Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Another question emailed by a user, with my reply...

I found your video and info on NiChrome wire interesting.  I am working on a much longer run of NiChrome wire to burn through some tough fabric.  Are you available to discuss AC vs DC voltages?

No problem at all.

Long story short, when it comes to a resistance wire application (nichrome wire) it really doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is, NiChrome wire only requires an applied electrical pressure (voltage) and a current running through the circuit. Whether its a constant flow from direct current, or an alternating flow from alternating current it doesn't make any difference.

But as far as what your specific project requires, it really depends on the length of wire and the diameter you'll require - as you may be aware, both will impact the electrical requirements. 

AC power supplies are usually cheaper and have a higher voltage capability. Whereas DC power supplies are sometimes easier to come by.  I always warn users to be cautious of any power supply that outputs more than 45 volts, which is the threshold for penetrating dry human skin. Not many circuits require voltages this high, so why run the risk with a high output AC transformer? But both are perfectly acceptable options.

Jacob's Online has some good solid state step down AC transformers that are beefy and can handle quite the load. So if you intend on making your own supply, check out what he has stocked. I've personally made a power supply from his units, and it works great!

Otherwise check out the Benchtop Power Supply Section of the website which lists a few vendors that have great customer service and a variety of power supplies. I've referenced a few times, they have a great section on AC transformers

Hope that helps!


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