Diodes – Rectifier – LEDs – Zener – Schottky

Diodes easily conduct current in one direction (forward biased) but not in the other direction (reverse biased). The exception being the zener diode (sometimes called avalanche diode). Zeners are made specifically to conduct while reverse biased.

  • Rectifier
  • LEDs
  • Zener
  • Schottky

Electronics forward or reverse biased rectifier and light emitting diode LED for quick videos 3

Rectifier diode

Rectifier diode and LED schematic symbols and common appearance with forward biased polarity diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom
Rectifier diode and LED schematic symbols and common appearance with forward biased polarity diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom

Rectifier diodes are made especially to rectify (only allow current in one direction). They still have limitations though of course. They usually still drop about 0.7V while forward biased, and have a limit to how much voltage they can block while reverse biased. Make sure to check the datasheet of the part number you are using to verify safe RB voltages. Covered in more detail at – Rectifier diode

LEDs

Basic electronics LED circuit expectations using a 9V 500mAh battery 470 ohm or 1K resistor diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom
Basic electronics LED circuit expectations using a 9V 500mAh battery 470 ohm or 1K resistor diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LEDs are relatively poor diodes. They are really only intended to produce light wile forward biased. They block more voltage while forward biased than other diodes, typically about 1.5V to 3.2V. Some colors drop more voltage than others, and they drop more voltage as current goes up.

LEDs should be limited to 20mA or less unless otherwise indicated. Covered in more detail at – Light Emitting Diodes – Indicator LEDs

Zener diode

Common resistor and diode component variations diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom
Common resistor and diode component variations diagram by electronzap electronzapdotcom

Zener diodes are used while reverse biased (RB). They block a certain voltage which depends on their rated zener voltage. Much like resistors come in a wide range of values, zener diodes come in a wide range of values.

Current starts flowing through the RB zener diode once it’s zener voltage is reached. This current is usually sent directly to the negative supply (ground). The zener diode can be thought of as a voltage release valve because it prevents a voltage from exceeding the zener voltage.

Schottky diode

Schottky diodes are used just like rectifier diodes. But they have the benefit of blocking less voltage while forward biased. Typically about 0.3V instead of approx. 0.7V. This results in less power loss, but schottky diodes don’t block reverse voltage quite as well as rectifiers.

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A lot of the components that I use are in this diode and transistor semiconductor kit.



Nice looking LED kit. Good to have a lot of LEDs because it’s relatively easy to damage them, or to want to use a lot of them in various projects.


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