Half-Wave Rectifier Circuit

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

A circuit that uses one cycle in an alternating current to produce direct current. A Half-Wave rectifier circuit only generates DC from either the positive or negative cycle of the AC input, but not both. Note that the Half-wave Rectifier circuit does not require a center tap transformer. The full wave diode rectifier produces dc voltage with only a small amount of ripple. A half-wave rectifier produces pulsating DC

Half-Wave Rectifier Circuit
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which requires a large amount of filtering to stabilize the output voltage [as seen in the output waveform]. In a half wave rectifier the dc voltage is only present for half the time, the output is zero voltage for the remainder of the time. The half-wave rectifier circuit is not used that often in electrical circuitry. As the graphic shows the output is far from a steady state DC output and would require a large amount of filtering. However by using a full-wave circuit [link above] the output is DC with only a small amount of ripple voltage [after a small amount of filtering]. No industrial grade power supply or commercial grade power supply would use a half-wave rectifier circuit. In fact a half-wave rectifier circuit will only be found [if used] in a low current linear power supply, switching power supplies use a completely different approach. Note that a full-wave rectifier circuit [2-diodes] will handle twice the amount of current because the current is split between the two diodes. This schematic shows the same 1-diode rectifier using an LC Choke. The inductor of the filter attempts to keep the current constant while the capacitor attempts to keep the output voltage steady. Neither of the circuits above show a surge resistor, however they are sometimes used. When the diode conducts there may be nothing in the circuit to limit the amount of current through the diode. In this case a surge resistor [Rs] is added in...

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