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EGE217: Electronics 1

Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail


January 2009

ELECTRONICS 1

CHAPTER 2: DIODES AND APPLICATIONS

Introduction

In previous chapter, we have learnt how P type and N type


semiconductor can be combined to form a diode. Now, we are going to
have a close look at the characteristics and the application.

Objective

At the end of this chapter you will be able to:

1. Understand the use of rectifier diodes and filters;


2. Differentiate between half wave, full wave and bridge rectifier; and
3. Understand the applications of diodes as clippers and limitters and
how it can be used a voltage multiplier.

2.1 Basic Ideas

An ordinary resistor is a linear device because the graph of its current


vs voltage is a straight line. A diode is a non-linear device because
when the diode voltage is less than the barrier potential the diode
current is small, but when the diode voltage exceeds the barrier
potential, the diode current increases rapidly.

The schematic symbol of a diode is as shown in Figure1 below:

Figure 1

The p side is called the anode and the n side the cathode.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

2.1.1The Reverse Region


The diode current vs diode voltage can be plotted as shown:

Figure 2

When the diode is forward biased, there is no significant current until


the diode voltage is greater than the barrier potential. On the other
hand, when the diode is reverse biased, there is almost no reverse
current until the diode voltage reaches the breakdown voltage, Then,
avalanche produces a large reverse current which will destroy the
diode.

2.1.2The Forward Region

In the forward region, the voltage at which the current starts to


increase rapidly is called the knee voltage of the diode, which equals
to the barrier potential. Analysis of diode circuits usually comes down
to determining whether the diode voltage is more or less than the knee
voltage. If it's more, the diode conducts easily, if it's less, the diode
conducts poorly.

2.2 Data sheet


If the current in a diode is too large, the excessive heat can destroy
the diode. For this reason, a manufacturer's data sheet specifies the
maximum current a diode can safely handle without shortening its life
or degrading its characteristics.

The maximum forward current is one of the maximum ratings given


on a data sheet. This current may be listed as Imax, IF(max), Io, etc. For
instance, a 1N456 has a maximum forward current rating of 1mA;
which means that it can safely handle a continuous forward current of
135 mA.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

2.3 Diode Approximation

2.3.1 Ideal Diode


This is the simplest approximation. In the most basic terms, a diode
acts like a perfect conductor (zero resistance) when forward biased,
and like a perfect insulator (infinite resistance) when reverse biased.
Therefore an ideal diode acts like a switch that closes when forward
biased and opens when reverse biased.

Example:

Use the ideal diode to calculate


Ideal the load voltage and load current in
figure below:

10V RL = 1K

Solution:

Since the diode is forward biased, it is equivalent to a closed switch.


Then, you can see that all of the source voltage appears across the
load resistor:

VL = 10V

With ohms law, the load current is:

IL = 10V / 1K = 10mA

2.3.2 Second Approximation

This is a more accurate approximation. There will be no current exists


until 0.7V appears across the diode, where at this point the diode
turns on. Thereafter only 0.7V can appear across the diode, no matter
what the current is.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

Example:

Use the second approximation to calculate the load voltage, load


current and diode power in figure below:

1K
10V

Solution:

Since the diode is forward biased, it is equivalent to a battery of 0.7V.


This means that the load voltage equals the source voltage minus the
diode drop:

VL = 10V – 0.7V = 9.3V

With ohms law the load current is:

IL = 9.3V / 1K = 9.3mA

The diode power is:

PD = (0.7V)(9.3mA) = 6.51mW

2.4 Rectifier Diodes


Most electronic devices like TVs, stereos and computers need a dc
voltage to work properly. Since the power line voltage is alternating,
the first thing we need to do is to convert the ac line voltage to dc
voltage. The section of the electronic device that produce this dc
voltage is called the power supply. Within the power supply are
circuits that allow current to flow in only one direction. These circuits
are called rectifiers.

2.4.1 The Half-Wave Rectifier


Figure below shows a half wave rectifier circuit.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

Figure 3

The ac source produces a sinusoidal voltage. Assuming an ideal diode,


the positive half cycle of source voltage will forward bias the diode,
thus the switch is closed; and the positive half cycle of the source
voltage will appear across the load resistor.

On the negative half cycle, the diode is reverse biased and it appears
as an open switch and no voltage appears across the load resistor.

A half wave signal shown in figure below, is a pulsating dc voltage that


increases to a maximum, decreases to zero, and then remains at zero
during the negative half cycle. This is not the kind of dc voltage that
we need for electronics equipment. To get a constant dc voltage, we
need to filter the half wave signal, which will discuss in the next topic.

