A rectifier is an electrical device that consists of one or more diodes and converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC).
- A diode is like a one-way valve, in which electrical current only flows in one direction. This process is called correction .
- The diode is useful for this function due to its non-linear properties that current exists for a voltage polarity but is essentially zero for the opposite polarity.
- DC power is needed to power radios, televisions, computers, battery chargers, cell phone chargers, etc. For this reason, rectifiers are used in most of our everyday devices.
- Almost all rectifiers contain more than one diode in certain arrangements. A rectifier also has different waveforms, such as:
- Half wave : Either the positive or the negative wave is run through and the other wave is blocked. It is not efficient because only half of the input waveform reaches the output.
- Full wave : Inverts the negative part of the AC waveform and combines it with the positive.
One of the main problems with rectifiers is that AC has peaks and troughs that may not produce a constant DC voltage. Typically, a smoothing circuit or filter must be coupled to the rectifier to get a smooth DC current.