SMAW is performed using either AC or DCcurrent. Since DC current flows in one direction, DC current can be DC straight, (electrode negative) or DC reversed (electrode positive). With DC reversed,(DC+ OR DCRP) the weld penetration will be deep. DC straight (DC- OR DCSP) the weld will have a faster melt off and deposit rate. The weld will have medium penetration.
Ac current changes it's polarity 120 times a second by it's self and can not be changed as can DC current.