Basic Information about AC and DC Coupling

AC coupling consists of using a capacitor to filter out the DC signal component from a signal with both AC and DC components. The capacitor must be in series with the signal. AC coupling is useful because the DC component of a signal acts as a voltage offset, and removing it from the signal can increase the resolution of signal measurements. AC coupling is also known as capacitive coupling.

DC coupling allows both AC and DC signals to pass through a connection. When using DC coupling, no additional capacitor is added to filter the signal.

To AC couple a signal with an NI data acquisition (DAQ) device, insert a capacitor in series with the signal, between the positive lead of the signal and the positive analog input channel on the DAQ device. Wire the negative lead of the signal directly to the corresponding negative analog input channel.  This removes the DC component from the signal, which centers the AC signal at 0 volts.

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