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AC vs. DC Switch: Which One to Choose?

Updated on Oct 12, 2021 by
8.4k

Switches play a vital role in controlling the flow of electricity. When it comes to switches powered by different power systems, there are two primary types in the market: AC (alternating current) switches and DC (direct current) switches. Understanding the differences between these two options is crucial for selecting the right switch for your specific needs. In this article, we will explore the disparities between AC and DC switches and provide insights on how to make an informed choice.

AC Switch vs. DC Switch: What Are They?

AC Switch

AC switches are designed to handle alternating current (AC), which is the most common form of electricity supplied to homes and businesses. Alternating current periodically changes direction, oscillating between positive and negative polarities. AC switches are capable of interrupting the current flow during both positive and negative half-cycles, making them suitable for controlling AC power sources. Take S5850-24S2C as an example. It supports dual hot-swappable AC power supplies.

FS AC Switch

DC Switch

DC switches, on the other hand, are designed to handle direct current (DC), which flows steadily in one direction without changing polarity. Direct current is commonly used in batteries, electronic devices, and certain industrial applications. DC switches are specifically engineered to control the flow of direct current, ensuring smooth and uninterrupted power distribution. Take S5800-48T4S-DC as an example. It supports dual hot-swappable DC power supplies.

FS DC Switch

AC vs. DC Switch: What Are the Differences?

One of the key differences between AC and DC switches lies in the nature of the power they control. AC switches are designed to handle the alternating nature of the current, while DC switches are optimized for the steady flow of direct current. Additionally, AC switches need to be able to interrupt the current flow during both positive and negative half-cycles, which adds complexity to their design.

Another significant difference is the presence of an arc during the switching process. AC switches experience natural zero-crossings during the AC wave, which help extinguish arcs when interrupting the current flow. In contrast, DC switches have no zero-crossings, making it more challenging to extinguish arcs. Therefore, DC switches often require additional measures, such as magnetic blowouts or arc chutes, to suppress arcs effectively.

Furthermore, the electrical components used in AC and DC switches differ due to the unique requirements of each system. AC switches typically employ electromechanical contacts, such as relays or contactors, to handle the high voltage and current levels associated with AC power. DC switches, on the other hand, commonly use solid-state components like transistors or thyristors, which can efficiently control the flow of direct current.

AC vs. DC Switch: How to Choose?

When selecting between an AC switch and a DC switch, several factors should be considered. The first and foremost consideration is the type of power source you are working with. If you are dealing with an AC power system, an AC switch is the logical choice. Conversely, if your application involves a DC power source, a DC switch is the suitable option.

Another crucial factor is the specific requirements of your application. Consider the voltage and current levels involved, as well as the overall power demand. AC switches are typically more capable of handling high-voltage and high-current applications due to their design, while DC switches are better suited for lower voltage and current requirements.

Then if you choose the wrong type of switch, what should you do? To use AC switch in the DC location, a power inverter (changes DC to AC) should be added. DC switch can also convert AC power to DC power by using a rectifier. That is to say, when you choose the wrong DC/AC power switch, you may have to buy another network device(power inverter or rectifier) as a remedy. Or you can choose a switch that can operate on both AC and DC power supplies.

FS AC/DC Switches

To simplify the selection process, FS offers various switches that support AC and DC power. These switches provide the flexibility to handle different power sources, making them versatile solutions for various applications. Here is a table showcasing the specifics of some FS switch models that support both AC and DC power.

Note: This table is constantly updated.

Switch Model Ports Switching Capacity Forwarding Rate Power Supply Fan AC/DC Power
S5500-48F6S 48x 1G SFP | 6x 1G/10G SFP+ 216 Gbps 162 Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 3 Built-in Yes
S5500-48T6S 48x 10/100/1000BASE-T RJ45 | 6x 1G/10G SFP+ 216 Gbps 162 Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 2 Built-in Yes
S5800-48T4S 48x 10/100/1000BASE-T RJ45 | 4x 1G/10G SFP+ 176 Gbps 132 Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 3 Built-in Yes
S5800-48F4SR 48x 1G SFP | 4x 10G SFP+ 176 Gbps 132 Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 3 Built-in Yes
S5850-24S2C 24x 1/10G SFP+ | 2x 40/100G QSFP28 880 Gbps 540Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 3 Built-in Yes
S5850-24S2Q 24x 1G/10G SFP+ | 2x 40G QSFP+ 640 Gbps 480 Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 3 Built-in Yes
S5850-48S8C
48x 10Gb SFP+ | 8x 100Gb QSFP28
2.56Tbps 1905Mpps 2 (1+1 Redundancy) Hot-swappable 4 Built-in Yes

Final Thought

In conclusion, choosing between an AC switch and a DC switch depends on your unique requirements. By understanding the differences and considering the factors discussed in this article, you can make an informed decision and select the most suitable switch for your needs. Whether it's an AC switch or a DC switch, FS has you covered with reliable and versatile options to ensure efficient power control and distribution in your network.

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