How Do Rectifiers Work?

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Are There Different Types of Rectifiers?

  • There are many different types of rectifiers that are used in electronics to serve wholly different purposes. The two major varieties that warrant serious analysis are half-wave rectifiers and full-wave rectifiers. One or the other of these two basic types of rectifiers is found in the vast majority of consumer electronics. Either way, both forms of rectifier work by changing alternating current into direct current; it's only the method that is different.

How Do Half-Wave Rectifiers Work?

  • Half-wave rectifiers work by passing half of the alternating electrical current through one or more diodes, thereby converting that half of the alternating current into direct electrical current. Half-wave rectifiers aren't very efficient because they convert only half of the alternating current (either the positive or the negative charge) into direct current. On the other hand, half-wave rectifiers are much less complicated and require only one diode to function.

How Do Full-Wave Rectifiers Work?

  • Full-wave rectifiers are more complex than half-wave rectifiers, but they are also much more efficient. Full-wave rectifiers generally use four diodes to function. They pass the alternating current through the four-diode system, changing the entire current into a direct current.

What Are Rectifiers Used For?

  • Rectifiers are used in the vast majority of consumer electronics today and are required for most devices to work properly. Most electronics need a direct current to function, but the standard form of electricity that is transmitted to homes is alternating current. Because of this, rectifiers are needed to change the alternating current into direct current inside the electronics so that they can function correctly.

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