A frequency changer makes it possible to change electricity moving at one frequency to another frequency. However, in order to fully understand what a frequency changer does, it is helpful to understand the frequency of electricity.
The Frequency of Electricity
Electricity doesn't move at one specific speed. In fact, it can move at many speeds. Some electronic devices require a set frequency or speed, while others can run proficiently at a range of speeds. The speed of electricity or frequency is measured in Hertz or Hz. One Hertz is one cycle or frequency per second. For instance, if a heart beats 60 times per minute (once a second) it is 1Hz. While a heart has a slow frequency, computers and other electronics can move quite quickly. For instance, the speed of AC (alternating current- which is the type of electricity we have in our homes) runs in America at 60 Hz, however in Europe the AC frequency is a drop slower at 50 Hz.
While AC electricity runs at Hz, faster cycles are written as KHz (one thousand cycles per second), MHz (one million cycles per second) and GHz (one billion cycles per second). For instance, a computer chip can run quite fast at 1.8 GHz (1.8 billion cycles per second). You can measure the frequency of electricity with the help of a frequency meter.
What is a Frequency Changer?
A frequency changer is a tool that is used to change the frequency of electricity. This was accomplished in the past by motor generator sets or converters to do so. However, since the inception of solid state electronics, frequency changers are completely electronic with no need for additional parts such as motors or converters.
A solid state frequency charger usually consists of a rectifier state. A rectifier state is able to create direct current (DC- the type of electricity your car battery creates); this DC current is then inverted to easily produce AC current of the desired frequency. Many frequency changers also can change the voltage or strength of the electricity; in this case a transformer that can increase the power of the voltage is usually included with a frequency changer. It should be noted that frequency changers usually have a determinate range in their power handling capability. Usually most frequency changers can change the frequency of electricity from only a few watts to megawatts.
Applications of Frequency Changers
Frequency changers are used in many applications. For instance, a frequency changer is used to control the speed of pumps and fans. By controlling the speed of pumps and fans, energy savings can be realized. Many times the amount of energy a pumps and fan uses can be decreased just by changing the frequency. Another application where frequency changers are used often is in manufacturing and industry. In the industrial sector, many components require specific electric frequencies to operate smoothly.
Frequency changers are also used heavily in the control of the speed and torque of AC motors. Many electronic devices have motors that require specific frequencies to power motors and torque correctly. A vacuum cleaner will need much more energy and torque than a simple desk fan to operate.