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A diode is a semiconductor that allows to get electricity in one direction depending on which connect you. Look at the schema (bottom) to understand how the diode works. There are several forces diode because it supports different tensions and currents.
The best known are type 1N diodes... For example: 1N4148, 1N4001, 1N4002, 1N4003, 1N4004, 46077, diode-1n4005(1n4007,1n4006), 1N4007
Here are the characteristics of these diodes:
1N4148 : 100V/300mA 1N4001 : 50V/1A 1N4002 : 100V/1A 1N4003 : 200V/1A 1N4004 : 400V/1A 1N4005 : 600V/1A 1N4006 : 800V/1A 1N4007 : 1000V/1A
One of the function the well-known for diodes, diode bridge. It is used to make an AC current DC. Found in all AC/DC transformers. You must use the diode suitable for the application that you want to make. For security measures, should be taken diodes capable of supporting twice the voltage and current input. For example, if you are connecting a diode on a 120V transformer bridge, should be diodes 1N4004 or higher. For more information on the conversion of AC to DC, see AC to DC.