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for Aircraft Engineeers

EASA Part-66 Cat. B1,B2


Shahzad Khalil

EASA part-66-B1, B2
Electronic Fundamentals Page level
B1 B2
4.1 Semiconductors 2 2
4.1.1 Diodes
(a) Diode symbols; Diode characteristics and properties;
Diodes in series and parallel; Main characteristics and
use of silicon controlled rectifiers (thyristors), light
emitting diode, photo conductive diode, varistor, rectifier
diodes; Functional testing of diodes.
(b) Materials, electron configuration, electrical properties; - 2
P and N type materials: effects of impurities on
conduction, majority and minority characters; PN junction
in a semiconductor, development of a potential
across a PN junction in unbiased, forward biased and
reverse biased conditions;
Diode parameters: peak inverse voltage, maximum
forward current, temperature, frequency, leakage current,
power dissipation; Operation and function of diodes in the
following circuits: clippers, clampers, full and half wave
rectifiers, bridge
rectifiers, voltage doublers and triplers;
Detailed operation and characteristics of the following
devices: silicon controlled rectifier (thyristor), light
emitting diode, Schottky diode, photo conductive diode,
varactor diode, varistor, rectifier diodes, Zener diode.
4.1.2 Transistors 1 2
(a) Transistor symbols; Component description and
Transistor characteristics and properties.
(b) Construction and operation of PNP and NPN - 2
transistors; Base, collector and emitter configurations;
Testing of transistors. Basic appreciation of other
transistor types and their uses. Application of transistors:
classes of amplifier (A, B, C); Simple circuits including:
bias, decoupling, feedback and stabilisation; Multistage
circuit principles: cascades, push-pull, oscillators,
multivibrators, flip-flop circuits.
Electronic Fundamentals Page Level
B1 B2
4.1.3 Integrated Circuits - 1
(a) Description and operation of logic circuits and linear
circuits/operational amplifiers.
(b) Description and operation of logic circuits and linear - 2
circuits; Introduction to operation and function of an
operational amplifier used as: integrator, differentiator,
voltage follower, comparator; Operation and amplifier
stages connecting methods: resistive capacitive,
inductive (transformer), inductive resistive (IR), direct;
Advantages and disadvantages of positive and negative
4.2 Printed Circuit Boards 1 2
Description and use of printed circuit boards.
4.3 Servomechanisms - 1
(a) Understanding of the following terms: Open and
closed loop systems, feedback, follow up, analogue
transducers; Principles of operation and use of the
following synchro system components/features:
resolvers, differential, control and torque, transformers,
inductance and capacitance transmitters.
(b) Understanding of the following terms: Open and - 2
closed loop, follow up, servomechanism, analogue,
transducer, null, damping, feedback, deadband;
Construction operation and use of the following synchro
system components: resolvers, differential, control and
torque, E and I transformers, inductance transmitters,
capacitance transmitters, synchronous transmitters;
Servomechanism defects, reversal of synchro leads,
Semiconductor Materials:

Semiconductor materials are insulators at absolute zero temperature that conduct electricity in a
limited way at room temperature. They have negative temperature coefficient. There resistivity lies in
between conductors and insulators. The defining property of a semiconductor material is that there
electronic properties (conductivity) can be controlled either by increasing temperature or by throwing
light or by doping or by increasing electrical potential across them.

Selected groups of Periodic Table of Elements (Semiconductors)

ii(+2) iii(+3) iv(+- 4) v (-3) vi (-2)

Boron Carbon Nitrogen oxygen
Al Si P S
Aluminum Silicon Phosphorus Sulphur
Zn Ga Ge As Se
Zinc Gallium Germanium Arsenic Selenium
Cd In Sn Sb Te
Cadmium indium Tin Antimony Tellurium

Note: fig. within the bracket shows the valency.

Elemental semiconductors include Silicon and germanium; atoms of these materials are given below.


From figure it is clear that each atom has four electrons in its outer most shell; these electrons are
known as valence electrons. Valence electrons are at a greater distance from the nucleus therefore
these are less tightly bound and have an active role in electrical conduction.

There exists also Compound Semiconductors; composed of elements from two or more different
groups of the periodic table. For e.g. group-III (B, Al, Ga, In) and group-V (N, P, As, Sb, Bi) combine
to form binary (two elements, e.g. GaAs), ternary (three elements, e.g. InGaAs) and quaternary (four
elements, e.g. AlInGaP). Same is the case for group-ii and vi elements.

The essential characteristic of Silicon crystal structure is that each atom has four electrons to share
with adjacent atoms in forming bonds. The nature of a bond between two silicon atoms is such that
each atom provides one electron to share with the other. The two electrons thus shared are in fact
shared equally between the two atoms. This type of sharing is known as a covalent bond. Such a
bond is very stable, and holds the two atoms together very tightly, so that it requires a lot of energy
to break this bond. This is the reason that pure Si behaves as an insulator.
At room temperature the atoms are vibrating sufficiently in the lattice for a few bonds to break, setting
free some valence electrons, leaving a hole where an electron was. Free electrons are attracted
towards the hole as the atom considered is now positively charged.

Covalent bonds break when temperature increases

If an electric potential is applied across pure semiconductor material, electrons are attracted towards
positive terminal and holes towards negative terminal of the battery. This current flow is very small
and is called as ‘intrinsic conduction’ and the pure semiconductor material itself is known as ‘intrinsic

The concept of hole is understood by considering it as a vacancy or deficiency of electron. As the

electron moves in one direction, this vacancy moves in opposite direction.

