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Line-Frequency Diode Rectifiers

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 In many applications where the input power is provided by the utility
grid in the form of a sinusoidal voltage at 50 or 60 Hz, a front-end diode
rectifier converts the sinusoidal input voltage to a dc voltage before any
further conversion.
 In switch-mode dc power supplies and ac motor drives, front-end diode
rectifiers are usually an integral part of the system. Diode rectifiers are
also used in microturbine and wind turbine-based DG systems.
 Diode rectifiers convert ac voltage to uncontrolled dc voltage.
 Diode rectifiers are unidirectional or one-quadrant converters. The
direction of power flow is always from the ac source to the dc load.
 As the output voltage of diode rectifier has large ripple contents, a large
capacitor is normally used to obtain a smooth dc output voltage.
 The input current is discontinuous, since the input current flows only
when the dc-side capacitor is charging up. This results in injecting
harmonics into the grid, making input current filtering critical.
 In the discussions to follow, the diodes are assumed to be ideal,
representing a short circuit in the ON-state and an open circuit in the

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Single-Phase Diode Bridge Rectifier
 Single-phase diode bridge rectifiers are very commonly used at the
interface of DC power supplies with the grid.
 A large electrolytic capacitor is usually used at the output to make
sure the dc output voltage has low ripple contents.

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier [1]

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Purely Resistive Load with Ls = 0
 Output Voltage
– When vs > 0, D1 and D2 conduct and vd = vs. When vs < 0, D3 and D4 conduct and
vd = -vs.
vd  vs
 Input Current
– When vs > 0, D1 and D2 conduct and is= id. When vs < 0, D3 and D4 conduct and
 i when vs  0
is   d
id when vs  0
 The average value of Output Voltage
Vdo  0.9 Vs

Circuit Diagram
Voltage and Current Waveforms
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Heavily Inductive Load with Ls = 0
 Output Voltage
vd  vs
 Input Current

 id when vs  0
is   Is  Id
id when vs  0
2 2 0 for even h
I s1  I d  0.9 I d I sh  
  I s1 / h for odd h
THDis  48.43%
 The average Output Voltage Vdo  0.9 Vs Circuit Diagram
 Input Power Factor:
DPF  1.0, DF  I s1 I s  0.9
 PF  0.9


Frequency Spectrum of Input Current Voltage and Current Waveforms

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Effect of Source Inductance Ls-1
 When the source inductance is not negligible, the commutation of
the out-going diodes by the in-coming diodes is not instantaneous.
Instead, there will be a period of time, called commutation interval,
during which the out-going and in-coming diodes share the load
current. The reason for this phenomenon is that the current in the
inductor cannot change instantaneously due to the stored energy in
the inductor.

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier with Ls  0 [1]

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Effect of Source Inductance Ls-2
 Assume source voltage is in negative half-cycle and D3 and D4 are
conducting Id. As soon as vs becomes positive, D1 and D2 become forward
biased. They start conducting, but the load current will not be transferred to
them instantaneously, as this means a step change in the inductive source
current from –Id to +Id. For a gradual change of source current from –Id to
+Id, the current in D1 and D2 will rise from 0 to Id, where the current in D3
and D4 will fall from Id to 0.
 During the commutation period, all 4 diodes are conducting making vd=0.
The difference between the source voltage and the output voltage during the
commutation period is placed across the inductor.

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier

with Ls0 [1]

Voltage and Current Waveforms [1]

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Effect of Source Inductance Ls-3
 Currents in different branches during commutation interval

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Effect of Source Inductance Ls-4
 The output voltage in the case of non-zero source inductance is always less than that in
the case of zero source inductance. The output voltage can be calculated taking into
account the area Au lost under the curve of output voltage during commutation.
Vd  Vdo  u
where Au can be found as follows: 
u u
Au   vs d (t )   2 Vs sin t d (t )  2Vs (1  cos u )
0 0
OR: dis u
vLs  Ls  vLs dt  Ls dis  Au   vLs d t   Ls  dis  2 Ls I d
dt 0  Id

Therefore, 2 Ls I d 2 Ls I d
Vd  Vdo   0.9Vs 
 
The commutation interval can be found from
Au  2Vs (1  cos u )  2 Ls I d
2 Ls
to be u  cos 1 (1  Id )

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier with Ls0 [1] Voltage and Current Waveforms [1]
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Constant dc-Side Voltage-1
 This case is similar to the case where a large capacitor is connected
across the dc-side terminals of the diode bridge rectifier.
 It is assumed that id falls to zero before zero-crossing of vs. Then, the
single-phase bridge rectifier can be replaced by the equivalent circuit
shown below. The diode indicates the unidirectionality of the current.

