Flyback diode

Flyback diode

A flyback diode (sometimes called a snubber diode, freewheeling diode, suppressor diode, or catch diode [] ) is a diode used to eliminate flyback, the sudden voltage spike seen across an inductive load when its supply voltage is suddenly reduced or removed.

Induction at the Opening of a Contact

According to Lenz's law, if the current through an inductance changes, this inductance induces a voltage so the current will go on flowing as long there is energy in the magnetic field. If the current can only flow through the air, the voltage is therefore so high that the air conducts. That is why in mechanically-switched circuits, the near-instantaneous dissipation which occurs without a flyback diode is often observed as an arc across the opening mechanical contacts. Energy is dissipated in this arc primarily as intense heat which causes undesireable premature erosion of the contacts. Some energy is also lost from the system as a whole and from the arc as a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, in the form of radiowaves and light. These radiowaves can cause undesirable clicks and pops on nearby radio receivers.

Working Principle

The latter diagram shows just what was described before; when the switch is turned off at 1ms, the same current that flowed through the R1 before now has to flow through R2 in the first moment, too; but due to the values of these resistors, the voltage at R2 has to be 1000 times as high. You may notice that the voltage spike appears negative where the diode would be placed. Thus, placing a diode reversely to the voltmeter would cause a current through the diode. The current would flow in the loop of L1, R1 and the diode.

That way, a flyback diode provides a discharge current path for the energy stored in the load, which allows that energy to dissipate slowly (see the diagram), rather than appearing as a voltage spike as it dissipates instantaneously. Due to the characteristic of the diode that its forward voltage is never greater than roughly 0.7V, the voltage at the switch is also limited.


The voltage at an inductor is, by the law of electromagnetic induction and the definition of inductance::V_L = - {dPhi_B over dt} = - L {dI over dt}

If there is no flyback diode but only something with a great resistance (such as the air between two metal contacts), say, R2, we will approximate it as::V_{R_2} = R_2 cdot IIf we open the switch and ignore V_{CC} and R_1, we get::V_L = V_{R_2}or:- L {dI over dt} = R_2 cdot Iwhich is a differential equation with the solution::I(t) = I_0 cdot e^{- {R_2 over L} t}

We observe that the current will decrease faster if the resistance is high, as that of air is.

Now if we open the switch with the diode in place, we only need to consider L1, R1 and D1.For I > 0, we can assume::V_D = constso::V_L = V_{R_1} + V_Dwhich is::- L {dI over dt} = R_1 cdot I + V_Dwhose solution is::I(t) = I_0 cdot e^{- {R_1 over L} t} - {1 over R_1} V_DWe can calculate the time it needs to switch off by determining for which t it is I(t) = 0.


Flyback diodes are used whenever inductive loads are switched off by silicon components: in relay drivers, H-bridge motor drivers, and so on. A switched-mode power supply also exploits this effect, but the energy is not dissipated to heat but used for pumping additional charge through the load.


Schottky diodes are preferred in flyback diode applications, because they have the lowest forward drop (0.2V rather than 0.7V for low currents) and the fastest (but still "soft") reverse voltage recovery.In applications which require higher "reverse blocking voltage" than Schottky diodes offer, the "gold doped diode" is preferred as the next most efficient diode choice [,%20Schottky%20and%20GaAS%20Diodes/IXAN0044.pdf] .

Low-cost applications unconcerned with efficiency often use 1N4004 or 1N4005 or 1N4007 power diodes as flyback diodes.

External links

* [ : "diode for relay coil spikes and motor shutoff spikes?"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Flyback — The term flyback may refer to:*Flyback chronograph, a single push button clock for stopping, resetting and restarting time measurement *Flyback converter, a type of DC to DC converter *Flyback diode, also known as a “freewheel diode”,a used to… …   Wikipedia

  • Diode — Figure 1: Closeup of a diode, showing the square shaped semiconductor crystal (black object on left) …   Wikipedia

  • Flyback transformer — A flyback or line output transformer (FBT or LOPT) is a type of transformer used in the power supply of a cathode ray tube that generates the high voltage needed to drive a CRT type monitor, and can also be used to power a plasma globe. It… …   Wikipedia

  • Flyback converter — The Flyback converter is a DC to DC converter with a galvanic isolation between the input and the output(s). More precisely, the flyback converter is a buck boost converter with the inductor split to form a transformer, so that the voltage ratios …   Wikipedia

  • Flyback Converter — Der Sperrwandler (engl. Flyback Converter), eine häufig anzutreffende Bauform von Gleichspannungswandlern, dient zur Übertragung elektrischer Energie zwischen zwei Gleichspannungskreisen, die verschiedene Spannungen aufweisen und voneinander… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Convertisseur Flyback — Fig. 1 : schéma de base d un convertisseur Flyback. Exempl …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Schutzdiode — Schutzdioden sind Halbleiterdioden, die zum Schutz vor Überspannungen und unerlaubten Spannungen eingesetzt werden. Es wird zwischen verschiedenen Schutzdioden unterschieden. antiparallele Schaltung einer Freilaufdiode über eine induktive Last… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Electromagnet — An electromagnet is a type of magnet in which the magnetic field is produced by the flow of electric current. The magnetic field disappears when the current is turned off. Electromagnets are widely used as components of other electrical devices,… …   Wikipedia

  • Boost converter — A boost converter (step up converter) is a power converter with an output DC voltage greater than its input DC voltage. It is a class of switching mode power supply (SMPS) containing at least two semiconductor switches (a diode and a transistor)… …   Wikipedia

  • Bootstrapping (electronics) — The term bootstrap has a number of meanings in electronics. Origin of Terminology Bootstrapping comes from the stories about Baron von Münchausen who got stuck in quicksand and lifted himself by grabbing his bootstraps; that the output transistor …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”