Avalanche / Zener Breakdown Current

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ben sorenson

Joined Feb 28, 2022
106
Hello, I am trying to get an understanding of the zener and or avalanche current process. I'm just wondering if the "avalanche current" is the ability draw more current from the source, or is the "avalanche current" its own current, seperate from the source added to the total current of the circuit?
 

Papabravo

Joined Feb 24, 2006
19,611
Hello, I am trying to get an understanding of the zener and or avalanche current process. I'm just wondering if the "avalanche current" is the ability draw more current from the source, or is the "avalanche current" its own current, seperate from the source added to the total current of the circuit?
Most "sources" will supply whatever current the "load" requires up to the limits of that "source". A device which "requires" large amounts of current will generally heat up and destroy itself before the source is damaged in any meaningful way.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
15,462
I am trying to get an understanding of the zener and or avalanche current process. I'm just wondering if the "avalanche current" is the ability draw more current from the source, or is the "avalanche current" its own current, seperate from the source added to the total current of the circuit?
The terms zener and avalanche refer to the breakdown mechanism. Zener diodes of 5V or less employ the zener breakdown mechanism while zener diodes greater than 4V 8V employ avalanche breakdown mechanism. By tradition, we refer to all of them as zener diodes.

EDIT: Corrected typo.
 
Last edited:

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
27,903
Hello, I am trying to get an understanding of the zener and or avalanche current process. I'm just wondering if the "avalanche current" is the ability draw more current from the source, or is the "avalanche current" its own current, seperate from the source added to the total current of the circuit?
Not sure exactly what you are asking. A zener diode is not a source of current in the same sense that a power supply is. The zener/avalanche current is merely the mechanism by which a particular device supports current flow through in response to a voltage applied across it. So I think the answer to the question I think you are asking is that the current is drawn from the source and not it's own current separate from it.
 
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