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In half wave rectifiers, we can see that it makes use
of only one-half cycle of the input alternating
current. But a full wave rectifier is a circuit
arrangement which makes use of both half cycles
of input alternating current and converts them to
direct current. Thus a full wave rectifier is much
more efficient than a half wave rectifier. This
process of converting both half cycles of the input
supply (alternating current) to direct current is
termed as full wave rectification.
Full wave rectifier can be constructed in 2 ways.
The first method makes use of a centre tapped
transformer and two diodes. This arrangement is
known as centre tapped full wave rectifier.
The second method uses a normal transformer with
4 diodes arranged as a bridge. This arrangement is
known as a full wave bridge rectifier.

To construct a Full Wave Bridge Rectifier and show
that alternating current is rectified into a direct
The process of converting AC (which periodically
reverses direction) current into DC (which flows only
in one direction) current is known as rectification.
The electrical device used to so is known as

Rectifiers have many uses, but are often found

serving as components of DC power supplies and
high-voltage direct current power transmission
systems. Rectification may serve in roles other than
to generate direct current for use as a source of

The simple process of rectification produces a type

of DC characterized by pulsating voltages and
currents (although still unidirectional). Depending
upon the type of end-use, this type of DC current
may then be further modified into the type of
relatively constant voltage DC characteristically
produced by such sources as batteries and solar

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. When used in its most common
application, for conversion of an alternating current
(AC) input into a direct current (DC) output, it is
known as a bridge rectifier. A bridge rectifier
provides full-wave rectification from a two-wire AC
input, resulting in lower cost and weight as
compared to a rectifier with a 3-wire input from a
transformer with a centre-tapped secondary

 Connecting wires
 Step-down transformer
 Diodes (4)
 Capacitor (1)
 LED (1)

Bridge Rectifier
Initially when the A.C. is supplied to the transformer,
it steps down the 220V main supply to 6 volts. It has
a capability of delivering a current of 500mA. The 6
volts A.C. appearing across the secondary coil is
the RMS value and the peak value is 8.4 volts.
During the first half cycle of the A.C. input Diode D1
is forward biased and a current ‘I’ flows in the
circuit in the direction ABCDEFGHIJKLM. During this
time diodes D2 and D3 are reverse biased. So they
do not conduct any electric current.

During the next half cycle the diode D2 is forward

and D1 is reversed. Hence D2 conducts current in
the direction MLKJCDEFGHIA and D1 does not
conduct any current.
In subsequent half cycles of the A.C current the
above processes are repeated. In both the half
cycles it is clear that current flows through LED in
only one direction.

Even though the voltage across LED is

unidirectional it will still contain a few A.C
components. This is filtered and made smooth using
a capacitor, which filters 99% of the A.C current.

Capacitor nearly filters all A.C components from

the supply. But there will be slight factor of A.C.
current still left in the output but it is negligible. The
output Direct Current and voltage light up the LED.

Bridge Rectifier
 Because of their low cost compared to centre
tapped they are widely used in power supply
 This can be used to detect the amplitude of
modulated radio signal.
 Bridge rectifiers can be used to supply
polarized voltage in welding.
 In daily life, rectifiers are a use in mobile
 The rectification efficiency of full-wave rectifier
is double of that of a half-wave rectifier.
 The ripple voltage is low and of higher
frequency in case of a full-wave rectifier so
simple filtering circuit is required.
 Higher output voltage, higher output power
and higher transformer utilization factor (TUF) in
case of a full-wave rectifier.
 In a full-wave rectifier, there is no problem due
to DC saturation of the core because the DC
currents in the two halves of the transformer
secondary flow in opposite directions.

 Full-wave rectifier needs more circuit elements
and is costlier.

The output voltage of the full wave rectifier is not
constant, it is always oscillating. But this cannot be
used in real life applications. In other words, we
desire a DC power supply with a constant output
voltage. In order to achieve a smooth and
constant voltage a filter with a capacitor or an
inductor is used.

 Physics – Textbook for class XII (NCERT)
 Laboratory Manual of Physics
 Encyclopaedias

 www.google.in
 www.wikipedia.org
 www.youtube.com