DC or AC for home?

As of today, you no longer get a choice:
"[NEW YORK] Today, Con Edison will end 125 years of direct current electricity service that began when Thomas Edison opened his Pearl Street power station on Sept. 4, 1882. Con Ed will now only provide alternating current ...."
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/off-goes-the-power-current-started-by-thomas-edison /
Next thing you know, Con Ed will be upgrading to Windows 3.1.
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http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/off-goes-the-power-current-started-by-thomas-edison /
lived. It was truly a pain in the ass. For instance, when you plugged in an ac/dc radio the odds were 50-50 the polarity was wrong. Try to shut of a light and sometimes there would be an arc across the switch gap and you had to unsscrew the bulb to get the circuit to break and get thearc to extinguish. Plug in a new electric iron with temperature control and when the thermostat tried to open the contacts would weld together. Toasters too. Want one of those TVs towatch Friday night fights. You had to get a converter that had DC in and gave you AC out. Or if you had bigger bucks, you could buy a motor/genrator set. Yeah. those were the good old days.
Charlie
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When I was a kid, the province of Ontario, had 25 hertz AC electricity. Motors turned much slower and were larger, and light bulbs flickered. The power was gradually transferred over to North American standard 60 hertz in the 50's. The city of Toronto, being the largest was done last. Virtually every motor, transformer and other equipment had to be replaced, exchanged or rebuilt at that time.

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EXT wrote:

Wow...that's interesting. Much of Los Angeles was 50 Hz until well after WWII.
Much of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor electrification (former Pennsylvania and New Haven railroads) is still 25 Hz and probably will remain so. A couple decades back it was expected that it would be converted to 60 Hz (some of it did convert and the new electrification from New Haven to Boston is 60) but most of it remains 25. Apparently, even though there are no longer locomotives and cars that use the AC commutator traction motors (it's all either rectifers & DC motors or rectifier -> variable frequency inverter -> 3-phase AC induction motor) there are certain advantages to 25 Hz. Not enough to install new but enough to keep it if you have it. They've been changing rotary converters to static (electronic) ones. Even that has its drawbacks. I remember reading a technical paper that touted the virtues of modern rotary converters.
In Europe a lot of railway electrification is 16 2/3 Hz.
I'm really curious about a reference I have seen to Con Ed still generating DC up til about 1985. I can see how they still were supplying it but I would have assumed that just meant a transformer / rectifier setup in the nearest substation. But to actually generate DC? I wonder if that's true.
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Charlie Bress wrote:

Me too, when I rented a one room student apartment in the Back Bay section of Boston circa 1956.
I never thought to ask about the current supply in the building and soon discovered the place was still on DC.
I was a "hi-fi" buff back then and after I considered what a PIA it would be to have to use one of the vibrator converters available back then, I just suffered for a month and then moved elsewhere.
Thanks for the mammaries!
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat \'57 EE)
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Charlie Bress wrote:

Hmm...I had always presumed that the polarized plug stemmed from DC. Guess not.

Probably not a switch rated for DC.

Sounds kinda neat actually.
Did you have an Iron Fireman for your coal furnace?
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Well programs and commands always did and always will execute faster from the DOS prompt than in ANY GUI.
steve

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I used to work with an electrician years ago who had worked on converting Columbia University over from DC to AC. Before that I had no idea that DC was still in use.
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John Grabowski wrote:

So you weren't at Columbia University for the latest conversion: to PC?
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HeyBub posted for all of us...

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/off-goes-the-power-current-started-by-thomas-edison /
computer centers because it would save money in switching power supply losses and the accompanying heat loads they impose...
--
Tekkie Don\'t bother to thank me, I do this as a public service.

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I wish I had 12VDC distributed throughout my house. Then I could get rid of all those ugly wall wart AC->DC convertors.
... Never liked being surrounded by low-frequency magnetic fields anyway. Edison was right... DC is better. Down with reactance!!!
Beachcomber
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Insanity! DC doesn't travel without dramatic loss. DC also causes spectacular fires! Edison was an idiot.

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