Figure 4

• Ideal Half Wave

The peak output voltage is equals to the peak input voltage.

Ideal Half wave: V p ( out ) = V p ( in )

• DC Value of Half Wave Signal

The dc value of a signal is the same as the average value.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

Vp
Half wave: V dc =
π

• Output Frequency

The output frequency is the same as the input frequency.

Half wave: f out = f in

• Second Approximations

We don't get perfect half wave voltage across the load resistor.
Because of the barrier potential, the diode does not turn on until
the ac source voltage is much greater than 0.7V.

2nd half wave: V p ( out ) = V p ( in ) − 0.7V


Example

1. Find peak load voltage and dc load voltage for both ideal and
second approximation. Given that Vrms = 0.707 Vp .

1K
10V/60Hz

Solution

From given formula,

V rms 10V
Vp = = = 14.1 V
0.707 0.707

With an ideal diode, the peak load voltage is:

V p ( out ) = V p (in ) = 14.1 V

The dc load voltage is:

Vp 14.1
V dc = = = 4.49V
π π

With the second approximation, we get a peak load voltage of:

V p ( out ) = V p (in ) − 0.7 = 14.1 V - 0.7 V = 13.4 V

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

and a dc load voltage of:

Vp 13.4
V dc = = = 4.27V
π π

2.4.2 The Full Wave Rectifier

Figure below shows a full wave rectifier circuit.

Figure 5

The full wave rectifier is equivalent to two half-wave rectifiers. Diode


D1 conducts on the positive half cycle and diode D2 conducts on the
negative half cycle. As a result, the rectified load current flows during
both half cycles. The full wave rectifiers act the same as two back to
back half-wave rectifiers, shown below:

Figure 6

• Dc or Average Value

Since the full wave signal has twice as many positive cycles as the
half wave signal, the dc or average value is twice as much.

2V p
Full wave: V dc =
π

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

• Output Frequency

The ac line voltage has a frequency of 60 Hz. Therefore the input


period is

1 1
Tin = = = 16.7 ms
f 60

Because of the full wave rectification, the period of the full-wave


signal is half the input period:

Tout = 0.5(16.7) = 8.33 ms

The frequency of the full wave signal is double the input frequency.

Full wave: f out = 2 f in

• Second Approximation

Since the full wave rectifier is like two back to back half wave
rectifiers, we can use the second approximation given earlier. The
idea is to subtract 0.7V from the ideal peak output voltage. See
example.

Example

Find input voltage to each diode. And find the output voltage ideally
and using second approximation.

10:1
120V/60Hz

1K

Solution:

The peak primary voltage is:

V rms 120 V
V p (1) = = = 170 V
0.707 0.707

Because of the 10:1 step down transformer, the peak secondary


voltage is:

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

V p (1) 170
V p ( 2) = = = 17 V
N1 / N 2 10

The full wave rectifier acts like two back to back half wave rectifier.
Because of the center tap, the input voltage to each half wave rectifier
is only half the secondary voltage:

V p ( in ) = 0.5(17) = 8.5 V

Ideally the output voltage is:

V p ( out ) = 8.5V

Using the second approximation:

V p ( out ) = 8.5 − 0.7 = 7.8V

2.4.3 The Bridge Rectifier


Figure below shows a bridge rectifier circuit.

Figure 7

Bridge rectifier is similar to a full-wave rectifier because it produces a


full-wave output voltage. Diodes D1 and D2 conduct on the positive
half cycle, and D3 and D4 conduct on the negative half cycle.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

Figure below shows the equivalent circuit for the positive half cycle.

Figure 8

Note that D1 and D2 are forward biased so it produces a positive load


voltage as indicated by the plus minus polarity across the load
resistor.

We can see that when D2 is short circuit, the circuit acts like a half-
wave rectifier.

Figure below shows the equivalent circuit for the negative half cycle.

Figure 9

This time, D3 and D4 are forward biased. This also produces a


positive load voltage. We can also see that when D3 is short circuit,
the circuit looks like a half-wave rectifier. So the bridge rectifier acts
like two back to back half-wave rectifier.

