Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Diodes image source NL learning center
Diodes have a wide range of applications. One of these applications is in the power supplies. These are systems that are designed for the production, management, and distribution of electric power. Being an active electronic component, you are likely to find diodes in such systems and they are used for different functions. In this guide, we are going to discuss in detail the importance of diodes in power supplies. We will look at the types of diodes that are used and the specific roles that they play in power supplies.
Basics of power supply
To know the importance of diodes in power supplies, it will be prudent to have a brief overview of this system and how it works.
For the power to be supplied, it must be generated. This means that one basic component of a power supply system is the power source. The power source can be a major power generation plant or it can be a battery that stores power. It all depends on the application area of the power supply system.
The next tenet of a power supply system is the power transmission. This is involved with the distribution of electric power from the source to the load or other target components. Power transmission and distribution networks are built in a way that ensure there is minimal interference to the transmission of electric current. For example, the diodes will ensure that power is transmitted in one direction only and not the other. There are many other activities that take place in the power transmission and distribution network. They include switching, amplification, step-up, and step-down among others. Different electronic components are used to ensure that all these actions are implemented perfectly.
The final stage of the power supply system entails connecting the power to the loads These are devices that are designed to use power for various intended purposes. This group mainly comprises appliances and devices.
There are many goals that a power supply network should achieve. One of them is to ensure that target loads get the adequate power that they need. Another key element of the supply system is protection The supply system should ensure that all the components in the system are protected from various electrical-related issues such as current overload, and fire accidents among others.
Functions of diodes in power supplies
Now that you know the basics of power supplies, let’s look at some of the main roles of diodes in the running of power supplies.
Diodes as rectifiers
Image of power rectification: source Electrical Tutorials
Rectification is all about the conversion of power from one form to another. In the case of power supply, it entails conversion from alternating current (AC) to the direct current (DC). Rectifiers are made of many electronic components and diodes are among them. Diodes are versatile and capability to be used in both low and high-voltage applications.
When a diode is used in a rectifier, it will cut off the negative portion of the AC waveform. This function is amplified when we have many diodes embedded in a single rectifier. They are arranged in a perfect way to facilitate the efficiency of the rectification process. This implies that the conversion from AC to DC should be done in a timely manner and at the same time minimize loss of current.
Rectification in power supplies can happen in two ways; half-wave and full-wave rectification. In the half-wave rectification, the negative wave of the AC is phased out as the positive wave is amplified. This rectification is usually used in single-phase power supply applications.
In the full-wave rectification, the positive and negative halves of the wave are converted to produce a smoother output. To achieve this rectification, diodes in the power supply system are arranged in a way that ensures they form a bridge-like structure.
Zener diodes are used as voltage regulators
Regulation is another major element in the power supply system. Zener diodes are best suited for this function. They are designed to regulate the voltage across the circuits in the power supply systems. They are usually connected in power supplies that have parallel energy sources. Such connections ensure that the Zener diode will operate in a reverse biased mode.
The circuit will conduct current normally until when the voltage will reach the reverse breakdown voltage of the diode. Once the breakdown voltage has been reached, the diode will operate at low impedance ensuring that the voltage across the circuit does not exceed that threshold.
When used as power regulators, Zener diodes improve the stability of the power supply network. They are usually installed next to the loads to ensure that the load operates within a stable power range.
Switching/control current in power supplies
Diodes are also used as switches in the power supply circuits. They can determine and dictate the flow of electric current. The switching functionality will depend on how they are placed in the circuit.
When forward-biased, they will allow current to flow through the circuit. The reverse is true when reverse-biased. Other than switching, diodes are used in power supplies to determine the direction of the current.
Are you building a power supply system? From this guide, it is clear that you cannot afford to underestimate the essence of diodes. They ensure that everything related to the power supply network is executed in a smooth and efficient way. Diodes also guarantee the safety of the power supply network.
When it comes to buying diodes for power supply, ensure that they are of the right type and meet the specifications of the power supply network. Also, ensure that the specifications of the diode that you want to buy meet the power requirements of your power supply systems.
You can improve your chances of ending up with the right power supply diode by buying from reputable and reliable electronic components distributors in China. Other than ending up with high-quality diodes for sale, you will also be sure of getting the component at the right price.
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