Diode | Diode | Rectifier

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4. Diode
A diode is a semiconductor device which allows current to flow through it in only one direction. Although a transistor is also a semiconductor device, it does not operate the way a diode does. A diode is specifically made to allow current to flow through it in only one direction. Some ways in which the diode can be used are listed here.  A diode can be used as a rectifier that converts AC (Alternating Current) to DC (Direct Current) for a power supply device.  Diodes can be used to separate the signal from radio frequencies.  Diodes can be used as an on/off switch that controls current.

This symbol is used to indicate a diode in a circuit diagram. The meaning of the symbol is (Anode) (Cathode). Current flows from the anode side to the cathode side. Although all diodes operate with the same general principle, there are different types suited to different applications. For example, the following devices are best used for the applications noted.

breakdown.2 Rectification / Switching / Regulation Diode: .6V) This voltage drop needs to be taken into consideration in a circuit which uses many diodes in series. Also.1V (VF) (In the case of silicon diode. h . j .tunnel. which is very small. they will break down.1 V-I characteristics: The graph on the right shows the electrical characteristics of a typical diode.34 Diode symbols: a . If the diodes are not chosen carefully.standard diode. current flows easily. when using diodes for rectification. For example.Schottky.g . Different diodes have different characteristics when reverse-biased. 4. When a small voltage is applied to the diode in the forward direction.LED. the voltage will drop slightly as current flows through the diode. almost 0. The current that will flow through a diode biased in the reverse direction will vary from several mA to just µA. A given diode should be selected depending on how it will be used in the circuit.photo. A typical diode causes a voltage drop of about 0. part of the time they will be required to withstand a reverse voltage. Because the diode has a certain amount of resistance. i . b . the diode will have a great resistance to current flow.6 . d . When voltage is applied in the reverse direction through a diode.Zener. The limiting voltages and currents permissible must be considered on a case by case basis.capacitative 4. e . c. f. the amount of current passing through the diodes must be considered.

'full wave rectification' occurrs. They are made to handle relatively high currents. this diode is typically used to protect the circuit from momentary voltage spikes. The device on top can handle as high as 6A. a 3-terminal voltage regulator is used for the stabilization of a power supply. The maximum reverse voltage (reverse bias) this diode can handle is 30V. it will resist changes in voltage. It is possible to do only 'half wave rectification' using 1 diode. The stripe shows the cathode side. If the input voltage is increased. This makes it well suited to use within digital circuits. However. When this type of diode is reverse biased. (Or any change will be an insignificant amount. The top two devices shown in the picture are diodes used for rectification. This requires some thought for a protection circuit so that too much current does not flow. This diode is used for switching. The rated current limit for the device is 30 mA. Rectification diodes are used to make DC from AC. Generally. the output current will. the maximum current it can handle is 120 mA. the output voltage will not change. They are used for full-wave rectification. 3 terminal regulators use voltage regulation diodes inside. Therefore.) While the output voltage does not increase with an increase in input voltage. The device at the bottom of the picture is a voltage regulation diode with a rating of 6V. However. . When 4 diodes are combined. Devices that combine 4 diodes in one package are called diode bridges. it is best used at about 70% of its rating because this current value is a maximum rating.35 The stripe stamped on one end of the diode shows indicates the polarity of the diode. because it can switch on and off at very high speed. and the one below it can safely handle up to 1A. The third device from the top (red color) has a part number of 1S1588.

The component lead in the middle is common to both LEDs. When both are turned on simultaneously. because there are various kinds. it becomes orange. the other for the red LED. The diodes are available in several colors.3 Light Emitting Diode (LED): Light emitting diodes must be chosen according to how they will be used. but there are even blue ones. one side is for the green. As for the remains two leads. . The device on the far right in the photograph combines a red LED and green LED in one package. The most common colors are red and green.36 4.

The current is considered to be stopped when it falls to about 10% of the value of the peak reverse current. the side of the diode which is connected to the black meter probe when the LED glows. The voltage or VF) of an LED is comparatively stable at just circuit in which the voltage was stabilized with "Thermometer of bending apparatus-2".4 Shottky barrier diode: Diodes are used to rectify alternating current into direct current. switch the meter probes to the opposite leads on the LED. I explain a an LED in LED to obtain a fixed voltage. The Shottky barrier diode has a short reverse recovery time.5 V battery. Positive voltage flows out of the black probe when the meter is set to measure resistance. This time until the current stops flowing is called the Reverse Recovery Time. the LED will glow. the polarity of the device can be determined by looking at the leads. which makes it ideally suited to use in high frequency rectification.37 When an LED is new out of the package. set the meter to a low resistance measurement range. When using a test meter to determine polarity. about 2V. rectification will not occur when the frequency of the alternating current is too high. current will continue to flow in the forward direction for a brief moment. . This is due to what is known as the "reverse recovery characteristic. However. The longer lead is the Anode side. or even a 1. If the LED does not glow. It is possible to use an drop (forward voltage. 4. If the polarity is correct. The polarity of an LED can also be determined using a resistance meter. and the short one is the Cathode side." The reverse recovery characteristic can be explained as follows: IF the opposite voltage is suddenly applied to a forward-biased diode.. Connect the probes of the meter to the LED. is the Anode side. In either case.

