance Is AC or DC?
You can tell if an appliance is AC or DC by simply checking the device’s label or user manual. It is usually stated there. Most times, you’ll even see the input and the output details on the device’s surface if you are observant.
Most household power outlets supply alternating current. This is because electricity is transmitted in alternating current form, which arrives in the homes. Therefore the power outlets give out alternating current.
If your device is rated as AC, this means it requires an alternating current to function. Therefore, it does not need to convert it into a direct current.
However, if the label or user manual indicates DC, the device requires a direct current. This means that it has an adapter or transformer inbuilt within it that will convert the alternating current into a direct current.
The transformer lowers the high voltage present in the alternating current and increases the current. Thus, the product is a direct current with a low voltage and high current suitable for DC-rated devices.
Also, generally speaking, AC devices are usually heavy appliances with large electrical motors, pumps, compressors, and other AC requiring components. On the other hand, devices that require DC are generally lighter.
What Devices Use AC And DC?
Devices that use alternating current have electric motors inbuilt. They include toasters, ovens, hairdryers, freezers, dishwashers, washing machines, fans, grinders, air conditioners, etc. On the other hand, devices that use direct current are devices with an adapter or transformer. They include television sets, cell phones, computers, radios, including audio systems, tablets, and LED lights.
The difference between these two types of devices is how they function. For example, alternating current is necessary for devices that need the current to fluctuate constantly.
When constant and repetitive fluctuations in current, an electromagnetic field is created. This is essential for the functioning of these devices.
On the other hand, direct current devices require a stable or steady current flow to function properly. So, when they are plugged into an alternating existing wall outlet, the transformer or adapter within them acts on this current.
It will convert it from the alternating to direct current, which is needed by the device’s circuitry. There is also an additional smoothening of these devices’ generated direct current by filters.
Alternating current and Direct current are just two ways in which electricity flows. The difference between the two lies in the direction of the flow of electrical energy.
In alternating current, the flow changes direction constantly. It may go forward, then revert and start going backward. Thus the direction of flow is quite unpredictable.
This is the most efficient way of transporting electricity over long distances because the energy lost is lesser when compared with direct current. It is also safer to transport electricity in this form.
In addition, the voltage in AC is high while the current is low and the frequency is between 50Hz to 60Hz. This, however, depends on the country.
On the contrary, the flow in DC is stable and steady and in a single direction which is forwards. The current is high, but the voltage is low; this makes it unsafe to transport electricity in this form. In a direct current, the frequency is zero.
Most kitchen appliances nowadays, including toasters, utilize AC. This is because toasters have motors that require AC to function. More so is the fact that electricity arrives in most households as AC.
Therefore, it is less expensive to use the current in AC form rather than DC. However, in as much as most kitchen appliances use AC, some other household devices also use DC.