Diodes are electrical shock valves that only allow electricity to flow in one direction i.e., from positive to negative. That feature alone explains why we have many uses of diodes in everyday life. We can represent it symbolically using arrows pointing from the positive to the negative. They are known to exhibit differing electrical behavior. Others can emit light while others are capable of sensing properties like light levels and temperatures.
There are about four types of diodes that exist today. The first one is a vacuum tube diode. It is one of the earliest forms, but it’s still in use in some specialty audio equipment. The second type is the P-N junction, which is accessible for stopping electron flow. Zener diode is the third type, which mostly operates with less than 5 volts. Lastly, the Schottky is responsible for reverse current protection, especially in DC power supplies.
Practical uses of diodes in everyday life
1. Rectifying a voltage/ power conversion
Rectifying a voltage is a diode’s most common function. It involves changing the current from alternating to direct current. They are very popular in electric switches and also surge protectors to prevent a surge in voltage. A single diode can transform 110v to DC by forming a full-wave or half-way rectifier. The diode does not allow the full AC power to travel through it. The waveform that passes through it goes to charge the capacitors. The output from this process is a steady DC voltage. Both capacitors and diodes can create stable voltage multipliers that can convert a small AC voltage to a very high voltage output.
2. Isolating signals from a supply
Another example of the most common uses in everyday life is the demodulation of signals. It involves taking out a negative component of an AC signal. Isolating of signals is mostly used in radios as a filtering system. The isolation helps to extract strong radio signals from a wave. An AC waveform usually has a negative portion, which is identical to the positive half. A small part of the information can be lost in the process of stripping it away. That leads to efficient and more signal processing.
3. Controlling the size of a signal
Most electronic circuits contain a semiconductor diode to control high frequencies or small currents. A small-signal diode of the PN Junction is encapsulated for protection. Also, signals are connected to the amount of power. Diodes can control the size of the signal by limiting the AC voltage. The higher the quality of diodes in your device, the higher the quality. Also, the more intact your information will be.
4. Logic gates
Diodes can perform both digital logic and switching operations. Reverse and forward bias switch a diode between high and low impedance states, respectively. The digital logic function includes the AND and OR logic. Also, analog switches are made up of these diodes. Most modern processors depend on the logic gates. Almost every electronic device at home or office contains some processor.
5. Diodes and light
Diodes are used to make flashlights. The illumination originates from the LED that glows in the presence of a positive voltage. For example, solar panels use photodiodes to convert the light into a current. Note that every device that uses solar panels cannot exist without diodes.
6. over voltage protections
Excess voltage can damage our electronic devices. An overvoltage protection circuit protects electronics from the overvoltage power supply. Diodes achieve this by shutting down the converter after sensing an overvoltage condition. It is mostly applicable for DC-DC converters.
7.Diodes in clamping circuits
Diodes are found in almost every circuit. They are simple, but these devices handle essential functions that determine the success of a circuit. Diodes are made from doped germanium or silicon semiconductors. They are mostly associated with conducting current in one direction and dropping or boosting voltage. A clamping circuit is useful for placing either a negative or a positive peak signal at the desired level. Clamping circuits are applied in radar or sonar testing. Besides, they are also used in video processing equipment.
8. Voltage multiplier circuits
Voltage multiplier circuits are mostly made up of diodes. These are circuits that deliver higher voltage that is double the amplitude of the power input. You can also refer to it as circuits that can provide covert low AC input to high DC voltage output. Capacitors and diodes form the AC-DC converter. The voltage multiplier holds different stages where the diodes and capacitors are connected in different configurations. There are four types of voltage multiplies half-wave, full-wave, voltage Tripler and voltage quadruple.
9. Diodes in solar panels
The most important uses of diodes in everyday life are making solar panels. It contains two types of diodes, which are blocking and bypass diodes. Solar panels can experience power loss due to shading, and this is why bypass diodes are used. Shaded solar cells consume a lot of electricity when power is moving from high to low voltage. The bypass diodes prevent power loss by providing a low resistance path. Furthermore, blocking diodes are used to prevent power loss during at night.
10. Light emission
Incandescent light bulbs provide both light and heat. Although they are not popular today, some homesteads and organizations still use them. However, what we have today in most of our homes are the LEDs. They are also expensive than the incandescent because a lot of circuitry control is needed for them to work. Furthermore, the LEDs are more useful because of their ability to save power. They don’t have the coils but mostly operate with the assistance of diodes.
11. Sensing and control
A lot of sensing devices have diodes incorporated into them. With optical effects, semiconductors generate electrical charges. Light-emitting diodes are also used in laser devices apart from sensors. Laser sensors are advantageous because they can solve inspection applications with high precision performance. They work in many different materials, such as colors and reflective surfaces. In the industries, LED sensors can scan moving machines and also soft or sticky parts.