If the temperature is increased, electron pairs break and more electron-holes are generated which
increases conductivity and hence decreasing resistance. More heat is generated and increasing more
conduction and leads to thermal runaway. This eventually destroys crystal structure.

The conductivity of semiconductors is altered by adding some impurities in a small quantity typically
1 in billionth. The material is then called as extrinsic semiconductor.

An N-type semiconductor (N for Negative) is obtained by adding an impurity of valence-five

elements to a valence-four semiconductor in order to increase the number of free charge carriers.

When the doping material is added, it gives away (donates) weakly-bound outer electrons to the
semiconductor atoms. This type of doping agent is also known as donor material since it gives away
some of its electrons.

The purpose of N-type doping is to produce an abundance of mobile or "carrier" electrons in the
material. To help understand how n-type doping is accomplished, consider the case of silicon (Si). Si
atoms have four valence electrons, each of which is covalently bonded with each of the four adjacent
Si atoms. If an atom with five valence electrons, such as those from group V(e.g. phosphorus (P),
arsenic (As), or antimony (Sb)), is incorporated into the crystal lattice in place of a Si atom, then that
atom will have four covalent bonds and one un-bonded electron.

This extra electron is only weakly bound to the atom and can easily be excited into the conduction
band. At normal temperatures, virtually all such electrons are excited into the conduction band. Since
excitation of these electrons does not result in the formation of a hole, the number of electrons in such
a material far exceeds the number of holes. In this case the electrons are the majority carriers and the
holes are the minority carriers. Because the five-electron atoms have an extra electron to "donate",
they are called donor atoms. Note that each movable electron within the semiconductor is never far
from an immobile positive dopant ion, and the N-doped material normally has a net electric charge of

Free electrons can migrate through the inter-atomic space and can therefore act as current carriers
when a very low voltage is applied.
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A p-n junction is a junction formed by combining P-type and N-type semiconductors together in
very close contact. Both pieces are neutral up to the instant of contact.

The term junction refers to the region where the two regions of the semiconductor meet. It can be
thought of as the border region between the p-type and n-type blocks as shown in the following

+  + +   +  +   ‐  ‐    ‐   ‐  ‐    
+  + +  + +  ‐    ‐  ‐   ‐  ‐  
+  +  + + +    ‐  ‐  ‐    ‐  ‐  ‐ 
P  ‐              N 

‘+’ represents a hole and ‘–‘ an electron

As the holes are the vacancies for the electrons so as the two regions contact each other, electrons
migrate towards the junction to fill in the holes.

As electron leaves the N type material it becomes positively charged and the P-type material which
acquires an electron becomes negatively charged.

In an equilibrium PN junction, electrons near the PN interface tend to diffuse into the p region. As
electrons diffuse, they leave positively charged ions (donors) on the n region. Similarly holes near
the PN interface begin to diffuse in the n-type region leaving fixed ions (acceptors) with negative
charge. The regions nearby the PN interfaces lose their neutrality and become charged, forming the
space charge region or depletion layer.

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Forward Bias

Forward-bias occurs when the P-type semiconductor material is connected to the positive terminal of
a battery and the N-type semiconductor material is connected to the negative terminal, as shown

With a battery connected this way, the holes in the P-type region and the electrons in the N-type
region are pushed towards the junction. This reduces the width of the depletion zone. The positive
charge applied to the P-type material repels the holes, while the negative charge applied to the N-
type material repels the electrons. As electrons and holes are pushed towards the junction, the
distance between them decreases. This lowers the barrier in potential.

With increasing forward-bias voltage, the depletion zone eventually becomes thin enough that the
zone's electric field can't counteract charge carrier motion across the p-n junction, consequently
reducing electrical resistance. The electrons which cross the p-n junction into the P-type material (or
holes which cross into the N-type material) will diffuse in the near-neutral region. Therefore, the
amount of minority diffusion in the near-neutral zones determines the amount of current that may
flow through the diode.

To maintain the flow of current through the PN junction requires a voltage greater than barrier
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Semicond ductor Diodee: Most modeern diodes are based on sem miconductor p-np junctions.. In a p-n
w from the p-ttype side (thee anode) to the n-type side (the
diode, connventional cuurrent can flow
cathode), but cannot floow in the oppposite directioon.

Diode Sym

Diode Ch haracteristicss: A semicondductor diode'ss current–volttage characterristic, or I–V curve, is

related to the transport of carriers thhrough the so--called deplettion layer or ddepletion regiion that
he p-n junctioon between diiffering semicconductors.
exists at th

If an exterrnal voltage is placed across the diode w with the samee polarity as thhe built-in pootential, the
depletion zone continu ues to act as ann insulator, prreventing anyy significant eelectric currennt flow. This
is the reveerse bias phennomenon. Hoowever, if the polarity of thhe external vooltage opposees the built-in
potential, recombinatioon can once again proceed,, resulting in substantial ellectric currentt through the
p-n junction. For silicoon diodes, the built-in potenntial is approximately 0.6 V. Thus, if an n external
current is passed through the diode, about 0.6 V will w be develooped across thhe diode suchh that the P-
doped reggion is positiv
ve with respecct to the N-dooped region an nd the diode isi said to be "turned on"
as it has a forward biass.

