Simple A.C. Circuits


Simple A.C. Circuits Overview:

Welcome to the course material on Simple A.C. Circuits. In this topic, we delve into the fascinating world of Alternating Current (AC) circuits, which play a vital role in numerous electrical systems and devices we encounter in our daily lives. The key objectives of this course material revolve around understanding the concept of AC, distinguishing it from Direct Current (DC), analyzing the behavior of circuit elements like resistors, inductors, and capacitors in AC circuits, interpreting specific graphical representations, and examining the phase relationship between voltage and current in these elements.

To start our exploration, we will first focus on comprehending the fundamental disparities between AC and DC. Direct Current flows constantly in one direction, while Alternating Current cyclically changes its direction, oscillating back and forth. Understanding this dichotomy is essential as AC power is predominant in powering homes, industries, and various electronic devices due to its efficient transmission characteristics.

The behavior of resistors, inductors, and capacitors in AC circuits is a critical aspect that we will extensively cover. Resistors impede the flow of current, inductors store energy in the form of magnetic fields, and capacitors store energy in an electric field. These components exhibit distinct responses in AC circuits compared to DC circuits, necessitating a comprehensive understanding of their interactions with alternating voltages and currents.

Graphs play a pivotal role in visualizing the behavior of AC circuits. Specifically, we will delve into graphs of equations such as I – Io sin wt and E = Eo sin wt, which depict the current and voltage variations with respect to time. These graphical representations provide insights into the periodic nature of AC and aid in analyzing the magnitude and phase relationships between current and voltage.

Furthermore, our journey will involve exploring the phase relationships between voltage and current in circuit elements, namely resistors, inductors, and capacitors. Understanding the phase shifts in these elements is crucial for optimizing the efficiency of AC circuits and ensuring the proper functioning of electrical systems.

In applying the knowledge gained from this course material, you will develop the proficiency to solve complex problems involving AC circuits, thereby honing your analytical and problem-solving skills in the realm of electrical engineering. By the end of this comprehensive study, you will have a profound understanding of Simple A.C. Circuits and be equipped to tackle real-world challenges in the dynamic field of electrical technology.


  1. Understand the concept of alternating current (AC)
  2. Interpret graphs of equations I – Io sin wt and E = Eo sin wt
  3. Examine the phase relationship between voltage and current in circuit elements
  4. Distinguish between direct current (DC) and AC
  5. Analyze the behavior of resistors, inductors, and capacitors in AC circuits
  6. Apply knowledge to solve problems involving AC circuits

Lesson Note

Electricity comes in two main forms: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Understanding the characteristics and behavior of AC circuits is essential for anyone studying electronics or electrical engineering. While DC is straightforward, flowing in one consistent direction, AC is more complex as it periodically reverses direction. Let's delve into the fascinating world of Simple AC Circuits.

Lesson Evaluation

Congratulations on completing the lesson on Simple A.C. Circuits. Now that youve explored the key concepts and ideas, its time to put your knowledge to the test. This section offers a variety of practice questions designed to reinforce your understanding and help you gauge your grasp of the material.

You will encounter a mix of question types, including multiple-choice questions, short answer questions, and essay questions. Each question is thoughtfully crafted to assess different aspects of your knowledge and critical thinking skills.

Use this evaluation section as an opportunity to reinforce your understanding of the topic and to identify any areas where you may need additional study. Don't be discouraged by any challenges you encounter; instead, view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.

  1. What is the term used to describe the phase relationship between voltage and current in circuit elements such as resistors, inductors, and capacitors in an AC circuit? A. Phase difference B. Amplitude ratio C. Frequency correlation D. Power factor Answer: Phase difference
  2. In an AC circuit, how does the current behave in comparison to the voltage in a resistor? A. In-phase B. Out-of-phase by 90 degrees C. Out-of-phase by 180 degrees D. Out-of-phase by 270 degrees Answer: In-phase
  3. Which type of circuit element in an AC circuit has the current lagging behind the voltage? A. Resistor B. Inductor C. Capacitor D. Diode Answer: Inductor
  4. What is the graphical representation of E = Eo sin wt in an AC circuit? A. Sine wave B. Square wave C. Triangular wave D. Sawtooth wave Answer: Sine wave
  5. How do inductors respond to changes in the applied AC voltage in a circuit? A. By storing energy in a magnetic field B. By converting electrical energy to heat C. By blocking the flow of current D. By changing their resistance value Answer: By storing energy in a magnetic field

Recommended Books

Past Questions

Wondering what past questions for this topic looks like? Here are a number of questions about Simple A.C. Circuits from previous years

Question 1 Report

You are provided with a battery of e.m.f, Estandard resistor, R, of resistance 2 Ω Ω , a key, K, an ammeter, A, a jockey, J, a potentiometer, UV, and some connecting wires.

(i) Measure and record the emfE, of the battery.

(ii) Set up the circuit as shown in the diagram above with the key open.

(iii) Place the jockey at the point, U, of the potentiometer wire. Close the key and record the reading, i, of the ammeter.

(iv) Place the jockey at a point on the potentiometer wire UV such that d = UT = 30.0 cm.

(v) Close the circuit, read and record the current, I, on the ammeter,

(vi) Evaluate I1 1 .

(vi) Repeat the experiment for four other values of d = 40.0 cm, 50.0 cm, 60.0 cm and 70.0 cm. In each case, record I and evaluate I1 1 .

(vii) Tabulate the results

(ix) Plot a graph with d on the vertical axis and I on the horizontal axis stalling both axes from the origin (0,0).

(x) Determine the slope, s, of the graph.

(xi) From the graph determine the value I1 1 , of when = 0. (ci) Given that=s, calculate 8.

(xii) State two precautions taken to ensure accurate results.

(xii) Given that Eδ  = s, calculate δ .

(b)(i) Write down the equation that connects the resistance, R, of a wire and the factors on which it depends. State the meaning of each of the symbols.

(ii) An electric fan draws a current of0.75 A in a 240 V circuit. Calculate the cost of using, the fan for 10 hours if the utility rate is $ 0.50 per kWh.

Question 1 Report

A transformer has an efficiency of 92.5%. the ratio number of turns in the primary coil to that in the secondary coil is 128 : 45. If the current passing through the secondary coil is 9.0A, calculate the current passing through the primary-coil.

Question 1 Report

A generator manufacturing company accidentally made an AC generator instead of a DC generator. To fix this error,

Practice a number of Simple A.C. Circuits past questions