Advantage of bridge rectifier: All the secondary voltage is used as the


input to the rectifier.
So, using the same transformer, we can get
twice as much peak voltage and twice as
much dc voltage with a bridge rectifier
compared to full wave rectifier mentioned
in previous section.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
Summaries of the three rectifiers and their properties:

Half wave Full Wave Bridge


Number of Diodes 1 2 4
Rectifier Input V p ( 2) 0.5V p ( 2 ) V p ( 2)
Peak output (Ideal) V p ( 2) 0.5V p ( 2 ) V p ( 2)
Peak Output (2d) V p ( 2 ) − 0.7 V 0.5V p ( 2 ) − 0.7 V V p ( 2 ) − 1.4 V
DC Output V p (out ) 2 V p ( out ) 2 V p ( out )
π π π
Ripple Frequency f in 2 f in 2 f in
V p ( 2 ) = peak secondary voltage

V p (out ) = peak output voltage

2.5 Rectifier Filters


Think!!!!

Why do you think that we need to filter the output of a rectifier?

There are a few rectifier filters that will be discussed here. They are:

• The choke-Input Filter


• The Capacitor Input Filter

2.5.1 The Choke Input Filter


Figure below shows the circuit for choke-input filter.

Figure 10

The ac source produces a current in the inductor, capacitor and


resistor. The ac current in each component depends on the inductive
reactance, capacitive reactance and the resistance.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

The inductor has a reactance given by:

X L = 2πfL

The capacitor has a reactance given by:

1
XC =
2πfC

The choke (or inductor) has the primary characteristic of opposing a


change in current. Because of this, a choke input filter ideally reduces
the ac current in the load resistor to zero.

Requirement for a well designed choke-input filter:

1. XC at the input frequency is much smaller than R L . Thus


the load resistance can be ignored. The circuit can be redrawn
as shown below:

Figure 11

2. X L is much greater than X C at the input frequency. Thus the


ac output voltage equals:
X
Vout = C Vin
XL

FILTERING THE OUTPUT OF A RECTIFIER

Figure below shows a choke-input filter between a rectifier and a load.


Note that the rectifier can be either half-wave, full-wave or bridge
rectifier.

Figure 12
The rectifier output has two different components: a dc voltage (the
average value) and an ac voltage (the fluctuating part). As shown
below:

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

Figure 13

Each of these voltages acts like a separate source.

Consider the ac voltage: X L is much greater than X C .


Thus, a very little ac voltage across the load
resistor.

Consider the dc voltage: At 0 Hz, the inductive reactance is zero and


the capacitive reactance is infinite.
Thus, only the series resistance of the inductor
windings remains. R S is much smaller than R L
causes most of the dc component to appear
across the load resistor.

Almost all of the dc component is passed on the load resistor and


almost all of the ac component is blocked. In this way, we get an
almost perfect dc voltage, almost constant like the voltage output of a
battery.

Figure below shows the filtered output for a full wave signal. Note that
there is a small ac load voltage which is called a ripple.

Figure 14

MAIN DISADVANTAGE

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
1. Large inductances have to be used to get enough reactance for
adequate filtering.
2. Large winding resistance will create a design problem with large
load currents.
3. Too much dc voltage is dropped across the choke resistance.
4. Bulky/big and heavy inductors are not suitable for modern
semiconductor circuit.

2.5.2 The Capacitor-Input Filter


Think!!!

Identify the difference in the dc output voltage produced in choke-


input filter and capacitor-input filter.

BASIC IDEA OF CAPACITOR CIRCUIT (without load resistor)

Refer to the figure below and see what this simple circuit (without load
resistor) does during the first quarter cycle.

Figure 15

Initially, the capacitor is uncharged. During the first quarter cycle of


figure below, the diode is forward biased. Since it ideally acts like a
closed switch, the capacitor charges and its voltage equals the source
voltage at each instant of the first quarter cycle. The charging
continues until it reaches the maximum value. At this point the
capacitor voltage equals V p .

Figure 16

After the input voltage reaches the peak, it starts to decrease. As soon
as the input voltage is less than V p , the diode turns off, and it acts

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
like an open circuit. During the remaining cycle, the capacitor stays
fully charged and the diode remains open. This is why the output
voltage in figure above is constant and equals to V p .

EFFECT OF LOAD RESISTOR

For the capacitor-input filter to be useful, we need to connect a load


resistor across the capacitor as shown below:

Figure 17

The capacitor remains fully charged as long as the time constant R L C


is much greater than the period. Thus the load voltage is
approximately V p , and there is a small ripple in the output.

Figure 18

Between peaks, the diode is off and the capacitor discharges through
the load resistor, (the capacitor supplies the load current). Since the
capacitor discharges only slightly between peaks, the peak to peak
ripple is very small. When the next peak arrives, the diode conducts
briefly and recharges the capacitor to the peak value.