At very laarge reverse bias,

b beyond the peak inverrse voltage orr PIV, a proceess called reveerse
breakdow wn occurs which causes a laarge increase in current thaat usually dam mages the dev vice
permanenntly. The avalaanche diode is i deliberatelyy designed forr use in the avvalanche region. In the
Zener diode, the conceept of PIV is notn applicablee. A Zener dioode contains a heavily dopped p-n
junction allowing
a electtrons to tunneel from the vaalence band off the p-type material
m to thee conduction
band of thhe n-type material, such thaat the reversee voltage is "cclamped" to a known valuee (called the
Zener volttage), and avaalanche does not occur. Booth devices, however,
h do hhave a limit too the
maximum m current and power in the clamped reveerse voltage region. Also, ffollowing thee end of
forward conduction in any diode, th here is reversee current for a short time. TThe device do oes not attain
its full blo
ocking capabiility until the reverse curreent ceases.
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Diode parameters:

Peak Inverse voltage: PIV is the maximum voltage that a diode can withstand in the reverse
direction without breaking down or avalanching. If this voltage is exceeded the diode may be
destroyed. Diodes must have a peak inverse voltage rating that is higher than the maximum voltage
that will be applied to them in a given application.

Maximum Forward Voltage (VF): usually specified at the diode's rated forward current. Ideally, this
figure would be zero: the diode providing no opposition whatsoever to forward current. In reality, the
forward voltage is described by the “diode equation.”

Maximum (average) forward current (IF(AV)): the maximum average amount of current the diode is
able to conduct in forward bias mode. This is fundamentally a thermal limitation: how much heat can
the PN junction handle, given that dissipation power is equal to current (I) multiplied by voltage (V or
E) and forward voltage is dependent upon both current and junction temperature. Ideally, this figure
would be infinite.

Maximum (peak or surge) forward current (IFSM or if(surge)): The maximum peak amount of current
the diode is able to conduct in forward bias mode. Again, this rating is limited by the diode junction's
thermal capacity, and is usually much higher than the average current rating due to thermal inertia (the
fact that it takes a finite amount of time for the diode to reach maximum temperature for a given
current). Ideally, this figure would be infinite.

Maximum total dissipation (PD): The amount of power (in watts) allowable for the diode to
dissipate, given the dissipation (P=IE) of diode current multiplied by diode voltage drop, and also the
dissipation (P=I2R) of diode current squared multiplied by bulk resistance. Fundamentally limited by
the diode's thermal capacity (ability to tolerate high temperatures).

Maximum DC reverse voltage (VR or VDC): The maximum amount of voltage the diode can
withstand in reverse-bias mode on a continual basis. Ideally, this figure would be infinite.

Operating junction temperature (TJ ): The maximum allowable temperature for the diode's PN
junction, usually given in degrees Celsius (oC).

Maximum reverse current (IR): The amount of current through the diode in reverse-bias operation,
with the maximum rated inverse voltage applied (VDC). Sometimes referred to as leakage current.
Ideally, this figure would be zero, as a perfect diode would block all current when reverse-biased. In
reality, it is very small compared to the maximum forward current.

Typical junction capacitance (CJ): The typical amount of capacitance intrinsic to the junction, due
to the depletion region acting as a dielectric separating the anode and cathode connections. This is
usually a very small figure, measured in the range of picofarads (pF).

Reverse recovery time (trr): The amount of time it takes for a diode to “turn off” when the voltage
across it alternates from forward-bias to reverse-bias polarity. Ideally, this figure would be zero: the
diode halting conduction immediately upon polarity reversal. For a typical rectifier diode, reverse
recovery time is in the range of tens of µ-Sec.; for a “fast switching” diode, it may be a nanoseconds.

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Half Wave rectifier

A rectifier is an electrical device that converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC), a
process known as rectification.

In half wave rectification, either the positive or negative half of the AC wave is passed, while the
other half is blocked. Because only one half of the input waveform reaches the output, it is very
inefficient if used for power transfer. Half-wave rectification can be achieved with a single diode in a
one phase supply, or with three diodes in a three-phase supply.

When anode is positive with respect to cathode the diode conducts, this causes a current to flow
across the circuit and a voltage will be developed across R. When the input polarity reverses the
diode becomes reverse biased and will switch off.

The voltage developed across R is therefore half sine wave and is known as half wave Rectifier. The
output is DC but its magnitude varies. The average value is half of that of supply i.e. 0.318 of peak
voltage. The output ripple frequency is equal to supply frequency.

Half wave Rectifier 1st Approx. 2nd Approx.

Peak input voltage Vp Vp
Peak output voltage Vp Vp-0.7
DC Output Vp (Output)/π Vp (Output)/π
Output Frequency fout=fin fout=fin
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Bridgge Rectifier

A bridge rectifier maakes use of four

fo diodes inn a bridge arrrangement tto achieve fuull-wave

In each caase, the upperr right output remains posittive and loweer right outputt negative. Since this is
true whethher the input is AC or DC,, this circuit nnot only produuces a DC outtput from an AC A input, it
can also provide
p what is
i sometimes called "reverrse polarity prrotection". Thhat is, it perm
mits normal
functioninng of DC-pow wered equipm ment when battteries have beeen installed backwards,
b or when the
leads (wirres) from a DC C power sourrce have beenn reversed, and protects thee equipment fromf
potential damage
d causeed by reverse polarity.

