Zener Diodes. Zener Diode Symbols

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1 Zener Diodes A Zener diode is a special purpose diode that is designed to operate in the reverse breakdown region of the diode s characteristic curve. Regular diodes will be destroyed if they are used in the reverse breakdown region. Zener Diode Symbols The schematic and physical symbols are shown. Note that the symbol is similar but somewhat different than that of a regular diode. Characteristic Curve of a Zener Diode Several representations of the characteristic curve for a Zener diode are shown.

2 The Zener diode is off when the applied voltage is less than the Zener voltage rating. When the applied voltage is greater than the Zener voltage rating the Zener diode turns on and current flows. Zener Diode Specifications Zener (Breakdown Voltage) Voltage - V Z V Z is the most common specification. Zener diode voltages range from 3.3 V to 100 V or more. As seen in the graph, the Zener voltage does increase a small amount as the diode current increases. This reflects the fact that the line in the graph is not perfectly vertical. The Zener diode used in our lab is the 1N 4734A with a Zener voltage of V Z = 5.6 V Power Dissipation P D This is the rating for the maximum amount of power the Zener diode can dissipate. Values range from 0.3 W to 50 W. For a 1N 4734A Zener diode the Power Rating is 1 Watt.

3 Power Derating Factor - PDF The maximum power that the Zener can safely dissipate decreases with temperature. The Power Derating Factor specifies this decrease in maximum power rating. Example For a 1N 4734A Zener diode the Power Derating Factor is 6.67 mw/ C above 50 C. 1. What is the maximum power rating of a 1N 4734A at 100 C? The derated maximum power is P D, derated P D, derated = P D,max - PDF x ΔT = 1 W mw/ C x 50 C = 1 W 333 mw = W Zener Diode Currents There are a number of Zener currents specified. Minimum Zener Current - I Z,Min The first is referred to as I Z,Min or I Z,knee. Locate this current on the diagram above. If the diode current is less than I Z,Min then the diode is off. Maximum Zener Current - I Z,Max If the actual Zener current exceeds I Z,Max then the diode will overheat and be destroyed. Locate the I Z,Max current on the diagram above. If the diode current is less than I Z,Max but greater than I Z,Min then the diode is operating in the on region of the diode curve. Zener Test Current I Z or I ZT The test current I Z is often used as a reference point to specify other Zener diode parameters. Maximum Zener Impedance (Resistance) - Z Z The value of Z Z is specified at the Zener test current. This would represent the reciprocal of the slope of the graph of the characteristic curve at the test current point. Maximum Zener Impedance (Resistance) at the Knee Point - Z ZK The value of Z ZK is specified at the Zener minimum current. Leakage Current - I R When the Zener diode is off the assumption is that the diode current is zero. In fact the diode current is a small value called Leakage current. The current is temperature sensitive.

4 Go to the course web site and examine the Zener diode data sheets Exercise Consult the Data Sheet for the 1N 4734A Zener diode and record the following values. Zener Voltage V Z (typical) Maximum Power Dissipation - P D Calculate the Maximum Zener Current - I Z,Max Power Derating factor - PDF Knee or Minimum Zener Current - I Z,Min Zener Test Current - I ZT Leakage Current - I R Maximum Zener Resistance - Z Z Maximum Zener Resistance at Knee - Z ZK Example 2. A 1N 4734A Zener diode has a Zener voltage V Z of 5.6 V at a test current of 45 ma. What is the value of the Zener voltage V Z at a Zener current of 75 ma? The change in Zener current ΔI Z = 75 ma - 45 ma = 30 ma The maximum Zener Resistance Z Z = 5 Ω The change in Zener voltage is ΔV Z = Z Z x ΔI Z = 5 Ω x 30 ma = 150 mv The new V Z = 5.6 V mv = 5.75 V Voltage Regulator Circuits The block diagram below shows an AC input voltage connected to a Rectifier circuit that converts the AC input into a D voltage. The filter capacitor smooths the DC voltage waveform. The Rectified and Filtered voltage is connected to a regulator circuit.

5 What is Voltage Regulation? A regulated voltage source is one where the output voltage does not change no matter how much current is drawn from the source. Conversely for an unregulated voltage source the output voltage decreases as the current drawn from the source increases. Regulated Voltage Source Unregulated Voltage Source V out V out I out I out Percent Regulation Factor As was done with the concept of percent Ripple, the percent voltage regulation is a good way to describe the performance of a voltage regulator circuit. The percent voltage regulation is given as: Percent Regulation = (V Load, NL - V Load, FL )/ V Load, FL x 100% where V Load, NL is the output voltage with no load V Load, FL is the output voltage at full load Example 3. Assume that a power supply produces 12 volts when the load current is zero (load resistance is infinite). If the output voltage drops to 10 volts when full load current flows, then the percent of regulation is Percent Regulation = (V Load, NL - V Load, FL )/ V Load, FL x 100% = (12 V 10 V)/10 V x 100% = 20%

