I am curious if there are practical differences between a DC power supply based on a half wave rectifier or a full wave rectifier.
I mean I have a few small DC power supply units which should give 12V 0.1A each. They all have a transformer 240V->18V, then 1 diode or 4 diodes, then 78L12 (0.1A regulator) and one or two capacitors (typically 220uF or 470uF).
My question is if the power supply can give a good quality DC voltage with just a half wave rectifier (a single diode) when a 470uF capacitor and 78L12 is added, or if bridge rectifier (4 diodes) is better.
I also have one old 12V 0.2A power supply based on a Zener diode instead of 7812 regulator. It also has 18V going to just a single diode, then 33R resistor which limits current to 0.2 Amp, then Zener diode parallel with a 1000uF capacitor. Again: Would it be better to have 4 diodes there, or is the half wave rectification good enough here thanks to the 1000uF capacitor?
(All my power supplies work well, I am just curious "why" and "how" these things work.)
I found two more interesting information:
Capacitor should be approximately 500 uF for each .1 Amper of output (or more). This applies to full wave rectifier. Since I saw the same values in half wave rectifiers, it isn't enough and they are bad design.
4-diode rectification cannot be used when we want to have a combined 5V/12V output (or any other two voltages) with a simple transformer, because it can't provide a common ground for two different circuits. (A more complicated real example: I have got a power supply with four output wires from transformer -7/0/+7/+18 Volt. Then it uses 2-diode rectification to get full wave 7V output, and 1-diode rectification to get half wave 18V output. The 18V line can't be "upgraded" to 4-diode rectification here.)