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Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Putra Malaysia,

43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia




TITLE OF THE EXPERIMENT : Half-wave, full-wave and bridge rectifier



At the end of this laboratory session, the students should be able to

1. verify the output waveforms of a half-wave rectifier.

2. verify the output waveforms of a full-wave bridge rectifier.


1. Multimeter
2. DC voltage source
3. Breadboard
4. Oscilloscope
5. Resistors – 200 Ω/5 W.
6. Diode – 1N4001-4004
7. Capacitors – 1 µF , 10 µF, 100µF
8. Crocodile clips
9. Connecting wires

1 semakan: 21/3/2016

Rectifier Diodes

The power utilities such as the Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) or any other Integrated Power
Provider (IPP) will distribute the AC signal instead of the DC signal to the consumers due to the fact
that this method of electrical power distribution is more efficient and economical. However, electronic
devices require DC voltage and current to operate, so it is necessary to convert AC signals into DC by
a process called rectification.

Rectifier diodes are the diodes used to convert AC signals to DC. There are two different rectification
circuits, known as half-wave and full-wave rectifiers.

Half- and Full-Wave Rectifiers

A single rectifier diode which as connected in Figure 1 serves as a half-wave rectifier; in which only
one alternation of the AC waveform is applied to the load. When two rectifier diodes are used as
displayed by Figure 2(a), we have full-wave rectification. Here, the two alternations of the input sine

wave are processed alternately by diodes D1 and D2 . In Figure 2(b), another example of full-wave
rectifier using bridge arrangement is shown. The waveforms for both half- and full-wave rectifications
appear to be unidirectional current pulses, which the difference between the two is illustrated in
Figure 3.

Figure 1: Half-Wave Rectifier

Figure 2(a): Full-Wave Rectifier using a Centre Tap Power Transformer

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Figure 2(b): Full-Wave Rectifier using Bridge Arrangement

Figure 3: The Half- and Full-Wave Rectifications of a Sinusoidal Wave

Indeed, the rectifiers have transformed the AC waveform into the pulsating DC waveform. Note that
there is some voltage loss (or voltage drop) across each diode due to the internal resistance of each

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Bridge Rectifier

Figure 4: The Operation of a Typical Bridge Rectifier. Top: Full wave bridge rectifier. Middle:
Electron flow for positive half cycle. Bottom: Electron for negative half cycle

A bridge rectifier makes use of four diodes in a bridge arrangement to achieve full-wave rectification.
This is a widely used configuration, both with individual diodes wired as shown in Figure 4. Let us
assume the transformer is working properly and there is a positive potential at point A and a negative

potential at point B . The positive potential at point A will forward bias D3 and reverse bias D4 . The
negative potential at point B will forward bias D1 and reverse bias D2 . At this time D1 and D3 are
forward biased and will allow current flow to pass through them; D2 and D4 are reverse biased and
will block current flow. The path for current flow is from point B through D1 , up through RL , through
D3 , through the secondary of the transformer back to point B . This path is indicated by the solid

arrows. Waveforms 1 and 2 can be observed across D1 and D3 .

Filters such as capacitors and inductors are usually used to smooth the output of the rectifiers. These
filters must be rated to withstand the higher voltages developed in the bridge rectifier. Basic

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configurations of the bridge rectifier with RC and RLC filters are shown in Figures 5 and 6,

Figure 5: The Bridge Rectifier with an RC Filter

Figure 6: The Bridge Rectifier with an RLC Filter

Rectifier Diode’s Applications

Some examples of the rectifier diode’s applications are as the following:

 Switching in power supplies

 Circuit protection
 A blocking diode in a solar charging circuit – to prevent the energy stored in the batteries
from leaking back out of the solar panel when in the dark – similar to a check valve in
plumbing, where the water can only flow in one way, keeping the well pipe filled with water.

5 semakan: 21/3/2016

Half-Wave Rectifier Circuit

1. Connect the circuit shown in Figure 7, and switch on the supply.

Figure 7: Experiment Set-Up for Half-Wave Rectifier Circuit

2. Using oscilloscope, determine Vin (Channel 1) and Vout (channel 2)

3. Sketch the input waveform, Vin and the output waveform, Vout. Record the Vpp values for both
4. Using Digital Multimeter (DMM), measure and record Vin and Vout . Measure for both DC and
AC mode of the DMM.
5. Discuss your results.

Full-Wave Bridge Rectifier Circuit

1. Connect the circuit as shown in Figure 8. Check the polarization of the diodes before switch
on the circuit.


1kΩ Vout

Figure 8: Experiment Set-Up for the bridge circuit

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2. Using oscilloscope, determine Vin (Channel 1) and Vout (channel 2)
3. Sketch the input waveform, Vin and the output waveform, Vout. Record the Vpp values for both
4. Using Digital Multimeter (DMM), measure and record Vin and Vout . Measure for both DC and
AC mode of the DMM.
5. Connect a 1µF capacitor in parallel to the load resistor as in Figure 5. Sketch the input
waveform, Vin and the output waveform.
6. Repeat step 5. With capacitor value of 10µF and 100µF. Sketch the input waveform, V in and
the output waveform.
7. Discuss your results.

*Note: To measure the voltage across the resistor, use both Channel 1 and 2 on the oscilloscope.
Connect each channel to each end of the resistor. Set the MOD switch to ADD (CH1+CH2) and


1. Discuss the differences and similarities between Vi and V L of (a) a half-wave rectifier, and
(b) a full-wave rectifier.

2. In your opinion, which is better? Half-wave rectifier or full-wave rectifier? Why? Give three
good reasons to support your view.

3. Give 5 examples of electronic devices that use the rectifier application.

7 semakan: 21/3/2016