Edwards AFB

“Other frequency converters were larger, heavier and more expensive than the Falcon UPS.”

Mechanical Engineer, 412 Test Wing / Test & Eval.

An alternating current (AC) occurs when charge carriers in a conductor reverse their direction of movement over a period of time. Household utility current in the United States and most other countries in the Americas is AC with a frequency of 60 Hertz (60 complete cycles per second). On the European continent and in many other countries, the utility is generated at 50 Hertz (Hz). Some military and aircraft applications generate 400Hz power and are rarely found outside of their respective areas. For more information on our 400Hz frequency converter solutions, refer to our Military and Aerospace Section. All AC frequencies are generated in a sine waveform. The example below shows a typical AC sine wave.


Alternating Current and Frequency Conversion

Alternating current is generated in various voltages. In the U.S., the most common voltage found at the typical household outlet is 120 Volts AC (Vac) at 60Hz. For commercial applications, 208Vac and 240Vac at 60Hz are also found. In Europe, the most common voltage is 230Vac at 50Hz; other 50Hz voltages are also found. The total solution for both voltage and frequency conversion is a dedicated voltage and frequency converter. In contrast, an independent solid state frequency converter or international voltage converters will solve only one element.

International Voltage Converters

Typically, most U.S. equipment has been designed to operate on 120Vac, 60Hz and will not operate from a European utility source without a voltage converter. International voltage converters, whether a solid state frequency converter or not, usually consist of a simple transformer that steps the utility voltage down or up to match the equipment’s requirements.

This transformer type voltage converter does not convert the AC frequency. Some equipment must operate at the AC frequency for it was designed to prevent equipment damage. Care must be taken to properly research the requirements for any equipment or device that is to be operated on a differing utility frequency. The specified input voltage and frequency is usually stated on a label located somewhere on the equipment. When planning to operate the equipment on an alternate utility frequency, refer to the owner’s manual or contact the equipment manufacturer to verify compatibility with the differing utility frequency.

Frequency conversion is more difficult and costly to accomplish than simple voltage conversion. An entirely new AC sinewave of the correct frequency must be regenerated from the incoming utility power. Falcon Electric’s On-line products, such as the SSG, SC, SVR, FN or ED models have been specifically designed to meet this demanding application. Falcon also offers selected models that provide both voltage and frequency conversion in the same unit. Many models also provide battery backup and can be configured with optional extended battery banks, which yield hours of backup time.

Much More Than a Voltage & Frequency Converter

Falcon Electric’s On-line voltage and frequency converters deliver superior output voltage regulation (±2% typical). They also provide a high level of protection against a broad spectrum of power problems, such as transients, surges, brownouts, high line conditions and noise. Some models have internal galvanic isolation, which is the best solution for eliminating common mode noise and ground loop problems. SSG, SC, FN and SVR models are equipped with input power factor correction that reduces input current and harmonics.

Don’t be confused: Off-line and Line-interactive products on the market pass the incoming utility AC directly through to their output and cannot be used as frequency converters.

To determine the product with frequency conversion that best meets your requirements, click here to view our Industrial UPS with Frequency Converter Option or our MilCOTS Voltage and Frequency Converters.