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GCSE     Semiconductor     Comparison     Diode     LED     MOSFET     Photodiode     >Rectifier and PSU<     Transistor     Zener Diode    

Semiconductor Rectifier and PSU


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Rectifier diodes convert AC into DC by passing current in one direction only.

In the image below ...

Various Diodes

Most electronic circuits need low voltage direct current (DC).

To minimise energy loss in power lines, the power companies use high voltage alternating current (AC) for power distribution. This is because it's possible to step the voltage up or down using transformers. High voltage transmission is more efficient. Power supply circuits step the mains voltage down to a suitable value and produce direct current.

Here are some examples. The transformer steps the voltage down to a suitable low value. The diode/s only pass current in one direction so the AC is converted to DC. The capacitor stores charge and smooths out the raw DC. To get really good smoothing, electronic regulation is needed in addition to the capacitor used to store charge.

DC Power Supply with a Half Wave Rectifier

Power Supply - Half Wave Rectifier

Smoothing - Use a Big Capacitor

These sketches show ...

Power Supply Smoothing - Graphs

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