In the early 80’s the term “power supply” was dominant at CERN. Then, it became attractive to differentiate the terminology between the mains power supply, a laboratory power supply and the so-called magnet power supply. The trend, also in industry, was to treat the domain of power conversion as a special field, due to the increasing use of power solid-state electronics.

Today at CERN, the term of power converter is used for the accelerators but the experiments prefer the term of power supply. Worldwide, the term of power supply stays the most widely used. Common applications that use SMPS are laptop computers and audio or video equipment that can work from either a home electricity outlet or a car’s DC outlet.

A laptop is a great example of how useful an SMPS is. For instance, if you live in America, you will normally plug your laptop into a 110 AC outlet. These outlets are what are normally found in any home or office. However, when you travel for business to Europe, the voltage is different, usually 210 volts. An SMPS is used to regulate the current and makes your laptop work seamlessly no matter which continent you are on.

What is power consumption in kW when the power factor is 0.8 and the phase current is 3A and the RMS voltage supply is 110V?

Answer: the power P is equal to square root of 3 times power factor of 0.8 times current of 3 amps times the voltage of 110 volts, divided by 1000.

The only trouble is, though many of our appliances are designed to work with AC, small-scale power generators often produce DC. That means if you want to run something like an AC-powered gadget from a DC car battery in a mobile home, you need a device that will convert DC to AC—an inverter, as it’s called. Let’s take a closer look at these gadgets and find out how they work!


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