A rectifier is a device that converts currents, specifically an alternating current into a direct one, by allowing the current to flow through it in one direction. This allows electronic devices to function properly – in fact, without a rectifier, most electronics simply wouldn’t work. Rectifiers are used across a wide variety of devices and can be used to modify electronic systems. Below, we break down the basics of solid state rectifiers so you have a comprehensive understanding of what to consider for your application.
As mentioned, a rectifier is a diode that takes action to convert the currents into high-quality DC to power electronic equipment. Rectification is the process of converting alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) which involves a device that only allows the current to flow in a single direction. Without the right rectifier, it will be challenging – if not impossible – to configure your electronic system.
Types of Solid State Rectifiers
Rectifiers are categorized in different ways, each dependent on the situation they are being used in as well as factors such as configuration and components used.
Single-Phase & Three-Phase Rectifiers
These rectifiers indicate how many diodes are used in a circuit. Single-phase rectifiers have a one-phase input of AC and utilize a very simple structure, needing fewer diodes. Three-phase rectifiers have an input of three-phase AV and need more diodes, typically three to six. Generally, three-phase rectifiers are used in larger systems that require more power.
Half-Wave & Full-Wave Rectifiers
Half-wave rectifiers convert a half cycle of AC input into DC output, while in turn blocking the unused half. The half-cycle can be either negative or positive, and only one diode is required. Full-wave rectifiers convert both negative and positive half cycles from AC input to DC output, tending to be more effective since no signal is wasted due to both cycles being used.
Bridge rectifiers are used to direct current voltage to components, often used in power supplies, and require four or more diodes. The diodes work in pairs, with one set allowing electric current through the positive half cycle and the other pair allowing current through the negative.
Uncontrolled & Controlled Rectifiers
Controlled rectifiers use thyristors to control DC output, while uncontrolled rectifiers are when only diodes are used. Since diodes can only be on or off, controlled rectifiers allow for more accuracy, continued control, and less waste of power.
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