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier

Equivalent Circuit [1]
1- Diode Bridge Rectifier with
constant dc-side voltage [1]

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Constant dc-Side Voltage-2
 In the positive half-cycle, when the fully-rectified source voltage exceeds Vd,
the diode starts conducting. As long as vs is larger than Vd, the inductor voltage
is positive and the current rises. When vs=Vd, the inductor voltage is zero and
current is at its peak. The current starts falling when vs becomes smaller than
Vd. The current falls to zero when all the energy stored in the inductor is
returned to the circuit. This corresponds to the time at which area A is equal to
area B.
Note that: “The average value of the voltage across an inductor at
steady-state, when the inductor current is repetitive, is equal to zero.”
 The start of conduction, b, and the angle corresponding to the peak of the
current p , can be found from the relations:

Vd  2 Vs sin b
 p    b

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier

Equivalent Circuit [1] Voltage and Current Waveforms [1]
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Constant dc-Side Voltage-3
 When the current is flowing in the circuit,
vL  Ls  2 Vs sin t  Vd
1 
id   ( 2 Vs sin t  Vd )d (t )
 Ls b
 The angle corresponding to the zero-crossing of the current, f , can
be obtained from: 1  f

id ( f )   ( 2 Vs sin t  Vd )d (t )  0
 Ls b

 The average value of the current can be found as:

1 f
I d   id ( ) d
 b

1- Diode Bridge Rectifier

Equivalent Circuit [1]
Voltage and Current Waveforms [1]
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Three-Phase Diode Bridge Rectifier
 Three-phase diode rectifiers can handle higher power levels and
produce waveforms of higher quality and lower ripple contents.
 They are appropriate for industrial applications, where three-
phase power is available and high power handling capability is on
 Practical three-phase full-bridge diode rectifiers feature source
inductances on the ac-side and a large filter capacitor on the dc-


A practical 3-phase full-bridge diode rectifier

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Three-Phase Full-Bridge Diode Rectifier
with Ls=0 and id = Id
 At any moment of time, a diode from the top-group, which is connected to the highest
input voltage, and a diode from the bottom group, which is connected to the lowest input
voltage, will conduct. As a result, the dc terminal voltage is composed of selected pieces
of the input line-to-line voltages.
 Each diode in each group is conducting for 120, 60 with one diode of the opposite group
and another 60 with another diode of the opposite group. The conducting diodes do not
belong to the same legs.
 This is a 6-pulse voltage (namely, it repeats itself six times per period of the ac source
voltage) with low-ripple contents compared to the dc-side voltage of single-phase diode
bridge rectifier.
 The average value of the dc-side voltage is: V  1.35V
do LL

3-phase full-bridge diode rectifier [1] Voltage and Current Waveforms

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Three-Phase Full-Bridge Diode Rectifier
with Ls=0 and id = Id (Cont.)
 The source currents will have quasi square wave shapes composed of a
positive pulse of width 120, a negative pulse of width 120, and a
dead-time of width 60 between any two successive positive and
negative pulses.
 The sequence of conduction of diodes is D1-D2-D3-D4-D5-D6-D1-….
The diode D1 starts conducting at the zero-crossing of the line-to-line
voltage vac.


3-phase full-bridge diode rectifier

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Three-Phase Full-Bridge Diode Rectifier
with Ls=0 and id = Id (Cont.)
 The total rms value of the source current is:
Is  I d  0.816 I d
 The rms values of the fundamental component and individual harmonics of the source
current are:
1 I s1
I s1  6 I d  0.78 I d I sh  h  6k  1, k  1, 2,3,...
 h
 Even harmonics and triplen harmonics are not present in the source current.
 The displacement power factor and power factor are:

DPF  1.0 PF  DPF  DF  1.0  0.955  0.955


Source Voltage and Current Waveforms Source Current Frequency Spectrum

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Comparison of Single-Phase and Three-
Phase Rectifiers

Single-Phase Three-Phase
Higher Line Current Distortion Lower Line Current Distortion
Lower Power Factor Higher Power Factor
High DPF High DPF

Larger DC Current Ripple Smaller DC Current Ripple

Larger Filter Capacitor Required Smaller Filter Capacitor required

Looser Regulation of Vd Tighter Regulation of Vd

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[1] Mohan, Undeland and Robbins, Power Electronics: Converters,
Applications, and Design, 3rd Edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.,

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