Some of the verities are: A . 1N4001. 4. etc. The surge resistance is low. This is a bridge rectifier.these are switching diodes with short recovery time. . BA158. BY244. B . The first letter is used to identify the material used in manufacturing the component (A . ZPD9. etc. Because the reverse recovery time is short. identified by B40C1500. Japanese style is similar to American.these regulation diodes come in a plastic packaging and operate on a maximum current of 0. BB105.8) uses several diodes. BA124. B . When Y is the second letter in a Zener diode mark (ZY10. Y . etc. PD .low power diode. BA125 : varicap diodes used instead of variable capacitors in receiving devices.switching diodes used in devices using logic circuits. ZG18 (10% tolerance). BA157.1 (5% tolerance).5 Diode Marking: European diodes are marked using two or three letters and a number.regulation diodes. this diode is often used for the switching regulator in a high frequency circuit 4. it has the following disadvantages. G. etc. The second and third letters specify the type and usage of the diode.different tolerance marks for Zener diodes. etc.silicon).8A. The first four are in a single package. AA121. For example. the main difference is that instead of N there is S.38 The Shottky barrier diode has the following characteristics.they are used in the detector of a radio receiver. etc. American markings begin with 1N followed by a number.two capacitive (varicap) diodes in the same housing. BY243. like BY240.) it means it is intended for higher current. The reverse recovery time is short. 1S241 being one of them. .germanium. BAY93. . . the diode is intended for higher current. etc. G.. like the AA111. If there is another Y.6 Practical examples: The diagram of a power supply in figure (3. a Zener diode. The diode can have relatively high leakage current. Some of these are ZF12 (5% tolerance). However. oscillators. for example). The third letter is used to specify a property (high current. AA113. 1N4449 (switching diode). BYY44 is a diode whose absolute maximum current rating is 1A. like BB104. BAY80. ZY30. . for example (regulating diode). The voltage drop in the forward direction is low. etc. or. in case of letter Z.

stair-light LED indicator.39 The LED in the circuit indicates the transformer is working.3a. e . The Diode should have a reverse voltage of over 400V. By simply connecting it in series. d .voltage rise indicator. A 1N4004 or BY244 is suitable.3 below shows some other examples of diodes.voltage stabilizer. The life of a globe can be increased by adding a diode as shown in 5. Resistor R1 is used to limit the current through the LED and the brightness of the LED indicates the approximate voltage.backup supply . A very simple DC voltage stabilizer for low currents can be made using 5. a . Figure 5. However the brightness is reduced and the light becomes yellow. b . c .using a diode to prolong the light bulb's life span. and a current higher than the globe. the current passing through the globe is halved and it lasts a lot longer. Diodes marked 1N4002 protect the integrated circuit.rain noise synthesizer. f .3c as a reference.

To modify this circuit so that it signals when a voltage drops below some predefined level. DC current flowing through diode AA121 isn't absolutely constant and this creates the noise which is amplified by the transistor (any NPN transistor) and passed to a filter (resistor-capacitor circuit with values 33nF and 100k). For other voltage values. we would use a ZPD9. A LED indicates when a voltage is over a predefined value. when the voltage drops below 12V.3d. so if we want to achieve a stabilized 9V. the battery is ready for recharge. So. and the transistor does not "turn on. For example. . Brightness and the exact moment of illuminating the LED can be set with the value of Rx. the zener acts as a high value resistor. we can make a car battery level indicator. Although this stabilizer has limited use it is the basis of all designs found in power supplies." When the voltage rises to equal the Zener voltage. the Zener diode and Rx are swapped. which produces a rain-like sound. by using a 12V Zener diode. and stabilized with "UST. so DC voltage on the base of the transistor is very low.1 diode. and transistor receives current on its base and it turns on to illuminate the LED. different Zener diodes should be used." Voltage on the Zener diode is equal to UST.40 Unstabilized voltage is marked "U". which means that the LED is illuminated when the voltage reaches that value.3e shows a noise-producing circuit. its resistance is lowered. When the voltage is lower than the operating voltage of the Zener. Figure 5. This example uses a 6V Zener diode. We can also devise a voltage overload detector as sown in figure 5.

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