What Is A Bridge Rectifier; Circuit Diagram of A Bridge Rectifier

Are you searching for an in-depth explanation of what a bridge rectifier is all about? Then, this article will be helpful.

Most electronic circuits require a rectified DC source to supply power to various electronic components when they are powered by the available AC mains supply.

Rectifiers convert AC power into DC power. One of the most effective rectifier circuits is the bridge rectifier.

Before going to a bridge rectifier, we need to know what a rectifier is and the need for a rectifier. Read on to understand how bridge rectifiers have evolved.

Bridge Rectifiers: A Rundown

Bridge Rectifiers_ A Rundown

A circuit that has one or more diodes and allows only one current to flow in one direction is known as a rectifier.

Simply put, it changes alternating current into direct current. Depending on the application, rectifiers can be in various shapes, such as semiconductor diodes, vacuum tube diodes, mercury-arc valves, etc.

Furthermore, we need direct current (DC) voltage to work in a great number of electronic circuits. You can use a P-N junction diode device to convert AC voltage into DC voltage or DC.

In essence, when an electric current is forward bias, it enables a P-N junction diode to block it when it is in reverse bias.

What permits an electric current to flow in one direction is a diode. It works like a rectifier since it is the diode’s characteristic.

Having briefly explained what rectifier means, let’s find out what a bridge rectifier is.

What Is A Bridge Rectifier?

What Is A Bridge Rectifier_

First, a bridge rectifier is an alternating current (AC) to a Direct Current (DC) converter that converts the main AC input to DC output. Power supplies that deliver the right DC voltage for electrical components or devices are common in bridge rectifiers.

Furthermore, they can be created with four or more diodes or any other type of controlled solid-state switch. Also, you can select the perfect bridge rectifier depending on the load current requirements.

Plus, when you’re picking a rectifier power supply for an acceptable electronic circuit’s application, consider component ratings, breakdown voltage, temperature ranges, mounting requirements, and current rating.

For that reason, below is the construction illustration of a bridge rectifier.


The load resistor RL and the D1, D2, D3, D4 diodes make up the bridge rectifier. To convert alternating current into Direct Current perfectly, you’ll couple the four diodes into a closed-loop (Bridge) design.

Also, the lack of an exclusive center-tapped transformer is a great benefit of this design. As a result, the size and the cost will reduce.

Furthermore, across the two terminals, A & B, once the input signal is applied, the o/p DC signal can be gotten across the RL. Nevertheless, there is a link between two terminals, C and D, with a load resistor.

During every half cycle, the configuration of two diodes design can be in such a way that it transmits electricity with two diodes.

Plus, during the positive half cycle, the pairs of diodes such as D1 and D33 will conduct electric current. D2 and D4 diodes will carry electric current throughout a negative half cycle.

That is that on the bridge rectifier construction. Then you can still read up the features after this sentence.

Characteristics Of A Bridge Rectifier

Characteristics Of A Bridge Rectifier

Ripple Factor or Voltage Drops of Bridge Rectifier

Bear in mind that the current flowing in a bridge rectifier will pass through two diodes. Subsequently, with this amount, the output voltage will drop.

Furthermore, as the current increases, this drop will be a minimum of 1.2 volts since most bridge rectifiers use silicon diodes.

Plus, a minimum of 1.2 volts down on the peak voltage of the AC input is what the maximum voltage output will achieve.

Peak Inverse Voltage (PIV)

The diodes will break down if the individual diodes or the peak inverse voltage bridge rectifier exceeds. The PIV rating of the diodes in a bridge rectifier is less than what is required for the two diodes configuration used with a center-tapped transformer.

For the same output voltage in a center-tapped rectifier, the bridge needs diodes with half the peak inverse voltage (PIV) if it neglects the diode drop.

Furthermore, diodes D1 and D4 conduct, and the diodes D2 and D3 are reverse biased because the diodes are equal.

Plus, it carries out smooth performance since the bridge rectifier creates a full-wave rectifying output.

The Efficiency Of Bridge Rectifier

How the rectifier converts Alternating Current (AC) into Direct Current (DC) efficiently is determined by the rectifier efficiency.

The ratio of the AC input power to the DC output power is the definition of rectifier efficiency. 81.2% is the maximum efficiency of a bridge rectifier.

Calculate Heat Disappears In The Rectifier

With a minimum of 1.2 volts, the diodes drop the voltage like a standard silicon diode which increases as the current rises. The outcome is from the resistance within the diode and the standard voltage drop across the diode.

Bear in mind that within the bridge for any half cycle, the current goes through two diodes. To view the current level of the voltage drop, you’ll check the datasheet for the diodes of the bridge rectifier.

The current that passes through the rectifier and the voltage drop needs to disappear when it gives rise to heat. Air cooling can make it disappear, but in some cases, you can bolt the bridge rectifier to a heat sink.

Plus, the construction of many bridge rectifiers is to bolt them onto a heat sink.

Can you quickly read through the next subheading to know the types?

