[Amps] HV Diodes
Glen Zook via Amps
amps at contesting.com
Mon Oct 13 10:29:29 EDT 2014
Who is paying 9.99-cents for a 1N4007? I pay 2-cents for them in 100 quantity. I keep a drawer full to use anywhere I need a silicon power diode.
I was paying like 10-cents each for 1N5408. However, they recently went to 12-cents each. Again, in quantity of 100. I have another drawer full of those diodes.
Being retire, and on a "fixed budget", I don't like to squander money. However, $2.00 for a quantity of 1N4007 and $12.00 for a quantity of 1N5408 is not going to "kill me"! Being able to open a parts drawer and have something to do the job at hand, is certainly worth it!
As to which diode to use: It depends! I don't like to have to repair equipment so I do tend to "go overboard" sometimes with the parts used. But, not that far from the boat! If, for some reason, I don't have the desired part right then, I may go ahead and used a "heavier" part just to get things going. However, that is for convenience and not for any financial reason.
On Sunday, October 12, 2014 8:08 PM, Jim Thomson <jim.thom at telus.net> wrote:
Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2014 16:35:39 +0000
From: Manfred Mornhinweg <manfred at ludens.cl>
To: amps at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [Amps] HV Diodes
I wonder why the diode selection is so totally overblown here.
Let's assume a pretty big amplifer, solid legal limit, CCS, which is more than
any ham needs. The power supply might deliver 3500V at 0.8A. Each diode string
in a bridge rectifier will then see a peak voltage that might reach 4000V in the
event of line overvoltage, and an average current of 0.4A at full output. The
current will be very peaky, but rectifier diodes are rated to take that.
## Commercial broadcast HV supplies will typ use TRIPLE the piv rating for
each leg of a FWB. The theory here is.... the MOVs across the 240 vac input,or
208vac, 3 phase input will not start to clamp until the ac line V has doubled.
For a 3500 vdc no load B+ supply, use 10 kv piv per leg.
The cheapy 1N4007 diode is rated for 1000V reverse voltage, and 1A continuous
average forward current, when mounted in a normal way that will allow conducting
about 1W of heat away, through its leads. Current-wise this diode has all the
safety headroom you might need. Voltage-wise you need 4 of them in series, and
that's it. For a bridge rectifier you need 16 of those diodes, which cost $0.099
each at Digikey, if you buy just those 16. For $1.58 you get all the diodes you
need! Or be generous, use 5 in series in each leg, and spend two bucks on them.
### A 1N5408 runs pretty damn warm to hot with 1A CCS flowing, when
I tested em for bias use.... using a variable dc power supply + resistor in series
with the string of 1N5408s. A 6A10 runs warm to hot with just 2A CCS flowing.
And that’s with full lead lengths on each end of each diode.
Try running 1A CCS through a 1N4007, and see hot hot it gets.
I hear some of you cry "and the voltage transients?" Well, what transients? The
diode bridge sits right across a big capacitor! Any voltage transients will be
clamped to the capacitor voltage.
Of course some of you will now cry "and the current transients?" Sure, any
voltage transients on the power line will translate into current transients when
the filter capacitor clamps the voltage. In addition there will be a big inrush
current at switch-on, if no step start or slow start circuit is used. So there
will indeed be some current transients. But how large can they be? Small
transformers have so much resistance in their wire, that just the resistance
would limit the short circuit current to about ten times the nominal load
current. Larger transformers like those used in legal limit amps have relatively
smaller winding resistances, so that the resistance might limit the current to
20 times the nominal value. But then there is leakage inductance, which also
reduces the current transients. So I would not expect such a transformer to
produce an inrush current stronger than 10 times the nominal current, even
assuming a zero impedance power line, which none of us has! So, the inrush
current with no step start circuit might be around 11A, considering that a
transformer for 0.8A output from a capacitor-input filter needs to be rated for
And a cheapy 1N4007 has a 35A inrush current rating. More than three times what
### Nice try. My dahl xfmr has a 6 ohm dc resistance across its 5200 vac winding,
and only 3 ohms across the 2600 vac tap. Pri resistance is just .002 ohm.
My L4B xfmr has a 10 ohm sec winding.
The big B+ caps across the B+ will only clamp the excess V so much. See carls comments.
That 35A inrush rating is for a half cycle of 60 hz.... or 8.3 msecs to be exact.
And how much transient current could we see during lightning? This is harder to
tell, because such fast, extremely strong hits are hugely attenuated by line
impedance, and clamped by all sorts of electronic devices in the homes, so that
the current spike resulting in your amp's rectifier diodes depends a lot on
those impedance values. But if such a spike exceeds 35A, it would have to exceed
roughly 350A on the 240V power line feeding the amp, which means that in a
typical home it would need to far exceed a kiloampere at the service input. The
voltage at that point would need to be VERY high, causing flashovers everywhere
and thus limiting the transient current into the home. I would expect the final
transient in the amp's rectifier diodes to remain well below the 35A rating of
1N4007 diodes. You might see your house catch fire from the flash-overs and the
molten wire, before those diodes blow up.
Of course everyone is free to use 1N5408 or 6A10 diodes, at $0.278 and $0.368
respectively at Digikey. And if somebody wants to use 10 in series in each leg,
who am I to forbid that? But technically it's pointless. Strings of 4 to 5
1N4007 diodes in each leg, properly mounted for decent heat sinking, are
perfectly safe and sound.
### I use 6A10s for the HV supply, also use 6A10s for the bias..and also use
em for safety diodes, between B- and chassis. I have seen 6A10s short out
when used as safety diodes, so now use 3-4 x 6A10s in parallel, to increase the
surge rating. Since I use strings of diodes for the FWB / FWD..and also 10-60
of em in series for bias.... tapped of course to vary the bias...and also for
safety diodes.... its dirt cheap to just buy 200-250 of the damned things..
6A10s..and be done with it. I also put a rvs connected 6A10 across each HV lytic.
In my National NCL2000 I use 1N5408 diodes, but that amplifier has a voltage
doubler, so the diodes work at twice the current, compared to a bridge
rectifier. While 1N4007 diodes would still have been operating within ratings,
the current headroom would have been rather tight. So I chose the bigger diodes.
## If you cant afford to buy 1N5408s or 6A10s.... you shouldn’t be in this hobby.
Even if you are in the poor house, you can still afford something better than the
$.0990 1N4007 pos diode.
## I spend way more for coffee + 94 octane every day. How cheap can you get ?
Blow up some 1N4007s and you will be cursing that you didn’t use a real diode.
Having to pull an amp all apart, unsolder some stupid 1N4007s, then replace em
with 1N5408s is a pita. And don’t even think of doing something silly.... like
replacing with more 1N4007s. Even if your time is free, its still a pita.
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