Fulll wave Bridg ge Rectifier 1st Approx.

Peak input voltage
v Vp
Peak output voltage Vp
DC Output Vp /π (=0.637 Vp)
Output Frequ uency fout=2fin

The peak inverse voltaage across eacch diode shouuld be equal too the supply peak
p voltage.
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Voltage Multipliers

Voltage multipliers
m aree used primariily to developp high voltagees where low current is reqquired. The
most commmon applicattion of the higgh voltage outtputs of voltaage multipliers is the anodee of cathode-
ray tubes (CRT), whichh are used forr radar scope presentationss, oscilloscopee presentationns, or TV
picture tub
bes and the High
H Energy Ignition
I Unit of T dc output of the voltage multiplier
o Engines. The
ranges fro
om 1000 voltss to 30,000 voolts. The actual voltage deppends upon itts equipment application.

Just like trransformers, when voltagee is stepped upp, the output current decreeases. This is also true of
voltage multipliers.
m Altthough the measured
m outpuut voltage of a voltage multiplier may be b several
times greaater than the input
i voltage,, once a load is connected the value of the
t output volltage
decreases. Also any sm mall fluctuatio on of load imppedance causees a large flucctuation in thee output
voltage off the multiplieer. For this reeason, voltagee multipliers are
a used only in special appplications
where thee load is consttant and has high
h impedancce or where innput voltage sstability is noot critical.

Voltage multipliers
m maay be classifieed as voltage doublers, tripplers, or quadrruplers. The classification
depends ono the ratio off the output vo oltage to the iinput voltage. Voltage multipliers increease voltages
through thhe use of seriees-aiding volttage sources. This can be compared
c to the
t connectionn of cells
(batteries)) in series.

During onne half cycle of

o the supply,, upper
u to V volts, on the
capacitor will charge up
other halff cycle lower capacitor
c willl charge.
As the two capacitors are
a in series; then
t the
output is approximately
a y 2V volts.

Here is annother type off half wave vooltage doubleer circuit.

By conneecting the ouutput of one multiplying circuit onto the input off the next (caascading)
the dc vooltage outputt can be fourr times the acc input.
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Parallel Diode Clipping Circuit

In this type of clippers, the diode is connected between output terminals. The on/off state of diode
directly affects the output voltage. Following figures illustrate the clipping process.
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Zeneer diode

A Zener diode
d is a typpe of diode thhat permits currrent in the fo
orward directiion like a norrmal diode,
but also inn the reverse direction if thhe voltage is llarger than thee breakdown voltage know wn as "Zener
knee voltaage" or "Zeneer voltage".

A convenntional solid-state diode will not allow siignificant currrent if it is reeverse-biased below its
reverse brreakdown volltage. When th he reverse biaas breakdownn voltage is exxceeded, a conventional
diode is suubject to highh current due to avalanche breakdown. Unless
U this cuurrent is limitted by
external circuitry,
c the diode
d will be permanently damaged. In case of large forward bias (current in
the directiion of the arroow), the diode exhibits a vvoltage drop due
d to its juncction built-in voltage
v and
internal reesistance. Thee amount of thhe voltage droop depends on the semiconnductor materrial and the
doping cooncentrations.

A Zener diode
d exhibitts almost the same
s propertiies, except thee device is sppecially designned so as to
have a greeatly reduced breakdown voltage,
v the soo-called Zeneer voltage. A Zener diode contains a
heavily dooped p-n juncction allowing g electrons to tunnel from the t valence band of the p-ttype material
to the connduction bandd of the n-typee material. In the atomic sccale, this tunnneling correspponds to the
transport of
o valence baand electrons into the emptty conductionn band states; as a result off the reduced
barrier between these bands
b and higgh electric fiellds that are innduced due to the relativelyy high levels
of dopings on both sidees. A reverse--biased Zenerr diode will exxhibit a contrrolled breakdoown and
allow the current to keeep the voltagee across the ZZener diode att the Zener vooltage. For exxample, a
diode withh a Zener breakdown voltaage of 3.2 V will w exhibit a voltage drop of 3.2 V if reeverse bias
voltage appplied across it is more thaan its Zener vooltage. Howeever, the curreent is not unliimited, so the
Zener diode is typicallyy used to gennerate a refereence voltage for f an amplifier stage, or ass a voltage
stabilizer for low-curreent applicationns.

Another mechanism
m th
hat produces a similar effecct is the avalaanche effect ass in the avalanche diode.
The two tyypes of diodee are in fact coonstructed thee same way anda both effeccts are presentt in diodes off
this type. In silicon dioodes up to aboout 5.6 volts, the Zener efffect is the preddominant effeect and
shows a marked
m negatiive temperatu ure coefficientt. Above 5.6 volts,
v the avalanche effect becomes
predominant and exhib bits a positive temperature coefficient.

In a 5.6 V diode, the tw

wo effects occcur together aand their tempperature coeffficients neatlyy cancel each
other out, thus the 5.6 V diode is thee component of choice in temperature-c
t critical applications.
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Light Emitting Diode-LED

A light-emitting-diode (LED) is a semiconductor diode that emits light when an electric current is
applied in the forward direction of the device. The effect is a form of electroluminescence where
incoherent and narrow-spectrum light is emitted from the p-n junction in a solid state material.

