What is a bridge rectifier? – Types, function and operation

In the world of electronics, there is an enormous amount of electrical components that allow the efficient use of electricity. The correct use of the elements allows the creation of complex circuits that give way to large-scale devices, such as a forklift or even a computer.

There is a diversity of basic elements that are necessary, such as rectifying bridges, which become essential in the corresponding areas. Today you will know the simplest and most important aspects on a bridge rectifieras well as its use and operation thereof.

Meaning and definition of bridge rectifier

The electric current has a particular behavior, which generates a certain wave that is studied and analyzed through devices such as oscilloscopes. Now, a bridge rectifier is a device that is responsible for rectifying the wave generated by circulating electric current in a circuit.

As such, a bridge rectifier is a device that is made up of four or more diodes, whose configuration allows to change the nature of the electric wave. Therefore, all bridge rectifiers using diodes are used in equipment to convert alternating current to direct current.

As a curious fact, it is much more practical and easy to do AC to DC conversion. Thus, the vast majority of current electronic devices have bridge rectifiers in their circuits.

What is a full wave bridge rectifier?

It is one of the different types of wave rectifiers that are currently used. Unlike others, this one stands out or is characterized by using only two diodes in the electrical circuit. In other words, completely different from half-wave bridge rectifiers, since it takes into account the negative part of the electrical wave. However, in most cases it is usually use 4 diodes in the electrical system.

It is thanks to the possibility of polarization of the diodes that it is possible to create a circuit with 4 of these elements and, thus, have the rectification of a complete wave and not a partial one. It is important to note that not all hardware or electronic devices necessarily have to work with a full wave rectifier. Its application will depend on the use that is going to be given to the device.

What is a diode bridge rectifier?

They are full wave rectifiers, which are used in power supplies that are in charge of supplying electrical energy with a defined voltage and not variable in time. These elements convert alternating current, which is supplied to the power supply, to direct current.

In this way, a stable, non-variable voltage and the necessary for the electronic device to function properly. This applies to all those equipment in the world of electronics that have a power source, such as computers, laptops, smart televisions, sound equipment, among others.

What is a bridge rectifier used for?

Its first use and the most fundamental of all, is that of convert current from one form to another. However, these elements, whether it is a half-wave or full-wave bridge rectifier, provide a low noise level, that is, they reduce noise levels and allow a correct analysis of the electricity that flows by certain device.

It must be taken into account that there is a great variety of bridge rectifier types, which vary their constitution within a circuit. In addition to those already mentioned, there are other more complex typesas they are:

Each of these has a set of specific applications and uses, however its main function remains the same. Here are some of the applications in which these can be used:

  1. They can be used as modulation signal detectors.
  2. It is possible to find them in the circuits of wind turbines.
  3. To be able to convert high voltage alternating current into direct current low voltage.
  4. in power supplies.
  5. Get a DC polarized voltage source.

How does a bridge rectifier work?

Every bridge rectifier has a series of elements that compose it, mainly diodes, although there is also the presence of electrical components such as resistance, but in very low quantity. Now, the diodes are placed in a very specific way, since the electric current wave rectification It will depend on how they are polarized, that is to say, that two diodes are polarized in a direct way and another two in an inverse way (this in case it is a rectifier bridge of 4 diodes).

The voltage that is usually rectified is generally has a voltage of 230 V. Its wave is made up of positive and negative half cycles. If current is circulated through a forward biased diode, it will leave only the positive part of the electrical wave.

Let’s imagine for a moment that we have the graphical form of the trigonometric expression “sine”. By making this circulate through a rectifying bridge, all the negative part, that is, the one that is from zero downwards, is completely canceled and the resultant is the positive part.

Now that you have only the part positive of that alternating current that is entering the circuit, the only thing left is to turn it into a straight line, graphically speaking. The reason for this is because alternating current is represented by a sine-like wave, while direct current is represented by a straight line parallel to the X axis.

The same system in which the bridge rectifier is located is responsible for obtaining a constant voltage and not variable as a function of time. However, it is vitally important to have the correct polarization of the diodes. Without this, the signal cannot be rectified and the alternating current will not change its nature to become direct current.

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