– how is DC current converted to AC current, for instance power from solar panels being converted to AC? I know how it can be done mechanically but that must be inefficient.

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– how is DC current converted to AC current, for instance power from solar panels being converted to AC? I know how it can be done mechanically but that must be inefficient.

In: Physics
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Usually it will be done by switching powere on and off really fast. That will then go through a circuit that smooths the on off into a actual wave shape.

Same as if your moving your hand up and down in a bath tub. Vertical movement of your hand is smoothed out by the resistance of the water to create a horizontal wave.

The circuits use inductors and capacitors to create filters that resist the change of voltage causing the wave shape.

Edit:
I guess terms would be either stable multi vibrators or oscillator. Usually

There are two different types of inverters (DC to AC) one uses digital switching to rapidly* increase and decrease the voltage in steps to create an alternating current. In a pure wave inverter, the steps are smoothed out into a pure sine wave or curve from positive to negative an back again.

Some machines like lights and heating elements work fine on a stepped AC signal, but more sensitive equipment such as microwaves and computers, require a pure sine wave signal to operate.

*50 times a second in Europe, and 60 times a second in North America