Difference Between Inverter And Rectifier Explained

In this quick read, you’ll learn the differences between inverter and rectifier. We’ll also discuss how they both function and give answers to some frequently asked questions.

Let’s check it out!

MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INVERTERS AND RECTIFIERS

A rectifier converts current from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), whereas an inverter converts Direct Current (DC) to Alternating Current(AC).

In electronic circuits, an inverter and a rectifier serve opposing functions.
The table below further highlights their key differences:

RectifiersInverter
DefinitionElectrical devices that convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC).Electrical devices that convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC).
TypesSingle-phase rectifiers. Three-phase rectifiers.Square wave inverter.
Quasi-wave or modified square-wave inverter. True/Pure Sine wave inverters.
ApplicationsConversion of AC current main power to DC in appliances that use only DC Current.
Detections of Amplitude modulated radio signalsConvert DC electricity from solar panels, batteries, or fuel cells to alternating current for use by home appliances and similar equipment.

INVERTERS AND HOW THEY WORK

Inverters convert direct current (DC) from batteries and other power sources to alternating current (AC) used by home appliances.

They act as bridges between batteries and home appliances

BATTERY (DC) – INVERTER – HOME APPLIANCES (AC)

Here’s how they perform this function.

  • They take a low DC input voltage, boost it to the desired level (still DC), and then convert it to AC using sinusoidal PWM (Pulse-width Modulation).
  • They can also take a low DC input voltage and convert it to AC using sinusoidal PWM(Pulse-width modulation). A power transformer is then used to step up the newly acquired AC voltage signal to the desired level.

They make use of electrical components like toroidal transformers, diodes, and thyristors. Inverters are used in alternative energy systems such as solar or wind turbine systems.

Advanced inverters can have two power sources: alternating current (network AC) and direct current (DC).

They have an INTEGRATED STATIC SWITCH that switches the inverter’s power supply to DC voltage without interruption in the event of an alternating current failure (AC).

Some inverters use less expensive alternatives that do not use sinusoidal PWM, but the output of these inverters isn’t desirable.

Type Of Inverters

There are 3 major types of inverters, namely:

  • Sine Wave Inverters
  • Modified Sine Wave Inverters
  • Square Wave Inverters

How Do Converters Work

Converters CONVERT specific electrical characteristics like the voltage, current, and frequency at the input to different values at the output.
GET THIS, the term Converter is a BLANKET NAME for other devices like Inverters, Rectifiers, and transformers that convert electrical characteristics from one form to another.

You can find a converter in a variety of settings, including the home, workplaces, and industrial settings.
Examples of converter applications include mobile equipment (phones and laptops), LED lighting, transportation, solar panels, and manufacturing machines.

Converter Types

There are different types of converters

  • AC to DC converter (RECTIFIER)
  • DC to AC converter (INVERTER)
  • AC to AC frequency converter (TRANSFORMER)
  • DC to DC voltage (CURRENT CONVERTER)

How Do Rectifiers Work

Rectifiers convert alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC). You can use them for devices that require a high level of power supply, reliability, and continuity.

They are mostly used in charging and discharging batteries, and as a source of additional DC power supply to devices.

Rectifiers are classified into two types:

  • Half-wave: A half-wave rectifier allows only one polarity (positive or negative) of electricity to pass through.
  • Full-wave: A full-wave rectifier allows both. Diodes, which are electronic components that only pass current in one direction, are at the heart of rectifier circuits.

A half-wave rectifier can use one or two diodes, whereas a full-wave rectifier requires four.

Common FAQ

Can An Inverter Be Used As A Rectifier & Why?

No, an inverter CANNOT be used as a rectifier. An inverter cannot be used as a rectifier BECAUSE the function of a rectifier is DIRECTLY OPPOSITE to that of an inverter.

Both devices serve different purposes in an electrical circuit. Trying to use an inverter as a rectifier is similar to asking the Inverter to work against itself.

Either device has different functions which are NOT INTERCHANGEABLE!

Should I Use A Converter Or An Inverter?

You should use a converter or an inverter, DEPENDING ON YOUR PECULIAR NEEDS. It is important to understand these devices so that you can identify the situations they are best suited for.

An inverter is A TYPE OF CONVERTER that specializes in converting DC to AC. Converters, on the other hand, CONVERTS SPECIFIC ELECTRICAL CHARACTERISTICS (voltage, current, frequency) at the input to different values at the output and vice versa.

The devices you need will depend on the peculiarity of your situation.

To store power generated from your solar panels in batteries, you need a CONVERTER.
To make said stored power usable in your home, you need an INVERTER

Difference Between Rectifier And A Battery Charger

There are no differences between a rectifier and a battery charger.

Batteries are DC power by default
Electricity is transmitted in AC

Battery Chargers convert AC to DC required to charge batteries.
Wonder what else converts AC to DC? Yeah, you guessed right, INVERTERS.

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