This SCR pre-regulator keeps the filter capacitor Vc, in a variable output power supply, a few volts above the output voltage V0. The benefits include: less heat dissipated by the pass transistor and therefore small heatsink, cooler operation and higher efficiency, especially at low output voltages. Ql, Rl, R2, Dl and D2 form a constant current source for zener Zl, so that the contribution to the output current is always a few mA (2-3 mA). The Darlington pair Q2, Q3 keeps the SCR off.
The voltage Vc decreases until Vc = V0 = V at which point the Darlington pair fires the SCR, charging the filter capacitor to a higher voltage VC1 in less than half the period of the input voltage. The component values, shown are for a 0 - 250-V, 3-A power supply.