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An effect in semiconductors, the name of a diode that uses that effect and more generally any diode that has similar characteristics to a zener diode. Zener diodes have the unique characteristic of a reliable reverse bias breakdown voltage. Often used as simple voltage regulators or level shifters. Zener breakdown is a distinct effect common usage is any diode that has a fixed reverse breakdown are called "zeners" even if the mechanism is different.

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switch my zener (2.4v@5mA) from the low side with a resistor in series with the anode such that it drops the remaining voltage from the desired rail voltage. The zener resistance is 100 ohm, +80(r1) = 180 … ohm. Rds is a few hundred milliohms, which I'm ignoring for now. Zener drop:3.3v - 2.4v = .9v Resistor drop: 5mA * 180 = .9v The circuit: 5v switch on the high side, and 3.3v diode regulator …
asked Oct 21 '16 by hefner