How to Check Bridge Rectifier with Multimeter? Easy Guide 2024

If you look around yourself you will see tons of electrical appliances. These appliances are made of electronic components. The most used components in these electronic circuits are resistors, capacitors and diodes. From your home fridges to VFDs almost every equipment has bridge rectifiers. Due to such an abundance of bridge rectifiers you must know how to check bridge rectifier with multimeter.

What is a bridge rectifier?

A bridge rectifier is used to convert AC voltages to DC voltages. Basically, four or six diodes attached in a bridge form (to convert AC power only), depending upon your input supply. There are basically three types of bridge rectifiers.

  • Uncontrolled bridge rectifier
  • Semi-controlled bridge rectifier
  • Fully controlled bridge rectifiers

Where are bridge rectifiers used?

All electronic cards work on DC power supply. These bridge rectifiers are used in making these power supplies. Bridge rectifiers are used in VFDs, inverters and inverter appliances such as fridges, AC and even in automotive. The only drawback of these bridge rectifiers is that they heat too quickly. For this purpose you can use air fans and heatsinks to make them functional. Till now, bridge rectifiers are the most effective way to get DC supply with an efficiency of 80%.

If you want to know how to test power supplies with a multimeter, then you can read my blog about testing power supplies with a digital multimeter.

Factors Affecting Bridge Rectifier Performance

Bridge rectifiers are essential components in power electronics, converting AC voltage to DC voltage. While seemingly simple, their performance can be impacted by several factors. Here, we’ll explore the key factors affecting bridge rectifier performance:

1. Input Voltage:

The input voltage plays a crucial role in a bridge rectifier’s output. Ideally, the bridge rectifier receives a steady AC voltage from a transformer. However, fluctuations in the input voltage, either due to variations in the source or other AC loads, can affect the rectified DC output.

These fluctuations can manifest as:

  • Inaccurate DC voltage: The rectified DC voltage may not match the expected value due to the varying input voltage peaks.

  • Increased ripple: Fluctuations can lead to a higher ripple factor, resulting in a less smooth DC output.


  • Power Factor Correction (PFC): Industries often employ power factor improvers (PFIs) to regulate the input voltage and maintain a consistent AC waveform. This ensures a stable and predictable DC output from the bridge rectifier.

  • Regulated Power Supplies: In critical applications, regulated power supplies can further stabilize the DC output by employing voltage regulation circuits.

2. Heat Impact:

Bridge rectifier performance is significantly impacted by heat generation. This heat primarily arises due to the forward current flow through the diodes during operation. As the output current from the bridge rectifier increases, so does the power dissipation, leading to higher operating temperatures.

How to Check Bridge Rectifier with Multimeter


Excessive heat can lead to:

  • Reduced efficiency: High temperatures can decrease the efficiency of the bridge rectifier by increasing internal resistance within the diodes.

  • Diode failure: If operating temperatures exceed the specified limits of the diodes, permanent damage can occur, leading to bridge rectifier failure.


  • Heat Sinks: To dissipate heat effectively, bridge rectifiers are often mounted on heat sinks. These heat sinks act as a thermal conductor, drawing heat away from the diodes and transferring it to the surrounding environment.

  • Forced Air Cooling: In high-power applications, additional cooling methods like fans are employed to enhance heat dissipation from the heat sink and ensure safe operating temperatures for the diodes.

3. Ripple Effect:

The rectified DC output from a bridge rectifier is not perfectly smooth. It contains residual AC components, appearing as periodic variations in the DC voltage – known as the ripple effect. This ripple factor is a measure of the “cleanliness” of the DC output.

How to Check Bridge Rectifier with Multimeter

A high ripple factor can be detrimental to sensitive electronic components as it introduces unwanted AC fluctuations into the DC supply.


  • Filter Capacitors: A common method to reduce the ripple factor is by adding filter capacitors to the output of the bridge rectifier. These capacitors act as temporary energy storage devices, smoothing out the DC voltage by charging during the peaks of the rectified waveform and discharging during the valleys, resulting in a smoother DC output.

  • Multi-stage Filtering: For applications requiring a very low ripple factor, multi-stage filtering circuits can be employed. These circuits typically involve a combination of inductors and capacitors to achieve a highly regulated and ripple-free DC output.

