Rectifier vs. Converter

By Jaxson

  • Rectifier

    A rectifier is an electrical device that converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, to direct current (DC), which flows in only one direction.

    The process is known as rectification, since it “straightens” the direction of current. Physically, rectifiers take a number of forms, including vacuum tube diodes, mercury-arc valves, stacks of copper and selenium oxide plates, semiconductor diodes, silicon-controlled rectifiers and other silicon-based semiconductor switches. Historically, even synchronous electromechanical switches and motors have been used. Early radio receivers, called crystal radios, used a “cat’s whisker” of fine wire pressing on a crystal of galena (lead sulfide) to serve as a point-contact rectifier or “crystal detector”.

    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 power. As noted, detectors of radio signals serve as rectifiers. In gas heating systems flame rectification is used to detect presence of a flame.

    Depending on the type of alternating current supply and the arrangement of the rectifier circuit, the output voltage may require additional smoothing to produce a uniform steady voltage. Many applications of rectifiers, such as power supplies for radio, television and computer equipment, require a steady constant DC voltage (as would be produced by a battery). In these applications the output of the rectifier is smoothed by an electronic filter, which may be a capacitor, choke, or set of capacitors, chokes and resistors, possibly followed by a voltage regulator to produce a steady voltage.

    More complex circuitry that performs the opposite function, converting DC to AC, is called an inverter.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    Something that rectifies.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    A device that converts alternating current into direct current; often a diode.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    An instrument used for determining and rectifying the variations of the compass on board ship.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    The activation function f(x) = max(0, x), where x is the input to a neuron.

  • Converter (noun)

    A person or thing that converts.

  • Converter (noun)

    A patient with a certain condition that subsequently develops into another condition.

  • Converter (noun)

    A retort, used in the Bessemer process, in which molten cast iron is decarburized and converted into steel by a blast of air forced through the liquid metal.

  • Rectifier (noun)

    an electrical device which converts an alternating current into a direct one by allowing a current to flow through it in one direction only.

Oxford Dictionary

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