Difference Between Uncontrolled and Controlled Rectifiers

Discover the key differences between uncontrolled and controlled rectifiers, including their characteristics, types, applications, and functionalities. Learn how uncontrolled rectifiers use diodes for simple, fixed-output power conversion, while controlled rectifiers utilize SCRs for precise control over variable DC output in industrial and high-power applications.

Rectifiers are devices used to convert AC (alternating current) to DC (direct current). They are classified into two main types: uncontrolled and controlled rectifiers. The primary difference between them lies in how the conversion process is managed and controlled.

Uncontrolled Rectifiers

Uncontrolled rectifiers use diodes as their rectifying elements. Diodes allow current to flow in only one direction, making them simple and inexpensive components for rectification.


  1. No Control Over Output Voltage: Once the circuit is designed and connected, the output voltage cannot be adjusted or controlled.
  2. Simple Construction: These rectifiers have a straightforward design, often involving just diodes and a load.
  3. Types: The common types of uncontrolled rectifiers are half-wave, full-wave, and bridge rectifiers (both single-phase and three-phase).
  4. Applications: They are used in applications where a constant DC output is sufficient, such as battery charging, power supplies for small electronic devices, and basic power conversion in household appliances.


  • Single-Phase Half-Wave Rectifier: Uses a single diode to rectify one-half of the AC cycle.
  • Single-Phase Full-Wave Rectifier: Uses two or four diodes to rectify both halves of the AC cycle.
  • Three-Phase Full-Wave Rectifier: Uses six diodes to rectify all three phases of the AC supply.

Controlled Rectifiers

Controlled rectifiers, also known as thyristor rectifiers, use devices like silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCRs) or other types of thyristors. These devices can be controlled using gate signals to adjust the point in the AC cycle at which they conduct, thus controlling the output voltage.


  1. Control Over Output Voltage: The output voltage can be adjusted by varying the gate signal. This allows for precise control of the rectified output.
  2. Complex Construction: Controlled rectifiers have a more complex design due to the need for control circuitry to generate the gate signals.
  3. Types: Controlled rectifiers include single-phase and three-phase configurations, similar to uncontrolled rectifiers but with controlled rectifying elements.
  4. Applications: They are used in applications where variable DC output is required, such as motor speed controls, industrial power supplies, and high-power DC applications.


  • Single-Phase Controlled Rectifier: Uses one or more SCRs to control the output voltage by varying the firing angle.
  • Three-Phase Controlled Rectifier: Uses six or more SCRs to control the output voltage for high-power applications.


FeatureUncontrolled RectifiersControlled Rectifiers
Control ElementDiodesSCRs, IGBTs, or other thyristors
Output ControlFixed output, no control over voltageVariable output, controlled by gate signals
ComplexitySimple constructionComplex construction
ApplicationsBattery charging, basic power supplies, small devicesMotor speed control, industrial power supplies, high-power DC
CostLower costHigher cost due to control circuitry
TypesHalf-wave, full-wave, bridge (single-phase, three-phase)Single-phase and three-phase controlled rectifiers

In summary, the choice between an uncontrolled and a controlled rectifier depends on the specific application requirements, such as the need for output voltage control and the complexity and cost constraints of the system.

  1. Half wave Rectifier
  2. Ripple Factor

Leave a Comment