This circuit shows that dimmers intended for use at mains voltage do not always have to contain a triac. Here, a MOSFET (BUZ41A, 500 V/4.5A) in a diode bridge is used to control the voltage across an incandescent bulb with pulse-width modulation (PWM). A useful PWM controller can be found elsewhere in this issue. The power supply voltage for driving the gate is supplied by the voltage across the MOSFET. D6, R5 and C2 form a rectifier. R5 limits the current pulses through D6 to about 1.5 A (as a consequence it is no longer a pure peak rectifier). The voltage across C2 is regulated to a maximum value of 10 V by R3, R4, C1 and D1. An optocoupler and resistor (R2) are used for driving the gate.
R1 is intended as protection for the LED in the optocoupler. R1 also functions as a normal current limiting device so that a 18hard 19 voltage can be applied safely. The optocoupler is anold acquaintance, the CNY65, which provides class-II isolation. This ensures the safety of the regulator. The transistor in the optocoupler is connected to the positive power supply so that T1 can be brought into conduction as quickly as possible. In order to reduce switching spikes as a consequence of parasitic inductance, the value of R2 has been selected to be not too low: 22 k!26 is a compromise between inductive voltages and switching loss when going into and out of conduction.