FULL WAVE FILTERING

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
If we connect a full-wave or bridge rectifier, to a capacitor-input filter,
the peak-to-peak ripple is cut in half. See figure below:

Figure 19
THE RIPPLE FORMULA

Peak-to-peak ripple out of any capacitor-input filter is:

I
VR =
fC

where V R is peak-to-peak ripple voltage


I is dc load current
f is ripple frequency
C is capacitance

Example:

Give the name of the filter used in this figure and find the dc load
voltage and ripple in this figure by assuming an ideal diode.

5:1
120V/60Hz 100µF 5K

Solution:

The rms secondary voltage is:

120
V2 = = 24V
5

The peak secondary voltage is:

24
Vp = = 34 V
0.707

Assuming an ideal diode and small ripple, dc load voltage is:

V L = 34 V

To calculate the ripple, we first need to get the dc load current,

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
VL 34
IL = = = 6.8mA
R L 5K

Then, use the equation for ripple voltage:

I 6.8mA
VR = = = 1.13 Vpp
fC (60)(100µ )

2.6 Clippers and Limiters

The diodes we have mentioned earlier are used in low frequency power
supplies and is called rectifier diodes. These diodes have little use
because most circuits inside electronics equpment are running at
much higher frequencies.

In this section, we will be using small-signal diodes. These diodes are


optimized for use at high frequencies.

2.6.1 The Positive Clipper


A clipper is a circuit that removes either positive or negative part of a
waveform. This kind of processing is useful for signal shaping, circuit
protection and communications. Figure below shows a positive
clipper:

Figure 20

Note that the circuit removes all the positive part of the input signal.
The output signal has only negative half cycle.

Circuit Operation:
During the positive half cycle, the diode turns on and looks
like a short circuit across the output terminals. Ideally, the

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
output voltage is zero, but to a second approximation, the
diode voltage is 0.7V when conducting.

On the negative half cycle, the diode is open. Thus a negative


half cycle appears across the output.

The series resistor is much smaller than the load resistor,


thus, the negative output peak is shown as − V p .

2.6.2 The Negative Clipper


Reverse the polarity of diode used in the positive clipper to get a
negative clipper, as shown below:

Figure 21

The negative part of the signal is removed. Ideally the output


waveform has nothing but positive half cycle. Because of the diode
offset voltage (barrier potential), the clipping level is at –0.7V.

2.6.3 The Limiter or Diode Clamp


In previous section, we have seen that, clipper is useful for
waveshaping. Now, we will see how the limiter or diode clamp is used
to protect sensitive circuits from too much input.

See figure below:

Figure 23

The normal input to this circuit is a signal with a peak of only 15mV.
Therefore the normal output is the same signal because neither diode

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009
is turned on during the cycle. The diode remains off during normal
operation, and will only conduct when the signal is too large.

Thus, if the input tries to rise above 0.7V, the output is limited to
0.7V. On the other hand if the input tries to drop below –0.7 V, the
output is limited to –0.7V.

An example of a sensitive circuit is an opamp.

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

Tutorial 2

1. Draw the current vs. voltage graph for a diode. Please indicate clearly the knee
voltage, reverse current, breakdown region, reverse region and forward region.
Explain briefly what happened in each region.

2. (a) Describe the purpose of using rectifier diodes.


(a) Draw the circuit and output to each rectifier:
i) half wave rectifier
ii) full wave rectifier
iii) bridge rectifier

3. Calculate the average value for each rectifier when the voltage ac source is
10V and 60 Hz:
a. half wave
b. full wave

4. Draw the circuit and the output for choke filter and capacitor input filter if
they are connected to a half wave rectifier.

5.
9:1
120V/60Hz

470µF 1K

(a) Name the rectifier and filter used in this circuit.


(b) Show the output waveform of this circuit.
(c) find the dc load voltage and ripple voltage.

6. Give the name of the filter used in this figure and find the dc load voltage and
ripple in this figure by assuming an ideal diode and second approximation.
Show the output waveform.
8:1
120V/60Hz 47µF 10K

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EGE217: Electronics 1
Lecturer: Siti Hamimah Sh. Ismail
January 2009

7. Find input voltage to each diode. And find the output voltage ideally and using
second approximation.

10:1

120V/60Hz
1K

8. Find the name of this rectifier and find peak load voltage and dc load voltage
for both ideal and second approximation. Given that Vrms = 0.707 Vp .

10V/60Hz 1K

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