What is Half Wave Rectifier and Full Wave Rectifier?

 Half wave rectifier

A rectifier is a simple diode or group of diodes. It converts the Alternating Current (AC) to Direct Current (DC). A diode allows electric current passes in one direction. And blocks in another direction. By using this principle we have to construct various types of rectifiers.

Half wave rectifier

The rectifiers are classified into different groups and types. it based on the number of diodes used in the circuit. It also depends on the arrangement of diodes in the circuit. The two basic types of rectifiers are as follow;

  • Half wave rectifier
  • What is Full-wave rectifier

In this, we only discuss half-wave rectification.

Half wave rectifier definition

A half-wave rectifier is a device.It converts the half cycle of the input signal into a pulsating DC output signal. or A half-wave rectifier is a type of rectifier which allows only a positive half cycle. the input alternating current signal while blocked another half cycle. For example, the positive half cycle is allowed to pass. Then the negative half cycle is blocked. Similarly, if the negative half cycle is allowed to pass. Then the positive half cycle is blocked. However, a half-wave rectifier does not allow both half-cycles. Therefore, the half-cycle either is positive or negative. The input signal is wasted.

What is a half-wave rectifier?

It is the simplest form of the rectifier. In it, we use only a single diode. In the construction of the half-wave rectifier. It is made up of an AC source. like diode, transformer, and resistor. So in it, the diode is placed, between the transformer and the resistor.

AC source

The AC source supplies AC to the circuit.


The transformer is an electronic device. It increases or decreases the AC voltage.

There are two types of transformer

  • Step-up transformer
  • Stepdown transformer


In the step-up transformer, the AC voltage goes too high values. the low voltage is produced at the secondary winding. In the step-down transformer, the AC voltage is low. Generally, we use a step-down transformer in the half-wave rectifier. Because we needed a very small amount of the voltage.

When we apply a large AC voltage without using a transformer. We permanently destroy the diode. So we use a step-down transformer. In the half-wave rectifier. In the step-down transformer, the turns in the primary winding greater.

The turns in the secondary winding are lesser. the voltage decreases in the step-down transformer. From the primary winding to secondary winding.


A diode is a device having two terminals. It allows flowing an electric current in one direction. It blocks the current in the opposite direction.


A resistor is an electronic component. It resists the flow of current to a certain level.

Half wave rectifier operation

Positive half wave rectifier

In it, high voltage reduces into low value. The step-down transformer reduces the high voltage to its low voltage. The AC signal applied to the transformer.


Negative half wave rectifier

The working principle of negative half-wave and positive half-wave rectifiers are almost the same. Here we only change the direction of a diode. The step-down transformer, the high voltage reduces to its low value. This type of diode in which we applied the low value of voltage. In the negative half cycle, the diode is working as forward-biased. And in the positive half cycle, the diode is working as reverse biased.

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