Diode Basics By [W2AEW]

We didn’t think we needed a basic guide to diodes until we saw it was from [W2AEW], and then we knew we’d pick up some new things. Entitled “Diodes from Ideal to Real” the 18-minute video doesn’t disappoint with a mix of notes and time with a curve tracer to learn all about these devices.

As is typical for a [W2AEW] video this doesn’t just cover the simple operation of diode. It includes topics such as dynamic resistance, junction capacitance, and talks about a wide variety of diode types.

In fact, one of the best things about the video is it serves as an index into the many other detailed videos he’s done on different types of diodes. Zener diodes are in video 289. Tunnel diodes appear in video 204. There are many others.

Diodes are very versatile. They can act as switches, rectifiers, detectors, and protectors. Special diode types each have their own niche, too. A specialty diode might emit light (or even absorb dark) or regulate a voltage. They are also building blocks you’ll often see in models of other more complex devices.  We’ve looked at diodes in detail before, if you want our take on the basics. If you want to build your own, find some copper and look no further than your kitchen.

8 thoughts on “Diode Basics By [W2AEW]

  1. “dark” is not a physical entity.
    Photons are the mediators (carriers) of electromagnetic radiation (including light). Precisely what ‘carries’ “dark?”

    There is nothing which can “absorb dark” (nor anything in which to store it, for that matter. Kinda like ‘The Universal Solvent’–nothing to store it in, y’know?).

      1. “Read the article. They make their case.”

        …as I, and every physicist (as well as anyone who knows anything about absolutely rudimentary physics–like, if you took ninth-grade General Science) stand by mine.

        …absorb dark…“, indeed.

        Credibility, like a mind, is a terrible thing to waste.

    1. Semiconductor operation is always described in terms electrons (n-type carriers) and holes (places where electrons aren’t, p-type carriers). Electrons and holes aren’t real physical things as we understand real physical things, they’re concepts that help us get a handle on how stuff works, just like voltage, current and resistance.

    2. This was hanging on (the joke section of) the wall in our phys chem department cafeteria some 20 years ago, google found it immediately:


      For years it has been believed that electric bulbs emitted light. However,
      recent information from Bell Labs has proven otherwise. Electric bulbs
      don’t emit light; they suck dark. Thus they now call these bulbs dark
      suckers. The dark sucker theory, according to a spokesman from the Labs,
      proves the existence of dark, that dark has mass heavier than that of
      light, and that dark is faster than light.

      The basis of the dark sucker theory is that electric bulbs suck dark. Take
      for example the dark suckers in the room where you are. There is less dark
      right next to them than there is elsewhere. The larger the dark sucker,
      the greater its capacity to suck dark. Dark suckers in a parking lot have
      a much greater capacity than the ones in this room.

      As with all things, dark suckers don’t last forever. Once they are full of
      dark, they can no longer suck. This is proven by the black spot on a full
      dark sucker. A new candle has a white wick. You will notice that after the
      first use, the wick turns black, representing all the dark which has been
      sucked into it. If you hold a pencil next to the wick of an operating
      candle, the tip will turn black because it got in the path of the dark
      flowing into the candle. Unfortunately, these primitive dark suckers have
      a very limited range.

      There are also portable dark suckers. The bulbs in these can’t handle all
      of the dark by themselves, and must be aided by a dark storage unit. When
      the dark storage unit is full, it must be either emptied or replaced
      before the portable dark sucker can operate again.

      Dark has mass. When dark goes into a dark sucker, friction from this mass
      generates heat. Thus it is not wise to touch an operating dark sucker.
      Candles present a special problem, as the dark must travel in the solid
      wick instead of through glass. This generates a great amount of heat. Thus
      it can be very dangerous to touch an operating candle.

      Dark is also heavier than light. If you swim deeper and deeper, you notice
      it gets darker and darker. When you reach a depth of approximately fifty
      feet, you are in total darkness. This is because the heavier dark sinks to
      the bottom of the lake and the ligher light floats to the top.

      The immense power of dark can be utilized to a man’s advantage. We can
      collect the dark that has settled to the bottom of lakes and push it
      through turbines, which generates electricity and helps push it to the
      ocean where it may be safely stored. Prior to turbines, it was much more
      difficult to get dark from rivers and lakes to the ocean. The Indians
      recognized this problem and tried to solve it. When on a river in a canoe
      traveling in the same direction as the flow of dark, they paddled slowly,
      so as not to stop the flow of dark, but when they traveled against the
      flow of dark, they paddled quickly so as to help push the dark along its

      Finally, we must prove that dark is faster than light. If you stand in an
      illuminated room in front of a closed, dark closet, then slowly open the
      door, you would see the light slowly enter the closet, but since the dark
      is so fast, you would not be able to see the dark leave the closet.

      In conclusion, Bell Labs stated that dark suckers make all our lives much
      easier. So the next time you look at an electric light bulb, remember that
      it is indeed a dark sucker.”
      source: http://web.mit.edu/kolya/misc/txt/dark_suckers

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