4. Peak Inverse Voltage (PIV):

Peak Inverse Voltage (PIV) is a critical parameter of the diodes used in a bridge rectifier. It represents the maximum reverse voltage a diode can withstand without breaking down.

During operation, each diode in the bridge experiences a reverse voltage during its off cycle. The PIV rating of the chosen diodes must be sufficient to handle this peak inverse voltage safely.

Improper PIV selection can lead to:

  • Diode breakdown: If the PIV rating is insufficient for the applied reverse voltage, the diode can break down, causing a short circuit and potential damage to the bridge rectifier circuit.


  • Selecting appropriate diodes: Always choose diodes with a PIV rating exceeding the peak voltage encountered in the reverse bias condition of the bridge rectifier circuit. Safety margins are recommended to account for potential voltage spikes or transients.

By understanding these factors and implementing appropriate solutions, you can ensure optimal performance and longevity of your bridge rectifier circuits.

How to check bridge rectifier with multimeter?

A typical bridge rectifier is used in many technical applications ranging from voltage regulation in DC power supplies to high current half-wave supplies for tube amplifier circuits. To check the bridge rectifier is very simple, but there are some precautions that must be taken into account when testing a bridge rectifier with a digital multimeter. It is not recommended to only test bridge rectifiers, you should also check capacitors of power supply.

Tools Required

Step by step guide to test bridge rectifier with multimeter

Step 1: Preparation to test a bridge rectifier:

  • To avoid possible damage to the device under test and digital multimeter, it is necessary to disconnect the power supply circuit.
  • You also have to determine where is the entry and exit of wires, you can recognize which terminals will be used for measurement.
  • Multimeter should be set on a small scale (mA or ohm), because if you test a bridge rectifier on a large scale, the digital multimeter will not read the values.
  • It is recommended to use insulated terminals probe digital multimeter for better safety.

Step 2: How to measure a bridge rectifier?

  • You should set your meter on diode test before taking measurements.
  • Measure the positive and negative terminals, which will be marked with emitter base and collector. (Use the multimeter’s positive lead on one terminal).
  • If any of the measurements is extremely low or not matching with each other, it could mean that this specific bridge rectifier requires replacement. You can also test it by measuring the negative and positive output of bridge rectifier.

Step 3: How to test a faulty bridge rectifier diode?

  • In the same way as testing a bridge rectifier you can test a diode.
  • First, set your meter to measure the resistance in ohms or use the diode tester function.
  • Then connect one probe to each of the two terminals of the diode.
  • If your meter reads infinite or very high value, it is an open circuit and the diode is in good condition.
  • In case of less than an ohm resistance, the diode is shorted and therefore it must be replaced.
  • Therefore, at the output of a bridge rectifier there must be a voltage drop (about half of the given voltage).

How to Check Bridge Rectifier with Multimeter

Troubleshooting of the bridge rectifier

To troubleshoot a bridge rectifier, follow these steps:

  1. First check for broken wire between the diode terminals and the power source (AC input).
  2. Check if there are open connections between the diodes (diode conducts electrical signals) and the input power source.
  3. If you find some broken wire or open connections, resolder them to make sure that they are connected properly.
  4. You can replace the bridge rectifier with another one that has the same specifications (voltage, amperage).
  5. Lastly, After replacing a bridge rectifier, you should test it again to be certain that it has functioned properly.


If after testing a bridge rectifier, you find that it has an open diode or a shorted diode, there are several ways to fix it as mentioned above. If you’re still with me you might have a clear idea of how to check bridge rectifier with multimeter. Therefore, if you want to know about Variable frequency drives testing then I have also made a separate guide for that.

Also, I would like to ask your help in sharing this article with your friends and family so they get benefits from it. Moreover, most people don’t know which multimeter to buy for such electronic works. Being an electrical engineering student, I have made a list of the best multimeters for DIY electronics for this purpose.

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Engr. Amna has been working with on multimeterworld from 2019 and have worked on multiple projects as team leader. He is currently working in JDW Sugar mills and love to write electrical testing guides. His aim is to help 1 million people each year.