LEDs are widely used as indicator lights on electronic devices and increasingly in higher power
applications such as flashlights and area lighting. An LED is usually a small area (less than 1 mm2)
light source, often with optics added directly on top of the chip to shape its radiation pattern and
assist in reflection. The color of the emitted light depends on the composition and condition of the
semiconducting material used, and can be infrared, visible, or ultraviolet. Besides lighting,
interesting applications include using UV-LEDs for sterilization of water and disinfection of
devices, and as a grow light to enhance photosynthesis in plants.

The LED consists of a chip of semiconducting material doped, with impurities to create a p-n
junction. As in other diodes, current flows easily from the p-side to n-side, but not in the reverse
direction. Charge-carriers—electrons and holes—flow into the junction from electrodes with
different voltages. When an electron meets a hole, it falls into a lower energy level, and releases
energy in the form of a photon.

The wavelength of the light emitted, and therefore its color, depends on the band gap energy of the
materials forming the p-n junction. LED development began with infrared and red devices made
with gallium arsenide. Advances in materials science have made possible the production of devices
with ever-shorter wavelengths, producing light in a variety of colors.
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It is often said that the Schottky diode is a "majority carrier" semiconductor device. This means that
if the semiconductor body is doped n-type, only the n-type carriers (mobile electrons) play a
significant role in normal operation of the device. The majority carriers are quickly injected into the
conduction band of the metal contact on the other side of the diode to become free moving electrons
(keep in mind the mobility of electron is greater than holes). Therefore no slow, random
recombination of n- and p- type carriers is involved, so that this diode can cease conduction faster
than an ordinary p-n rectifier diode. This property in turn allows a smaller device area, which also
makes for a faster transition. This is another reason why Schottky diodes are useful in switch-mode
power converters; the high speed of the diode means that the circuit can operate at frequencies in the
range 200 kHz to 2 MHz, allowing the use of small inductors and capacitors with greater efficiency
than would be possible with other diode types. Small-area Schottky diodes are the heart of RF
detectors and mixers, which often operate up to 5 GHz.

The Schottky diode is used in logic gates. Schottky metal-semiconductor junctions are featured
in the successors to the 7400 TTL family of logic devices, the 74S, 74LS and 74ALS series.
kley diode

A Shockleey diode is, inn effect, one of

o the first inttegrated circu
uits. It is just a four layer diode, a pnpn

device, ass shown in Fig


Consider an alternativee rendering off the

device's construction:

Shown likke this, it appeears to be a seet of interconnnected bipolaar transistors, one PNP and
d the other
NPN. Draawn using stan ndard schemaatic symbols, and respectin ng the layer ddoping concen
ntrations not
shown in the last imagee, the Shockleey diode lookks like this:

Let's conn
nect one of thhese devices to
o a source of variable voltaage and see w
what happens::
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Shockley diodes are un nidirectional devices;

d that iis, they only conduct
c curreent in one direection. If
bidirectionnal (AC) operation is desirred, two Shocckley diodes maym be joinedd in parallel facing
different directions
d to form
f a new kiind of thyristoor, the DIAC::

The termss anode and cathode

c no lon
nger apply, soo the connectiions are simpply named term
minal 1
(T1) and terminal
t 2 (T22). Each term node or cathodde, according to the
minal can serve as either an
polarity of the applied voltage.

A DIAC operated
o with
h a DC voltage across it behhaves exactly y the same as a Shockley diode.
d With
AC, howeever, the behaavior is differeent from whaat one might expect.
e Becauuse alternatingg current
repeatedlyy reverses dirrection, DIAC Cs will not staay latched lonnger than one--half cycle. Iff a DIAC
becomes latched,
l it willl continue to conduct currrent only as loong as there iss voltage avaiilable to pushh
enough cuurrent in that direction. Whhen the AC poolarity reverses, as it must twice per cyccle, the DIAC C
will drop out due to inssufficient currrent, necessitating anotherr breakover beefore it condu ucts again. Thhe
result is a current waveeform that loooks like this:

DIACs arre almost neveer used alone,, but in conjuunction with other
o thyristorr devices.
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Typical SCR’s

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A photodiode is a diode optimized to produce an electron current flow in response to irradiation by

ultraviolet, visible, or infrared light. Silicon is the most often used to fabricate photodiodes; though,
germanium and gallium arsenide can be used. The junction through which light enters the
semiconductor must be thin enough to pass most of the light on to the active region. As it operates in
reverse bias mode there will be leakage current (minority carriers) which increase in proportion to the
amount of light falling on the junction. The light energy breaks the bond in the crystal lattice of the
semiconductor and produces electrons and holes to increase the leakage current.
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4. Capacitance
Compared to zener diodes, varistors have a higher capacitance. Depending on the application,
transient suppressor capacitance can be a desirable or undesirable feature. In DC circuits, the
capacitance of varistors provides both decoupling and transient voltage clamping functions.
5. Less Expensive
Varistors are both cost and size effective compared with diode.

