[CQ-Contest] Mk2R+ optocouplers

David Gilbert ab7echo at gmail.com
Tue Jun 8 23:12:54 EDT 2021

I suspect that the lower frequency ones aren't being driven with as much 
LED current.  If anyone has the schematic they should be able to 
determine if that is true or not.  Faster speed doesn't typically mean 
greater duty cycle (more heat) but greater drive current into the LED 
will create more light output, and that drives the output transistor 
harder, which would make it turn on faster.   The phototransistor 
wouldn't necessarily turn off slower due to the higher drive unless it 
was being heavily saturated.

Heat is a significant factor in LED degradation but in my experience 
high current is even worse.  We used to test LED's with excessively high 
currents (like 10 times max ratings) in a cold chamber with the chip on 
a heat sink ... the LED never got very hot but the high current would 
degrade the LED anyway.  The current puts a LOT of stress on the lattice.

By the way, the degradation mechanism is called dark line defects. If 
you run really high current through an LED with lattice defects, and do 
so to an unpackaged chip under a microscope, you can literally watch the 
dark line defects grow.

Assuming that the output phototransistor has three leads available 
(base, emitter, collector), you can get a good idea of which LEDs are 
brighter (and therefore give you more margin for degradation) by reverse 
biasing the collector-base junction and using it like a photodiode while 
driving current through the LED.  The collection efficiency of 
collector-base junction will be primarily determine by the device 
geometry and is therefore pretty consistent from device to device.  The 
currents will be small (microamps) but are measurable.  Plus the 
brighter LEDs often mean they have fewer lattice defects in the first place.

Dave   AB7E

On 6/8/2021 6:24 PM, Kevan Nason wrote:
> Dave, AB7E, wrote:
> "It doesn't make sense to me to worry only about the
> two higher speed positions, since if the LEDS are degrading the slower
> positions are going to see the same problem soon after the higher speed
> positions.  The only difference might be if the LEDS in the higher speed
> positions are being driven significantly harder."
> You know far more than me, Dave, but I thought the same thing and had
> to ask about that too. Answer was the other five are all low speed
> operation and that somehow made them not susceptible to failure like
> the other two. From that I thought lower speed likely means lower heat
> generation and therefore less problems. I bought extra optocouplers
> just in case they go out too.
> Kevan N4XL
> _______________________________________________
> CQ-Contest mailing list
> CQ-Contest at contesting.com
> http://lists.contesting.com/mailman/listinfo/cq-contest

More information about the CQ-Contest mailing list