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Capacitor-input filter

The capacitor-input filter, also called pi filter due to its shape that looks like the Greek letter pi, is a type of electronic filter. Filter circuits are used to remove unwanted or undesired frequencies from a signal.

A typical capacitor input filter consists of a filter capacitor C1, connected across the rectifier output, an inductor L, in series and another filter capacitor, C2, connected across the load, RL. A filter of this sort is designed for use at a particular frequency, generally fixed by the AC line frequency and rectifier configuration. When used in this service, filter performance is often characterized by its regulation and ripple.

The capacitor C1 offers low reactance to the AC component of the rectifier output while it offers infinite reactance to the DC component. As a result the capacitor shunts an appreciable amount of the AC component while the DC component continues its journey to the inductor L
The inductor L offers high reactance to the AC component but it offers almost zero reactance to the DC component. As a result the DC component flows through the inductor while the AC component is blocked.
The capacitor C2 bypasses the AC component which the inductor had failed to block. As a result only the DC component appears across the load RL.


See also

Electronic filter topology - contains a general definition of a π (pi) section filter topology, of which this is an example

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