Lifetime - number Response Shunt Leakage current
Type capability
of surges time capacitance (approximate)

@ 100 Amps, 8x20

Metal-oxide Up to 70,000 ~1 Typically 100 -
µs pulse shape: 1000 10 microamps
varistor (MOV) Amps nanosecond 1000 pF +++

@ 50 Amps, 8x20
Avalanche Sub-
50 Amps µs pulse shape: 50 pF 10 microamps
diode microsecond

@ 500 Amps, 8x20

Gas tube > 20,000 Amps µs pulse width: 200 < 1 pF picoamps
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Testing Silicon Diodes (Not LED Or Zener)

To test a silicon diode such as a 1N914 or a 1N4001 all you need is an ohm-meter. If you
are using an analog VOM type meter, set the meter to one of the lower ohms scales, say 0-
2K, and measure the resistance of the diode both ways. If you get zero both ways, the diode
is shorted. If you get INFINITY both ways, the diode is open. If you get INFINITY one
way but some reading the other way (the value is not important) then the diode is good.

If you use a digital multi-meter (DMM), then there should be a special setting on the Ohms
range for testing diodes. Often the setting is marked with a diode symbol:

Measure the diode resistance both ways. One way the meter should indicate an open circuit.
The other way you should get a reading (often a reading around 600). That indicates the
diode is good. If you measure an open circuit both ways, the diode is open. If you measure
low resistance both ways, the diode is shorted.

Testing Diodes in Circuit

The procedures described above assume the diode under test is not part of any circuit. If
you are trying to test a diode that is on a circuit board or otherwise connected to other
components, then you should disconnect one end of the diode. On a circuit board you can
unsolder one end of the diode and lift it off the board. Make sure that you first disconnect
all power going to the circuit before you disconnect the diode. After disconnecting one end,
proceed as described above.
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A transistor is a semiconductor device commonly used to amplify or switch electronic signals. A

transistor is made of a solid piece of a semiconductor material, with at least three terminals for
connection to an external circuit. A voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor's terminals
changes the current flowing through another pair of terminals.

Construction and Theory

The bipolar or junction transistor consists of two p-n junctions

back to back in the same crystal. If two PN junctions are fused
together so that the two P regions form a very thin (0.1-1mm
thick) lightly doped layer between the two more heavily doped N
regions an NPN transistor is formed. Figure shows the layout of
transistor and symbol.




The three electrodes are called as Emitter (represented by arrow in symbol), Base and the Collector.
The emitter is more heavily doped than Collector which is more heavily doped than Base. The
physical size of collector is much higher than emitter and that of Base is very much small as
compared to Emitter.

Similarly if two heavily doped P regions are separated by a very thin and lightly doped N regions
then a PNP transistor is formed.



Operation of a Transistor (PNP)

Again the base-emitter junction id forward biased and the collector-base junction is reverse biased. Under
the influence of the electric field due to battery VCC, holes cross the junction into the base. Only 1-2% of
holes recombine with the free electrons in the base due to it being very thin and lightly doped. The
majority of the holes (98-99%) are accelerated towards the very strong negative influence of battery VCC.
Holes are the majority carriers in the PNP transistor.

Due to recombination of electrons and holes in the base, the base region loses free electrons and will
therefore exhibit a positive charge. The electrons will be attracted by the battery VCC into the base to
make up for those lost by recombine

ing with holes.


6 Vcc
8 1.0kΩ 12 V
Vbb Conventional Current flow in PNP Transistor

The arrow on the emitter of the transistor symbol points in the direction of conventional current.

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Transistor Characteristics and Parameters:

Consider the fig. shown where transistor is biased by two batteries, although in actual circuits a single
supply VCC is normally taken directly from the power supply output and VBB which is smaller can be
produced with a voltage divider bias circuit.

DC Beta (βdc) and DC Alpha (α): The ratio of the dc collector current (IC) to the base current (IB) is the dc
beta (βdc), which is the dc current gain of a transistor.

βdc = IC/IB

Typical values of βdc range from less than 20 to 200 or higher. βdc is designated as hFE on transistor data

The ratio of the dc collector current (IC) to the emitter current (IE) is the dc alpha (α dc).

αdc = IC/IE

Typical values of αDC range from 0.95-0.99 or greater, but αdc is always less than 1.

Example: Determine βdc and IE for a transistor where IB =50µA and IC = 3.65mA.

Solution: βdc = IC/IB = 3.65mA/50µA = 73

IE= IB + IC = 3.65mA + 50µA = 3.70mA.

A certain transistor has a βdc of 200. When the base current is 50 µA, determine the collector current.
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Current and Voltage Analysis:

Consider the basic transistor bias circuit configuration in figure. Three transistor dc currents and three dc
voltages can be identified.

IB: dc base current

IE: dc emitter current
IC: dc collector current

VBE = dc voltage at base w.r.t. emitter

VCB = dc voltage at collector w.r.t. base
VCE = dc voltage at collector w.r.t. emitter

VBB forward biases the emitter base junction and VCC reverse biases the base collector junction. When the
BE junction is forward biased, it is like a forward biased diode and has a nominal voltage drop of 0.7 volt.
Although in actual transistor VBE can be as high as 0.9 volt and is dependent upon current.

Since the emitter is at ground (0v), by Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law, the voltage across RB is


Also by ohm’s Law VRB = IBRB

Substituting for IBRB = VBB -VBE

Solving for IB, IB = (VBB -VBE) / RB

The voltage at the collector w.r.t. the grounded emitter is


Since the drop across RC is, VRC = ICRC

The voltage at the collector can be written as,


Where IC = βdc IB

The voltage across the reverse biased collector base junction is


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Testing of Transistor

Meter readings will be exactly opposite, of course, for an NPN transistor, with both PN junctions facing
the other way.
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Class AB

Class AB Amplifier Operation Amplifiers

designed for class AB operation are biased
so that collector current is zero (cutoff) for
a portion of one alternation of the input
signal. This is accomplished by making
the forward-bias voltage less than the peak
value of the input signal. By doing this,
the base-emitter junction will be reverse
biased during one alternation for the
amount of time that the input signal
voltage opposes and exceeds the value of
forward-bias voltage. Therefore, collector
current will flow for more than 180
degrees but less than 360 degrees of the
input signal, as shown in figure view B.