Types Of Bridge Rectifiers

Types Of Bridge Rectifiers

There are two types of rectifiers which are uncontrolled rectifiers and controlled rectifiers.

Uncontrolled Rectifier

Apparently, the output voltage of a rectifier that is not controllable is called an uncontrolled rectifier. Also, a rectifier uses switches, which come in various types, including controllable and uncontrollable.

Therefore, the major operation of a two-terminal component such as a diode is to allow current flow in one way since it’s a unidirectional device. Furthermore, you cannot control this device because it only operates if it’s connected in a forward-biased configuration.

The rectifier is called an uncontrolled rectifier when a diode is linked to a rectifier in any configuration because an operator cannot control it completely.

In addition, it does not allow the power to adjust depending on the load’s requirements. Basically, in a permanent or stable power supply, that’s where you’ll come across this type of rectifier.

Finally, depending on AC input, it uses diodes to create a permanent output voltage. The classification of an uncontrolled rectifier is of two types which are half-wave and full-wave rectifiers.

Half-Wave Rectifier

The positive half cycle is visible across the load, while it covers up the negative half cycle when you place an AC supply at the input of this type of rectifier.

Also, a single-phase supply needs one diode, whereas a three-phase supply needs three diodes. Only half of the input waveforms make it to the output; therefore, it is not capable.

Plus, more filtering is necessary for the half-wave rectifier circuit to lessen the AC frequency ripples from the output.

Positive Half Wave Rectifier

This rectifier blocks the negative half cycle and changes the positive half cycle.

Negative Half Wave Rectifier

This type of rectifier changes the negative half cycle of the alternating current into a direct current. Also, it comes with a single diode, unlike other types of rectifiers which makes a half-wave rectifier very simple.

Furthermore, a forward bias is when a diode permits the flow of current in one direction. You can link this diode with a load resistor “RL” in series.

Positive Half Cycle

Forward bias occurs when the anode terminal of a diode turns positive during the positive half cycle while the cathode terminal turns negative. Also, it will allow the positive cycle to continue to provide.

Negative Half Cycle

Reverse bias occurs when the anode terminal of a diode becomes negative, while the cathode terminal becomes positive during the negative half cycle. It supplies a half-cycle of power when you link an alternating current source to the half-wave rectifier.

Furthermore, the load resistor or RL connections take the output to the rectifier. Consequently, the pulsing +ve half cycle of the input waveform will be the output waveform.

However, you can’t use it as a DC source because the output of a half-wave rectifier has various ripples.

Overall, you can attach a capacitor across the resistor, and it will charge during the positive cycle and discharge during the negative cycle if you want to create a level output signal.

Full-Wave Rectifier

The flow of current through the load is in the same direction during both half cycles when the AC power supplies to the input.

Also, by changing both phases of the input waveform to pulsating DC, this circuit produces a higher standard output voltage. Using at least two crystal diodes that conduct current in opposite directions can accomplish this type of rectification.

In a full-wave rectifier circuit, the use of more than one diode is necessary. The two types of rectifiers are bridge rectifiers and center tap rectifiers.

Center Tap Full-Wave Bridge Rectifier

Firstly, a transformer with the secondary winding tapped in the center point is what this type of rectifier uses. Each of them uses half of the input AC voltage because two diodes make up the circuit.

One diode uses the AC voltage from the lower half of the secondary winding, while the upper half uses the secondary winding for rectification.

Furthermore, the AC supply provides power to both parts because this circuit has a high output and efficiency. The terminal T1 will produce a negative cycle during the negative half cycle.

Meanwhile, the terminal T2 will produce a positive cycle.

In addition, the D2 diode links to the forward bias while the D1 diode connects to the reverse bias. Notwithstanding, the current flow that obtains the channel from terminals T3 to T1 is similar to the polarity across the RL.

Although it is not as level as constant DC, the direct current output of this rectifier has ripples as well. To produce a stable Direct Current output, a capacitor at the circuit’s output eliminates the ripple.

Full Wave Bridge Rectifier

A rectifier circuit with four diodes in a bridge topology is what we call a bridge rectifier circuit.

The rectified AC supply is given to the bridge’s diagonally opposed ends, with the load resistor connected across the bridge’s remaining two diagonally opposed ends.

Controlled Rectifiers

A controlled rectifier is one in which the output voltage of the rectifier changes or varies. When you examine the flaws of an uncontrolled bridge rectifier, the need for a controlled rectifier becomes evident.

The use of current-controlled devices such as SCRs, IGBTs, and MOSFETs is necessary because it converts an uncontrolled rectifier to a controlled rectifier. Depending on the positive gate signals, you’ll have perfect control after you turn ON/OFF SCRs.

In essence, they are preferably over their uncontrolled counterparts. Another name for a silicon-controlled rectifier is a thyristor. Anode, Cathode, and Gate are the three terminals of a three-terminal diode.

