How Do You Read Zener Diode Ratings?

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Zener diodes are often used to regulate power supply voltage, that is, produce a voltage level that is constant even when the supply's voltage varies. However, a Zener diode is not perfect. The Zener voltage will only be generated over a specific current range. And the Zener voltage will vary slightly over this current range. The Zener diode ratings that are needed to design a voltage regulator include the power dissipation rating, the minimum knee current rating, the maximum current rating and the Zener voltage. With these ratings, you can determine if the Zener diode will work for a specific voltage regulator design. Translate the Zener diode rating acronyms to the actual electrical specification. Don't get confused by acronyms like Pd, Vz, Izk or Izm. They are shorthand notations for electrical specifications. Pd means power dissipation, Vz means Zener voltage, Izk, means minimum knee current and Izm means maximum Zener current. Also understand that different acronyms and names ... more
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