As compared to the class A amplifier, the dc operating point for the class AB amplifier is closer to cutoff.
The class AB operated amplifier is commonly used as a push-pull amplifier to overcome a side effect of
class B operation called crossover distortion.

Class C:

In class C operation, collector current flows for less than one half cycle of the input signal, as shown in
figure. The class C operation is achieved by reverse biasing the emitter-base junction, which sets the dc
operating point below cutoff and allows only the portion of the input signal that overcomes the reverse
bias to cause collector current flow.

The class C operated amplifier is used as a radio-frequency amplifier in transmitters.

Common Emitter Amplifier (Class A, voltage divider bias)

Let us first consider the biasing of the circuit. Here voltage divider bias is used. R1 and R2 divide the
supply voltage into the same ratio as that of the resistors. So if the resistor values are 16kΩ and 4kΩ then
with a supply voltage of 10volts, the voltage across R1 and R2 will be 8v and 2v respectively.

The voltage across base-emitter must be 0.6volts to overcome

the barrier potential. This could be achieved by removing RE
and making R2 of such a value that 0.6volts is dropped across
base-emitter junction but then R2 would be quite low and
amplification will be restricted.
So for this case VRE = 1.4volts leaving 0.6volts for VBE. So in
the static conditions quiescent current flows through the Q1, R1,
R2 and RE providing the bias necessary to make Q1 conduct.
When transistor is conducting there will be a voltage drop
across RL. Let it be 5volts so that the remaining voltage is
This is the condition that when dc is applied to the amplifier, all
bias voltages available and a standing voltage is available at the
collector of Q1.
Now a small ac signal is applied in the base of Q1which is superimposed on dc. Capacitor C1 blocks any
dc component and also the amplified ac output must only be passed to the next stage if again dc
component is blocked using C3. These capacitors are known as coupling capacitors.

It is also essential that VRE remains constant and

therefore VBE remains constant so that ac input
signal adds to and subtracts from the steady VBE
To ensure this capacitor C2 is connected across
RE. This capacitor has a capacitive reactance
lower than RE at the operating frequency. This
means that if the ac bypasses RE then it will have
a steady dc value. This capacitor is known as
decoupling capacitor.
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Transistor Switching Circuit:

This is a Common Emitter arrangement.

Here the transistor either turns fully "OFF"
(Cut-off) or fully "ON" (Saturated). An ideal
transistor switch would have an infinite
resistance when turned "OFF" resulting in
zero current flow and zero resistance when
turned "ON", resulting in maximum current
flow. In practice when turned "OFF", small
leakage currents flow through the transistor
and when fully "ON" the device has a low
resistance value causing a small saturation
voltage (Vce) across it. In both the Cut-off
and Saturation regions the power dissipated
by the transistor is at its minimum.

To make the Base current flow, the Base input terminal must be made more positive than the Emitter by
increasing it above the 0.7 volts needed for a silicon device. By varying the Base-Emitter voltage Vbe, the
Base current is altered and which in turn controls the amount of Collector current flowing through the
transistor. When maximum Collector current flows the transistor is said to be saturated. The value of the
Base resistor determines how much input voltage is required and corresponding Base current to switch the
transistor fully "ON".

Example1: For example, using the transistor values from the previous tutorials of: β = 200, Ic = 4mA
and Ib = 20uA, find the value of the Base resistor (Rb) required to switch the load "ON" when the input
terminal voltage exceeds 2.5v.

RB = (Vin - VBE) /IB = (2.5-0.7) / 20x10-6 = 90kΩ

Example 2: Again using the same values, find the minimum Base current required to turn the transistor
fully "ON" (Saturated) for a load that requires 200mA of current.

IB = IC/ß = 200mA /200 = 1mA

Transistor switches are used for a wide variety of applications such as interfacing large current or high
voltage devices like motors, relays or lamps to low voltage digital logic IC's or gates like AND Gates or
OR Gates.
Types of Bias

1. Fixed bias
2. Voltage divider bias
3. Emitter bias

Fixed bias (Base bias)

This form of biasing is also called base bias. In the fig. on

the right, the single power source is used for both collector
and base of transistor, although separate batteries can also
be used. In the given circuit, VCC = IBRB + Vbe

Therefore, IB = (VCC - Vbe)/RB

For a given transistor, Vbe does not vary significantly

during use. As VCC is of fixed value, on selection of RB, the
base current IB is fixed. Therefore this type is called fixed
bias type of circuit.

Also for given circuit, VCC = ICRC + Vce

Therefore, Vce = VCC - ICRC

From this equation we can obtain Vce. Since IC = βIB, we can obtain IC as well. In this manner, operating
point given as (VCE,IC) can be set for given transistor.


• It is simple to shift the operating point anywhere in the active region by merely changing
the base resistor (RB).
• Very few number of components are required.


