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In terms of output voltage, which one of these would be best? Coming into this, I would have to say the center-tapped transformer full-wave rectifier would allow the most accurate output voltage (only 1 diode voltage drop).

I've always heard: Cost of the middle-tapped transformer is greater than 2 more diodes. Is this all that it comes down to?

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The cost of the diodes is one thing.

The cost of adding a center tap is another.

Increased efficiency by losing a diode drop is another thing.

You can get 24% more DC current out of the same weight and size transformer with the 4-diode full wave bridge.

So if the filtered DC voltage is more than 2-3V, the full wave rectifier comes out ahead, assuming the diodes-vs-centertap is a wash.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Also the reverse peak voltage for the diodes is less (half) with the bridge although this seldom translates in real cost savings. From the free web resources on this topic, I recommend the Motorola (now On Semi) rectifier application handbook HB214/D (chapter 6 and 8) as having a much more detailed analysis/comparison than that Hammond pdf, by the way. \$\endgroup\$ – Fizz Sep 22 '15 at 21:57

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