What is Bridge rectifier and its basic applications?
The vast majority of electrical systems in the United States are wired and designed for alternating current, or AC. Homes, office buildings, and businesses all run on AC. Most electronics, however, need direct current, or DC, to run properly. There are several different ways to convert AC to DC, but for this blog, we will focus on the use of diode bridges, or bridge rectifiers.
A diode bridge is an arrangement of four or more diodes in a bridge circuit configuration that provides the same polarity of output for either polarity of input. In other words, no matter what type of current is put into the bridge, the same type of current comes out. When a diode bridge is used to convert alternating current input into a direct current output, it is called a bridge rectifier. A bridge rectifier provides full wave refraction from a two-wire AC input, resulting in lower costs and weight compared to a rectifier with a three-wire output from a transformer with a center-tapped secondary winding.
There are several advantages of bridge rectifiers over other devices that share a similar role. The rectification of a full-wave rectifier like a bridge rectifier is twice that of a half-wave rectifier, which means there is higher output voltage, higher output power, and higher transformation utilization factor in a full-wave rectifier. The ripple voltage is lower and of a higher frequency in the case of a full-wave rectifier, so a simpler filtering circuit can be used. No center tap is required in the transformer secondary, so the bridge rectifier’s design is simpler.
Bridge rectifiers are not without their disadvantages, however. A bridge rectifier requires four diodes, which makes it more expensive than alternative options. Additionally, because voltage drops in every diode that the electricity must flow through, there is a drop in voltage, and rectification efficiency. However, this drop is not enough to keep bridge rectifiers from being more efficient than half-wave rectifiers.
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