How to Properly Turning Off an SCR Once It Is Conducting

Silicon Controlled Rectifiers (SCRs) are widely used in electronic circuits for their ability to control the flow of electric current. However, turning off an SCR once it is conducted can be a critical task. In this guide, we will explore various methods to properly turn off an SCR and discuss the importance of each approach.

Different SCR Packages
SCR Packagings

Natural Commutation Method:

Natural commutation is a method where the SCR turns off automatically when the current through it decreases to zero. This process is achieved by allowing the external circuit to reverse bias the SCR. In other words, natural commutation relies on the external conditions of the circuit to turn off the SCR.

To optimize turning off an SCR using natural commutation, ensure that the load conditions and circuit design support this method. Properly design the circuit to facilitate a smooth transition from conducting to non-conducting states.

Gate Turn-Off Method:

The gate turn-off method involves actively controlling the SCR’s gate signal to force it into a non-conducting state. By applying a negative pulse to the gate terminal, the SCR can be turned off, regardless of the current flowing through it.

For optimal results, carefully design the gate control circuitry to provide precise and well-timed pulses. Ensure that the pulse duration and amplitude are within the SCR’s specifications to guarantee a reliable turn-off process.

Turn off SCR once it is conducting by using Gate Pulse
Gate Turn-Off Circuit

Forced Commutation Method:

Forced commutation is a technique that uses external circuitry to actively turn off the SCR. This method involves introducing a reverse voltage across the SCR during its conduction period. Common forced commutation circuits include the use of commutation capacitors and inductors.

To enhance the effectiveness of forced commutation, select appropriate component values and optimize the circuit layout. A well-designed forced commutation circuit can significantly improve the speed and reliability of turning off an SCR.

Soft Turn-Off Techniques:

Soft turn-off techniques focus on reducing the rate of change of voltage or current during turn-off to minimize stress on the SCR. These methods include the use of snubber circuits, which incorporate resistors, capacitors, and inductors to control the switching dynamics.

To optimize soft turn-off techniques, carefully choose the snubber components based on the application requirements. Properly sized and configured snubber circuits can enhance the SCR’s reliability and reduce the likelihood of damage during turn-off.

Intelligent Control Systems:

Intelligent control systems utilize advanced algorithms and feedback mechanisms to dynamically adjust the turn-off process based on real-time operating conditions. These systems can optimize turn-off timings and minimize stress on the SCR, enhancing its overall performance and reliability.

To implement intelligent control systems, incorporate microcontrollers or programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that can continuously monitor and adjust the turn-off parameters. This approach provides a high level of customization and adaptability to varying operating conditions.


Properly turning off an SCR once it is conducting, is essential for maintaining the reliability and efficiency of electronic circuits. Whether using natural commutation, gate turn-off, forced commutation, soft turn-off techniques, or intelligent control systems, each method plays a crucial role in optimizing the SCR’s turn-off process. By carefully considering these methods and tailoring them to specific applications, engineers that the SCR is either in forward blocking mode or reverse blocking mode to turn off conduction.

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