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What is "Power Factor"? Why the power factor must be improved?


AC/DC ConverterHow to use

The power factor is specified characteristic about the efficiency of AC power supply.  To convert AC voltage to DC voltage, generally, a diode bridge is used for full wave rectification and a capacitor is used for smoothing the waveform to be close to a DC voltage.  Since an inductor and a capacitor are used for smoothing waveform, a difference of phase is generated between alternating voltage and current, and this phase difference is called power factor.  This phase difference loses the supplied power and the efficiency becomes worse than the ideal condition.  Thus, the power factor is described by a proportion between the consumption (valid) electric power and the supply (apparent) electric power. Therefore, it is used for calculation of the efficiency of AC power supply. The ideal power factor is 1.

If the power factor is bad, high apparent electric power is necessary to meet the consumption electric power, then, the electric power facility must support much heavier supply power than the ideal condition.

Bad power factor correction waveform

Good power factor correction waveform

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