Additionally, while blocking current in reverse bias performs similarly to a regular diode in forwarding bias. Once a signal is present at the gate’s terminal input, it only begins forward conduction.

Above all, in managing the output voltage, the gate output is essential. The two types of controlled rectifiers are half-wave and full-wave rectifiers.

Half Wave Controlled Rectifier

A Single Controlled Rectifier (SCR) can be used to design the half-wave controller rectifier.

Furthermore, the half-wave controlled rectifier’s design is similar to that of a half-wave uncontrolled rectifier, with the exception that the diode is changed using an SCR.

Also, SCR does not operate in reverse bias; therefore, it will block the negative half cycle.

The SCR will conduct current on only one condition throughout the positive half cycle once a pulse is applied to the gate’s terminal.

Additionally, this signal’s primary function is to turn on the SCR for every positive half-cycle. Using this way, regulates the rectifier’s output.

The SCR is a pulsing DC or voltage.

Finally, with the help of a capacitor linked in parallel to the RL, these pulses are decoupled.

Full Wave Controlled Rectifier

This converts both the positive and negative half cycles of AC into DC while controlling the output amplitude.

The classification of this rectifier is in two forms. They are controlled bridge, and controlled center tapped.

So now I will be taking you to the application and also the uses of bridge rectifiers.

Application And Uses Of Bridge Rectifiers

Application And Uses Of Bridge Rectifiers

The main aim of a rectifier is to convert DC power from AC power. Almost all electronic appliances use rectifiers inside their power supplies.

Here are the applications of a rectifier:

Rectifiers powers Appliances

Briefly, all electrical equipment needs a direct current supply to work, as you may know. For the conversion of alternating current to direct current, a rectifier in the power supply helps.

Also, bridge rectifiers are common in large appliances to convert high AC voltage to low DC voltage.


With the help of a half-wave rectifier, you may produce the DC voltage of your choice by using step-down or step-up transformers.

Also, full-wave rectifiers power the motor and led, which operates on direct current or voltage.

Uses of Rectifier While Soldering

For circuits that require a soldering iron, you can use a half-wave rectifier as well as a mosquito repellent to drive the lead for the fumes.

To produce stable and unidirectional DC power, you can use bridge rectifiers circuits in electric welding.

Amplitude Modulation (AM) Radio

You can use a half-wave rectifier as a detector because the output of an AM radio is an audio signal.

In addition, it is of less service to the more complex rectifier because the current is less intense.


You can use a half-wave rectifier to demodulate the amplitude of a modulated signal.

Also, to measure the amplitude of a modulating signal, you can use a full-wave bridge in radio communications.

Join me while I take you to the advantages and disadvantages of a bridge rectifier.

Pros And Cons Of A Bridge Rectifier

Pros And Cons Of A Bridge Rectifier


Here are the benefits of using a bridge rectifier:

  • A full-wave rectifier has twice the rectification efficiency of a half-wave rectifier.
  • Furthermore, in a full-wave rectifier, the ripple voltage is low and of greater frequency, therefore, it requires a filtering circuit.
  • Also, the output voltage, output power, and transformer utilization factor are all higher in the case of a full-wave rectifier.
  • The transformer a bridge rectifier requires is simpler because the transformer secondary does not require a center tap.
  • You can remove the transformer completely if it doesn’t need the voltage stepping up or down.
  • The current in both primary and secondary windings of the supply transformer flows during the whole AC cycle, because, in the case of a bridge rectifier, you can use a transformer for stable power output.
  • For high frequency and low ripple voltage, it uses simple filter circuits.
  • In comparison to a center-tapped rectifier, transformer utilization factor (TUF) is greater.


These are the following disadvantages of a bridge rectifier:

  • It lowers the output voltage because the addition of two extra diodes will result in a voltage drop.
  • In this case, the circuit can be useless due to the inner resistance of the diodes. They can be coupled in series which creates a double voltage drop.
  • Also, the cost of the rectifier will be expensive because this rectifier requires four diodes.
  • The bridge rectifier has greater power when you compare it to a center-tap rectifier.
  • Lastly, it needs the use of four diodes.

My Conclusion; What Is A Bridge Rectifier

My Conclusion; What Is A Bridge Rectifier

This article covers bridge rectifiers’ theory, kinds, circuits, and working principles.

One of the types of rectifiers is a bridge rectifier. A rectifier is a device that transforms alternating current to direct current.

I hope this detailed overview on this topic will be useful in your electrical projects and in observing various electronics gadgets or appliances.

I hope you found this PowerVersity pick helpful?

If you found it helpful, kindly share your thoughts with the “L”ave a Reply” “orm found towards the end of this page.

Finally, you may want to read other articles like this. Visit our below pages.

What Is An Electrical Switch

What Is A Circuit Breaker

Akpan Iniobong
Akpan Iniobong
Akpan Iniobong is a Technical Writer for PowerVersity.com. She has a B.A in Religious Studies. She loves hiking, reading, and socializing. In PowerVersity.com, she writes buying guides and product best picks.


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