6 Zener Diode Voltage Regulator Circuit In the circuit below the output load voltage V L is kept constant (at a value of V Z ). For the regulator circuit to work correctly the input voltage V in must be greater than V Z. The output voltage V L is of course equal to V Z V Z = V L The source current I S from Ohms Law is given as I S = (V in - V Z )/ R S The load current I L also from Ohms Law is given as And finally the Zener current I Z is found from KCL I L = V L /R L = V Z /R L I Z = I S - I L Example 4. For the circuit diagram above with a 1N 4734A Zener diode and V IN = 18 V, V Z = 5.6 V, R S = 1 kω R L = 1 kω. The source current is I S = (V in - V Z )/ R S = (18 V 5.6 V)/ 1 kω = 12.4 ma The output voltage The load current is The Zener current is V Z = V L = 5.6 V I L = V L /R L = V Z /R L = 5.6 V/1 kω = 5.6 ma I Z = I S - I L = 12.4 ma ma = 6.8 ma Effect of Variable Input Voltage The voltage regulator circuit has limits on its ability to maintain a constant load voltage. This example looks at the effect of a variable input voltage V IN. Assume the Zener diode is a 1N 4734A. V Z = 5.6 V I Z,min = 1 ma, I Z,max = 179 ma R L open circuit I L = 0

7 At the minimum Zener current of 1 ma, the voltage drop of R S is V RS = 1 ma x 220 Ω = 0.22 V So the minimum value of V IN is 0.22 V V = 5.82 V At the maximum Zener current of 179 ma, the voltage drop of R S is V RS = 179 ma x 220 Ω = 39.4 V So the maximum value of V IN is 39.4 V V = 45.0 V So if V IN stays within the limits of 5.82 V to 45.0 V then the output load voltage V out will be constant at 5.6 V Effect of Variable load Resistance The other example to investigate is the effect of a variable load resistor on the ability of the regulator circuit to maintain a constant output voltage. Assume the Zener diode is a 1N 4734A. V Z = 5.6 V I Z,min = 1 ma I Z,max = 179 ma V IN = 24 V RS = 470 Ω Part 1 When I L = 0 A (R L = ) Then the Zener diode current is a maximum value I Z = I S = (24 V V)/470 Ω = 39.1 ma This value of I Z is well below the I Z,max value of 179 ma so the diode is not in danger of overheating Part 2 The maximum value of load current I L,max occurs when the Zener diode current is a minimum (1 ma) I L,max = I S - I Z,min = 39.1 ma - 1 ma = 38.1 ma So the minimum value of R L is R L,min = 5.6 V/38.1 ma = 147 Ω So the load resistor R L can be adjusted from 147 Ω up to an open circuit (R L = ) and the output load voltage will b a constant 5.6 V.

8 Zener Diode Model Models of electronic components are useful to try and predict or explain the electronic behavior of the component. The Zener diode s behavior can be modeled as a voltage source in series with a resistor. For a 1N 4734A diode the value of R Z = 5Ω and V Z = 5.6 V Ripple Reduction A filter capacitor is useful to reduce the ripple voltage of a rectified load voltage waveform. But simply increasing the value of the capacitor is not always the best way to achieve a small ripple voltage. The Zener diode regulator circuit has ripple reduction properties as the example below will show. The circuit shows a Zener diode regulator circuit but the Zener diode has been replaced with its equivalent circuit model. Sample Calculation The input voltage V IN to the regulator circuit is assumed to be +10 V DC with a 0.5 V P-P Input ripple voltage. The percent ripple at the input is 0.5 V P-P/10 V x 100% = 5%

9 This circuit has 3 voltage sources the + 10 V DC input, the 0.5 V P-P Input ripple AC voltage and the 5.6 V Zener voltage. To analyze the effects of the circuit on the ripple voltage we need to use the Superposition Theorem. To do this the + 10 V DC input and the 5.6 V Zener voltages are shorted out. The circuit below shows this. V Ripple,Out,P-P The input voltage V IN can be designated V Ripple,In, P-P. As can be seen in the circuit the resistors R Z and R Load are in parallel. The equivalent resistance of these 2 resistors is R equiv = R Z R Load = (5 Ω x 100 Ω)/ (5 Ω Ω) = 4.76 Ω The 1 kω source resistor and this equivalent resistance form a voltage divider. The output ripple voltage is calculated as V Ripple,Out,P-P = R Z R Load /( R Z R Load + R S ) x V Ripple,In,P-P = 4.76 Ω/(4.76 Ω + 50 Ω) x 0.5 V P-P = 44 mv P-P The percent ripple at the output is Percent Ripple = 44 mv P-P/5.6 V x 100% = 0.75% Clearly both the absolute value and percent value of the ripple voltage have been reduced by the Zener diode regulator circuit. Integrated Circuit (3 terminal) Voltage Regulators A voltage regulator circuit can be built by the use of a discrete component like a Zener diode. However more sophisticated solutions are available with IC based Voltage Regulators. One of the more popular devices is the LM7805 voltage regulator. This is a fixed +5 V voltage regulator. In fact the LM7805 voltage regulator is only one member of a family of voltage regulators designated as LM78XX also designated as the LM 140 and LM 340 series of devices. The commonly available output voltages are +5 V, +12 V and + 15 V. There is also a LM79XX series of regulators that produce negative output voltages.

10 Typical Use Block Diagram Device Packaging Devices like the LM7805 and others come in different packages. The diagram below shows the TO-3 and the T0-220 packages two of the more common device packages for soldering on through hole plated circuit boards. These diagrams help the user identify the Input, Output and Ground pins. There are also a wide variety of packages available for surface mount circuit board assembly. Adjustable Voltage Regulators The LM 117/317 series of voltage regulators can produce a variable output voltage from 1.2 V to 37 V. View the voltage regulator data sheets on the course web site

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