Phase Controlled Rectifier vs Switch Mode Rectifier | A Reliability Perspective

August 21, 2020
It seems like a simple concept, but at one stage of your engineering career you may be required to source a DC battery charger and you may get lost in questions when choosing between a switch mode battery charger or a phase controlled battery charger, and the more you research the suitability of the right rectifier type, the more questions may arise.
Magellan Power manufactures both rectifier types and can offer a bias-free analysis of both. The below comparison can be used as a technical guideline when choosing the right rectifier.
Phase controlled rectifiers are an older technology, carry high currents, and are low frequency, rugged systems which can last up to 40 years, and are fairly easy to troubleshoot and maintain.
Switch mode rectifiers on the other hand are a relatively new technology. Multiple conversions are done at a high frequency, allowing internal parts to be smaller and more compact, offering high efficiencies and generating less unwanted harmonics.
When choosing an option many engineers overlook the environmental degradation of the equipment. If you have a hot environment, filled with conductive dust (like a mine site), you would be best investing in a rugged, phase controlled system (MCRII), which has been designed to withstand these harsh conditions.
However, if you are looking to supply an air conditioned datacentre, then a SMCRII (switchmode charger) is the better and efficient option.  Please see below other factors to consider in your decision making.

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