Information to Performance and Circuits

The rectifier diode enables you to convert alternating present (AC) to direct present (DC). On this information, you’re going to find out how this element works and among the circuits you create through the use of one.

symbol and body

Diodes are probably the most generally used semiconductor gadgets in electronics. There are lots of varieties of diodes, however the commonest one might be the rectifier diode. It permits present to circulation in just one path and by connecting it a sure approach, you may convert AC to DC.

The rectifier diode is made similar to some other regular diode, however as a substitute of being designed for small currents, it’s designed for big currents and voltages. This makes it superb to make use of in energy provides.

The diode image is made up of a triangle pointing to a straight line. The triangle represents the path the present can circulation by way of the diode. For instance, within the image above, the present can transfer to the appropriate. However it might probably’t circulation the opposite approach.

PN junction

How you can Use a Rectifier Diode

Rectifier diodes enable present to circulation in just one path, from anode to cathode, additionally referred to as Ahead Bias. The rectifier diode in ahead bias is made by connecting the anode to essentially the most constructive facet and the cathode to essentially the most unfavourable facet. You possibly can see this within the instance beneath:

fordward bias basic

Within the above image, the diode is forward-biased, which implies that present can circulation by way of it and the LED will gentle up. While you use a rectifier diode on this approach, it acts just like a closed change that enables present to circulation by way of the circuit.

What occurs in case you reverse the connection of the diode, like this?

reverse bias basic

When the constructive terminal of the ability provide is with the cathode and the unfavourable terminal with the anode, the diode is Reverse Biased. With the sort of polarization, present can’t circulation by way of the rectifier diode, subsequently the LED gained’t gentle up within the above circuit.

What’s a Half-Wave Rectifier?

Within the examples above, the rectifier diode circuits used a DC energy provide, which implies a voltage with a hard and fast worth. Nonetheless, when this diode is related to an AC energy provide, that’s the place the “rectifying” property comes into play.

An AC energy provide supplies voltage in periodic oscillations moderately than a continuing worth, with a constructive half-cycle and a unfavourable half-cycle, like so:

sine wave

This type of voltage is what you discover within the retailers in your house. But, once you take a look at many of the electronics in your house, like your telephone or laptop computer, you’ll discover they want DC voltage to operate. That is why you want rectifier diodes; they assist you convert AC into DC.

Changing from AC to DC with a Rectifier Diode

Probably the most important step in changing AC into DC is the rectifying course of, which implies that it makes the unfavourable half-cycles disappear. The only approach to do that is with the next half-wave rectifier circuit:

Half-wave rectifier

Just one diode is required to assemble a half-wave rectifier. In the course of the constructive half-cycle of the AC voltage, the diode is forward-biased and the present can circulation by way of the diode. Within the unfavourable half-cycle of the AC voltage, the diode is reverse-biased and the circulation of present is blocked.

What you get from this circuit is a closing output that’s merely the constructive half-cycle waveform.

What’s a Full-Wave Rectifier?

While you solely get the constructive voltage values with a half-wave rectifier, the unfavourable half-cycle will get wasted. The answer to this drawback is a full-wave rectifier, which lets the constructive half-cycle circulation and converts the unfavourable half-cycles into positives.

Within the gadgets you employ, full-wave rectifiers are what are mostly used to transform AC voltage to DC voltage.

A full-wave rectifier circuit made with diodes known as a diode bridge. Try the diode bridge within the circuit beneath:

Full-wave rectifier

The diode bridge consists of 4 diodes – D1, D2, D3, and D4 – which can be related collectively. You possibly can see how D1 and D3 share the identical cathode, whereas D4 and D2 are related by the anode. On the identical time, the cathode of D4 is hooked up to the anode of D1 and the cathode of D2 is positioned within the anode of D3.

The Constructive Half-Cycle

In the course of the constructive half-cycle of the ability provide, diodes D1 and D2 can conduct, whereas diodes D3 and D4 can not as a result of they’re reverse-biased. With this association, the constructive half-cycle provides you a present that flows by way of the circuit, like so:

Full-wave rectifier positive cycle

The Adverse Half-cycle

In the course of the unfavourable half-cycle, diodes D3 and D4 conduct, whereas diodes D1 and D2 don’t. Though the circuit now receives the unfavourable half-cycle, you may see within the image beneath how the present flows by way of the load (output) in the identical path as earlier than. That’s how this circuit turns the unfavourable half-cycles into positives.

Full-wave rectifier negative cycle

What are Some Widespread Rectifier Diodes?

When you want to select a rectifier diode, you need to take into account some traits, for instance:

  • Peak reverse voltage: that is the utmost voltage the diode can face up to in reverse bias earlier than breakdown.
  • Most ahead present: the utmost worth of the ahead present that the diode can carry with out damaging the system.
  • Peak surge present: the utmost present surge {that a} diode can deal with for a brief time period.
  • Most voltage drop: that is the voltage that stays within the diode when it’s forward-biased. Generally, it will likely be 0.7v for diodes manufactured from silicon.

The next desk comprises a listing of the commonest rectifier diodes and their traits.

Diode identify Peak reverse
Max. ahead
Peak surge
Max voltage
1N4001 50 1 A 30 A 1.1
1N4002 100 1 A 30 A 1.1
1N4003 200 1 A 30 A 1.1
1N4004 400 1 A 30 A 1.1
1N4007 1000 1 A 30 A 1.1
1N5402 200 3 A 200 A 1.2
1N5406 600 3 A 200 A 1.2
1N5408 1000 3 A 200 A 1.2


Do you’ve gotten any questions on rectifier diodes or any suggestions you wish to share? Let me know within the feedback beneath!

Extra Diodes Tutorials


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