Triac zero-point switch

Posted on Jan 23, 2013

On the initial part of the positive half cycle, the voltage is changing rapidly from zero causing a large current to flow into capacitor C2. The current through C2 flows through R4, D3, and D4 into the gate of the TRIAC Q2 causing it to turn on very close to zero voltage. Once Q2 turns on, capacitor C3 charges to the peak of the line voltage through D5. When the line voltage passes through the peak, D5 becomes reverse-biased and C3 begins to discharge through D4 and the gate of Q2. At this time the voltage on C3 lags the line voltage. When the line voltage goes through zero there is still some charge on C3 so that when the line voltage starts negative C3 is still discharging into the gate of Q2.

Triac zero-point switch
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Thus Q2 is also turned on near zero on the negative half cycle. This operation continues for each cycle until switch SI is closed, at which time SCR Ql is turned on. Ql shunts the gate current away from Q2 during each positive half cycle keeping Q2 from turning on. Q2 cannot turn on during the negative cycle because C3 cannot charge unless Q2 is on during the positive half cycle.

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