In power electronics chopper circuits, unidirectional power semiconductors are used.  If these semiconductor devices are arranged appropriately, a chopper can work in any of the four quadrants. we can classify chopper circuits according to their working in any of these four quadrants  as  type  A, type B, type C, type D and type E. Let us now take a look of these classifications and the characteristics of various classifications.

Type A Chopper or First–Quadrant Chopper

This type of chopper is shown in the figure. It is known as first-quadrant chopper or type A chopper. When the chopper is on, v0 = VS as a result and the current flows in the direction of the load. But when the chopper is off v0   is zero but I0  continues to flow in the same direction through the freewheeling diode FD, thus average value of voltage and current  say V0  and I0  will be always positive as shown in the graph.

Chopper First Quadrant
Chopper First Quadrant

In type A chopper the power flow will be always from source to the load. As the average voltage V0 is less than the dc input voltage Vs  

Type B Chopper or Second-Quadrant Chopper

Chopper Second Quadrant
Chopper Second Quadrant

In type B or second quadrant chopper the load must always contain a dc source E .  When the chopper   is on, v0   is zero but the load voltage E drives the current through the inductor L and the chopper, L stores the energy during the time Ton  of the chopper . When the chopper is off , v0 =( E+ L .  di/dt )  will be more than the source voltage  Vs . Because of this the diode D2 will be  forward biased and begins conducting and hence the power starts flowing to the source.  No matter the chopper is on or off the current I0  will be flowing out of the load and is treated negative . Since VO  is positive and  the current I0  is negative , the direction of power flow will be from load to source. The load voltage V0  = (E+L  .di/dt )   will be more than the voltage Vs  so the  type B chopper is also known as a step up chopper .

Type -C chopper or Two-quadrant type-A Chopper

Type C chopper is obtained by connecting type –A  and type –B choppers in parallel.  We will always get a positive output voltage V0  as the freewheeling diode FD is present across the load.  When the chopper is on the freewheeling diode starts conducting and the output voltage v0 will be equal to Vs   . The direction of the load current i0 will be reversed. The current i0  will be flowing towards the source  and   it will be positive regardless the chopper is on or  the FD conducts.  The load current will be negative if the chopper is or the diode D2 conducts.  We can say the chopper and FD  operate together as type-A chopper in first quadrant. In the second quadrant, the chopper and D2 will operate together as type –B chopper.

Chopper Two Quadrant
Chopper Two Quadrant

The average voltage will be always positive but the average load current might be positive or negative. The power flow may be life the first quadrant operation ie from source to load or from load to source like the second quadrant operation.  The two choppers should not be turned on simultaneously as the combined action my cause a short circuit in supply lines. For regenerative braking and motoring these type of chopper configuration is used.

 Type D Chopper or Two-Quadrant Type –B Chopper

Two Quadrant Type B chopper or D Chopper Circuit
Two Quadrant Type B chopper or D Chopper Circuit

The circuit diagram of the type D chopper is shown in the above figure. When the two choppers are on the output voltage  v0 will be equal to Vs  . When v0 = – Vs  the two choppers will be off but both the diodes D1 and D2 will start conducting. V0 the average output voltage will be positive when the choppers turn-on  the time Ton will be more than the turn off time Toff  its shown in the wave form below. As the diodes and choppers conduct current only in one direction the direction of load current will be always positive.

Positive First Quadrant Operation and Negative Fourth Quadrant Operation
Positive First Quadrant Operation and Negative Fourth Quadrant Operation

The power flows from source to load    as the average values of both v0 and i0 is positive.  From the  wave form  it is seen that the average value of V0  is positive  thus the forth quadrant operation of type D chopper is obtained.

From the wave forms the Average value of output voltage is given by
V0= (Vs Ton-VsToff)/T  = Vs.(Ton-Toff)/T

Type –E chopper or the Fourth-Quadrant Chopper

Type E or the fourth quadrant chopper consists of four semiconductor switches and four diodes arranged in antiparallel.  The 4 choppers are numbered according to which quadrant they belong. Their operation will be in each quadrant and the corresponding chopper only be active in  its quadrant.

E-type Chopper Circuit diagram with load emf E and E Reversed
E-type Chopper Circuit diagram with load emf E and E Reversed
  • First Quadrant

During the first quadrant operation the chopper CH4 will be on . Chopper CH3 will be off and CH1 will be operated.  AS the CH1 and CH4 is on the load voltage v0 will be equal to the source voltage Vs  and the load current i0  will begin to flow . v0 and i0 will be positive as the first quadrant operation is taking place. As soon as the chopper CH1 is turned off, the positive current freewheels through CH4  and the diode D2 .  The type E chopper acts as a step- down chopper in the first quadrant.

  • Second Quadrant

In this case the chopper CH2 will be operational and the other three are kept off. As  CH2 is on  negative current will starts flowing through the inductor L . CH2 ,E and D4.  Energy is stored in the inductor L as the chopper CH2 is on. When CH2 is off the current will be fed back to the source through the diodes D1 and D4. Here (E+L.di/dt) will be more than the source voltage Vs  . In second quadrant the chopper will act as a step-up chopper as the power is fed back from load to source

  • Third Quadrant

In third quadrant operation CH1 will be kept off , CH2 will be  on and CH3 is operated. For this quadrant working the polarity of the load should be reversed. As the chopper CH3 is on, the load gets connected to the source  Vs and  v0 and i0 will be negative  and the third quadrant operation will takes place. This chopper acts as a step-down chopper

  • Fourth Quadrant

CH4 will be operated and CH1, CH2 and CH3 will be off. When the chopper CH4 is turned on positive current starts to flow through CH4, D2 ,E and the inductor L will store energy. As the CH4 is turned off the current is feedback to the source through the diodes D2 and D3 , the operation will be in fourth quadrant as the load voltage is negative but the load current is positive. The chopper acts as a step up chopper as the power is fed back from load to source.



  1. abdul basit adil

    hi. i wants to know is there any use of chopper to be used as AC step up?



  3. Design the voltage commutated chopper circuit for operating the 42 volts battery powered electric car with starting current of 35 A

  4. I need your permission to use the document for choppers, a use on my website. What we thank you in advance.

  5. lackson kasekwa

    how are you?please,my problem is to know how trace the fault of tv or power supply.and to have a tv circuit