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zener diodes

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Screech, May 11, 2004.

  1. Screech

    Screech New Member

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    whats a zener diode?
    why are they made in many different voltages.
     
  2. ChrisP

    ChrisP New Member

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    From Chapter 3 of All About Circuits:

    Simply put, a zener diode is one that is designed to maintain a consistent voltage drop across itself when reverse-biased, regardless of circuit current, within the capacity of the diode. The voltage dropped is a specific design voltage and is basically equivalent to the zener voltage of the diode. Zener diodes are commonly used as voltage requlating devices. The reason that so many different values are offered is for versatility in circuit design.
     
  3. smiller

    smiller New Member

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  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. Brocktune

    Brocktune New Member

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    Check this out: http://www.kpsec.freeuk.com/components/diode.htm

    Zener explanation is somewhere on that page.

    Basically, zeners are hooked up backwards to take advantage of reverse breakdown voltage. Zeners aren't damaged by reverse breakdown, but regular diodes can be. This makes them a good choice in using their reverse breakdown voltage to limit another voltage in a circuit to a very specific value.

    Zeners come with many different breakdown voltages because designers don't always want to limit the same voltage.
     
  6. Screech

    Screech New Member

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    Cool. :D
    Thanks guys.
    Guess what will be on my next electronic shopping list.
     

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