This previous post is the closest thing to an answer I could find, but I don't quite understand why the load will still see the full voltage of the source and not the zener voltage. The contributor who answered stated that since the combination of zener and series resistor is in parallel with the load, the load will still see the full voltage of the source. What I'm having a hard time understanding is how the resistor placement affects the voltage seen by the load. Thank you in advance
EDIT 2: Okay, I'm slowly realizing my faults in asking a question without providing as much specific detail as possible. Here goes:
What I'm trying to do: I have a bicycle hub dynamo that produces single phase AC voltage that can reach up to 60V peak (120V pk-pk) going about 55mph.
I'm trying to rectify and regulate the voltage down to 5V so I can charge a cellphone. For the most part I have the 5V regulation down (I'm using a DC-DC buck converter (TI's LM2596).
The issue I'm trying to resolve is during the rectification stage. I'm using a bridge rectifier and smoothing capacitor to rectify and smooth the voltage coming out of the dynamo. However, the smoothing capacitor I have is only rated at 35V so at those higher outputs of the dynamo (ie. above 35V peak), I'm assuming I would blow the smoothing capacitor up without a zener voltage regulator.
Here is a more accurate picture of my setup (I simulated the dynamo using a transformer at the input):
So in the picture, I have placed the series resistor correctly. My original question is: why can't I put the series resistor after the zener diode?