Diode LED electronic component basics

Diodes and LEDs (light emitting diodes) are best known for conducting current easily in one direction (forward biased), while blocking a lot of voltage (and thus current) in the other direction (reverse biased).

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  • Rectifier diode – Primary diode used for easily passing current while forward biased and blocking current while reverse biased (rectification). Most commonly made of silicon with approx. 0.7V forward drop and a reverse biased blocking voltage which is much larger, but greatly depending on the particular diode and should never be exceeded or damage will be likely.

Electronics rectifier diode beginner basics explained using 1F supercapacitor backup power circuit video below Click here to watch directly on YouTube!

    • Light emitting diode LED – Mostly used as an efficient light source while forward biased. Also block current while reverse biased.
    • Zener/Avalanche diode – Usually just called zener diodes, they start to safely pass current while reverse biased at an approximate voltage based on their specification and are usually used in that way to set a voltage at that point of a circuit. They still pass current at approx. 0.7V while forward biased.

Zener diode component for basic beginner electronics video below. Click here to watch directly on YouTube!

  • Schottky diode – has a lower forward voltage drop than rectifier diode.

Electronics Schottky diode 15SQ045 beginner basics used in a supercapacitor charging circuit video below. Click here to watch directly on YouTube!

A diode with a voltage across it is always blocking some or all of that voltage.

Testing LED forward voltages without a resistor using portable power supply display


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