• The collector current does not remain constant with variation in temperature or power supply
voltage. Therefore the operating point is unstable.
• Changes in Vbe will change IB and thus cause RE to change. This in turn will alter the gain of the
• When the transistor is replaced with another one, considerable change in the value of β can be
expected. Due to this change the operating point will shift.

Usage: Due to the above inherent drawbacks, fixed bias is rarely used in linear circuits, ie. those circuits
which use the transistor as a current source. Instead it is often used in circuits where transistor is used as a
switch. However, one application of 'fixed' bias is to achieve crude automatic gain control in the transistor
by feeding the base resistor from a dc signal derived from the ac output of a later stage.
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Resistive-Capacitive (RC) Coupling

Inductive-capacitive (LC) coupling:

Transformer coupling: amplifier:

Direct coupled amplifier:

Integrated Circuits:

Integrated Circuits are arrangements of several electronic components in a common housing. The major
advantage is the very high density of the components; the total arrangement therefore will be very
compact. As well they are quite resistant to mechanical stress. The small housing and therefore the small
surface is a disadvantage because some additional cooling might be required. A heat sink or fan must be
attached then. Another disadvantage is that IC’s cannot be repaired; a defective IC must always be

Usually the following components are integrated in IC’s:

1. Semiconductors (Transistors, Diodes)

2. Resistors
3. Capacitors
Inductances usually cannot be integrated due to their
large space requirements. IC’s can be found in each and
every modern appliance, in analogues as well as in
digital ones. Functional blocks can be found in a single
IC, requiring only a very small amount of space, i.e.
Processors (Computer), Amplifier.
Differential Amplifier: It consists of two transistors with two inputs and a single output. The circuit is
symmetrical i.e. the two transistors have identical characteristics. The emitter resistor RE is common to
both transistors. Collector load resistors R2=R3. The two input (signals) circuits are also identical. And
also R1=R4
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Differential-mode input (Non-common mode operation): The two transistors are connected in
differential mode, receive input sine wave from opposite ends of a centre-tapped transformer. The input
signals to the bases of Q1 and Q2 are equal in magnitude but opposite in phase, the condition for
differential mode operation.

Assume an instant of time when input to the base of Q1 is positive going and that on Q2 is negative
going. Now consider the action of Q1 as there is no Q2 connected. With a positive going signal on the
base of Q1, an amplified negative-going waveform appears at the collector of Q1. Moreover a positive-
going sine wave appears across RE, the un-bypassed emitter resistor, because of the emitter follower
action of Q1.

Now consider the action of Q2 as there is no Q1 connected. With a negative going signal on the base of
Q2, an amplified positive-going waveform appears at the collector of Q2. Moreover a negative-going sine
wave appears across RE, the un-bypassed emitter resistor, because of the emitter follower action of Q2.

The signal voltages appear across RE, because of the opposite actions of Q1 and Q2 are equal in
amplitude but 180o out of phase. Therefore when we consider the action of both the Q1and Q2 acting
together, the signal voltages across the emitter resistor cancel each other and no signal is developed across
RE. In this case RE does not introduce degeneration.

Now if VOUT is taken across the collector of Q1 and Q2, a positive going wave with amplitude twice the
amplitude of the signal voltage from either the collector to ground is received. However it is possible to
take two outputs from the differential amplifier equal in amplitude but opposite in phase.
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Operational Amplifier

The term operational amplifier or "op-amp" refers to a class of high gain DC coupled amplifiers with two
inputs and a single output. Some of the general characteristics of the ideal op-amp are:

• Infinite voltage gain (on the order of a million )

• Infinite bandwidth
• Used with split supply, usually +/- 15V
• infinite input impedance
• Zero output impedance

Typically the output of the op-amp is controlled either by negative feedback, which largely determines the
magnitude of its output voltage gain, or by positive feedback, which facilitates regenerative gain and

Modern designs are electronically more rugged

than earlier implementations and some can sustain
direct short-circuits on their outputs without

Various op-amp ICs in 8-pin dual in-line packages


Symbol and terminals:

The circuit symbol for an op-amp is shown to the

right, where:

• V + : non-inverting input
• V − : inverting input
• Vout: output
• VS + : positive power supply
• VS − : negative power supply

The power supply pins (VS + and VS −) can be

labeled in different ways. Despite different
labeling, the function remains the same.
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The extremely large open-loop gain of an op-amp
makes it an extremely sensitive device for
comparing its input with zero. For practical
purposes, if

the output is driven to the positive supply voltage

and if

it is driven to the negative supply voltage. The

switching time for - to + is limited by the slew rate
of the op-amp.

The basic comparator will swing its output to at the slightest difference between its inputs. But there
are many variations where the output is designed to switch between two other voltage values. Also, the
input may be tailored to make a comparison to an input voltage other than zero

Voltage follower

Used as a buffer amplifier, to eliminate loading effects or to interface impedances (connecting a device
with a high source impedance to a device with a low input impedance). Due to the strong feedback, this
circuit tends to get unstable when driving a high capacity load. This can be avoided by connecting the
load through a resistor.

• (realistically, the differential input impedance of the op-amp itself, 1 MΩ to 1 TΩ)

Summing amplifier

Sums several (weighted) voltages

• When , and Rf independent

• When

• Output is inverted
• Input impedance Zn = Rn, for each input (V − is a virtual ground)
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Hundreds of EASA Part-66 questions

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