How to Measure a Zener Diode with a Multimeter

Zener diode is a type of diode which is specially designed to operate in Reverse Bias circuit. The Zener Diode will have the exact same characteristics and functions as the Normal Diode if a forward bias voltage is applied, but if the Zener Diode is given a voltage that exceeds the “Breakdown Voltage” or “Translucent Voltage of the Zener Diode”, the Zener Diode will flow electric current in the opposite direction.

Zener diodes, which have unique properties, are generally used in Voltage Regulator and Over Voltage Protection circuits. When these circuits experience interference, maybe we need to troubleshoot which electronic components are causing the disturbance and of course one of the components we need to check is this Zener Diode.

How to Measure a Zener Diode

In general, there are two simple ways to find out if the Zener Diode is still working properly or if it has been damaged. We will discuss both ways of measuring Zener Diodes in this article.

How to Measure a Zener Diode with an Ohmmeter on a Multimeter

One of the simplest ways is to use the Ohmmeter function on the Multimeter. Testing or measuring the Zener Diode with an Ohmmeter on this Multimeter can find out whether the Zener Diode in question is “Open” or “Short” or maybe it is still in good condition.

  1. Set the Switch Position to OHM Position (Ω)
  2. Connect the Black Probe to the Cathode Terminal (ring mark)
  3. Connect the Red Probe to the Anode Terminal.
  4. Read measurement results on Display Multimeter
  5. The display must show a certain value (eg 0.45Mohm or 450KOhm) which indicates the Zener Diode is still in Good Condition. However, if it does not show a certain value, it can be ascertained that the diode has been damaged.
  6. Turn Black Probe to Anode Terminal and Red Probe to Cathode (ring mark)
  7. Read measurement results on Display Multimeter
  8. The Infinity (infinite) or Open Circuit (OL) resistance value indicates the Zener Diode is in good condition. But if it shows a certain resistance value, then the diode is probably damaged.

How to Measure a Zener Diode with a Voltmeter on a Multimeter

The second way is to use the Voltmeter function on the Multimeter to check whether the Zener Diode is still in good condition or damaged. To do this test, we need to make a simple circuit by connecting a resistor in series with the Zener Diode and applying a reverse bias voltage to the Zener Diode which we will test or measure its value.

The voltage we provide must be higher than the specified Zener voltage (Breakdown Voltage). In the example circuit below we provide a voltage as high as 9 Volts from a 9V battery. Zener Voltage or Breakdown Voltage on the Zener Diode that we use is 5.1V. We also need a resistor as a limiter. The resistor we are using is 1KΩ.

  1. Assemble the Zener Diode as shown in the picture above.
  2. Set the Switch Position to the VOLT (V) Position
  3. Connect the Red Probe to the Cathode Terminal (ring mark)
  4. Connect the Black Probe to the Anode Terminal.
  5. Read the measurement results on the Multimeter Display, make sure the value displayed is a value that is close to the Zener Voltage (Breakdown Voltage). If the voltage value shown is close to the Zener Voltage, it can be ascertained that the Zener Diode is in good condition (In this example it is around 5.1V). However, if the voltage value is very high or much lower than the Zener Voltage value, it means that the Zener Diode has been damaged.

Source : https://teknikelektronika.com/

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