Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The SIDAC

The SIDAC, or SIlicon Diode for Alternating Current, is a semiconductor of the thyristor family. Also referred to as a SYDAC (Silicon thYristor for Alternating Current), bi-directional thyristor breakover diode, or more simply a bi-directional thyristor diode, it is technically specified as a bilateral voltage triggered switch. Its operation is identical to that of the DIAC; the distinction in naming between the two devices being subject to the particular manufacturer. In general, SIDACs have higher breakover voltages and current handling capacities than DIACs. The operation of the SIDAC is quite simple and is functionally identical to that of a spark gap or similar to two inverse parallel Zener diodes. The SIDAC remains nonconducting until the applied voltage meets or exceeds its rated breakover voltage. Once entering this conductive state, the SIDAC continues to conduct, regardless of voltage, until the applied current falls below its rated holding current. At this point, the SIDAC returns to its initial nonconductive state to begin the cycle once again. Somewhat uncommon in most electronics, the SIDAC is relegated to the status of a special purpose device. However, where part-counts are to be kept low, simple relaxation oscillators are needed, and the voltages are too low for practical operation of a spark gap, the SIDAC is an indispensable component.

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