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Any better alternative to a zener?

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Member level 3
Sep 27, 2005
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I have a varying 0 - 24v input signal but I can only use 0 - 10v. I need to hold at 10v, anything higher than 10v, but I still need to allow everything from 0 to 10v to reach the rest of the circuit.
A simple zener and 2.6K resistor will do the job but is it stable? Anything a bit more robust or accurate that can do this? Current requirement is a couple of mA.

What about making a current source and a simple resistor or pot?
That way you'll keep the voltage over the pot steady.

A zener has the virtue of simplicity. It is the basic shunt
regulator. You can get IC shunt regulators which are better
for line/load regulation but act the same. You could
boost the zener with a NPN (and base shunt resistor)
and get nearer to flat tempco.

Series regulators are likely to be better at higher current
but tend to have a destructive voltage limit, while a shunt
style could work with 1kV at the head end, provided you
used a series resistor sized to limit current to a safe value
for all parties concerned.

Some of National's 3-terminal adjustable regulators have
higher than 40V ratings, and I've seen app notes about
using them as shunt regulators as well.

Precision is not really important on this design. The zener will work fine, I was just wondering what others would do.
Thanks for the responses!

I would recommend this. Slightly more elegant than a zener and resistor. Zener wants to be around 9.3 volts. NPN power transistor, heat sink it if you are taking out significant current. If you need low output noise, put a .1 uF in parallel with the zener.

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