EE 215 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering Lecture Notes

Thévenin Equivalents 8/3/01 Rich Christie Overview: Along with "How many h's and f's in Kirchhoff?" (2 each), "Where does the accent go in Thevenin?" is a leading EE trivia question. For the record it's Thévenin. His equivalent can help simplify complicated problems, and is a powerful circuit concept. Thevenin Equivalent: Thevenin was a French engineer who had an idea: Take any linear circuit. Take any two points (terminals). Pretend that the rest of the circuit is in a black box. Regardless of what is actually in the black box, we can pretend that what is in there is a voltage source with a resistance in series. This is called the Thevenin equivalent.

18 V + 5A 3! 3! 3! + vt


The equivalent is mostly useful when we are concerned about one circuit element, often representing the output of the circuit. For example, suppose the right-most 3 Ω resistor is the circuit load. We want to know the power delivered to the load. We can compute the Thevenin equivalent seen by the load - that is, the Thevenin equivalent of the circuit consisting of everything except the load.

18 V + 5A 3! 3! 3! + vt




Rt = 3 + 3 = 6! 6! By adding the load back in.that's the voltage with nothing attached to the terminals. -1V) and the power consumed is 1/3 W. We want the terminals of the black box (the dotted line) to be open. Find the open circuit voltage . 2 . In fact. people often write voc instead of vt to help them remember.The process of finding a Thevenin equivalent depends on what's in the circuit. this is the Thevenin equivalent voltage vt. it's easy to see that the load voltage is 1V (OK. voc = !18 + 3 " 5 = !3V 2. + - -3V 3! Note that the terminal voltage changes when something is connected. which means removing whatever is connected to them that is not in the box: 18 V + 5A 3! 3! + voc - Now we can find voc from superposition. Simple Thevenin Equivalents: Easiest case: Independent sources and resistors: 1. Pretty clearly. Find the Thevenin equivalent resistance Rt by zeroing all the independent sources and combining resistances.

and between the two lower ones. yes. Then Rt = voc (and. (This may be dangerous in real life!) 3. 10 ! 4A 10 ! 2 A 10 ! 10 ! 2A isc = 4 A ! 2 A 10 2A For open circuit voltage. the power consumption would be a bit different! 3 . 1. too. Then voc = 2( + 10) = 40V 10 v 40 Rt = oc = = 10! isc 4 if we put a 3 ohm resistor on this circuit. Find open circuit voltage voc the usual way. Find short circuit current isc. or resistors that do not combine easily. we could use nodal analysis. short circuit current is easy. That's current with the terminals short circuited.Try finding the Thevenin equivalent seen by the center 3 Ω resistor: 18 V + 5A 3! 3! Rt = 6! Voc = 18 + 5 ! 6 = 48V More Systematic Thevenin Equivalent: A little harder: Independent and dependent sources. The current must evenly divide between the two upper resistors . 2. this will work for easy circuits too) isc Example: Here. but in this special case we can appeal to symmetry.

and the voltage across the 2 Ω resistor will be determined by the current source. Then 5V isc = = 1A 2+3 2! 3! a 5V + - vab/4 b For voc. isc is probably easiest. Then KVL around the loop is 4 . note that vab is also the voltage across the dependent current source . 2! 3! a (Remember to remove RL from the circuit before taking the equivalent!) RL b 5V + - vab/4 2! 3! a isc 5V + - vab/4 b Hmm.10 ! + - 40V Let's try the dependent source thing. because vab is zero. Find the Thevenin equivalent seen by RL.

but I'll be heuristic. and try to write everything in terms of vab. and the terminal voltage is found. Then Rt = vab 1A Example: - 2+vab/2 2! + - 3V 3! 1A vab/4 + a 1+vab/4 1A b Now we could solve this circuit using nodal or mesh analysis. Basically. voc is zero and it's just a matter of finding Rt. The voltage across the 1A source is vab. so KVL gives 5 . what to do about dependent sources only.vab + vab = 0 4 v ab = 10V = voc v 10 Rt = oc = = 10! isc 1 !5!2 10 ! + - 10V Thevenin Equivalent with Dependent Sources: Finally. But the dependent source won't do anything unless another source is connected to the terminals. which we are trying to find. Then the current through the 2 Ω resistor is 1+vab/4. so the voltage across it is 3V. so the voltage across it is 2+vab/2. (This doesn't always work!) Note that the current through the 3 Ω resistor is 1 A. Normally a 1A current source is used.

i. That's the Norton equivalent." vab + 3 + 2 + vab =5 2 vab = 10V Rt = 10 = 10! 1 vab =0 2 10 ! It's just the same equivalent resistance as the previous problem with the source zeroed. (Heyyyyyy Norton! . find the Norton equivalent of the generic Thevenin equivalent. which is sort of what we expect. Norton Equivalent: There's another kind of equivalent that for some reason takes second place to the Thevenin equivalent. Open circuit voltages should be equal: 6 .e. But voc is zero: Note that circuits with dependent sources can give rise to negative Thevenin equivalent resistances.any Jackie Gleason fans in the crowd?) Norton equivalents are current sources in parallel with a resistor: (Hint: one of these circuits is NOT a Norton equivalent!) Rt in Req voc + - Let's try to find Norton equivalent parameters in terms of Thevenin equivalent parameters.

and now we want to pick speakers. it just has short circuit current instead of open circuit voltage. It turns out that we can model a speaker (badly!) as a resistor. you find short circuit current instead of open circuit voltage. Then the complete circuit looks like: 7 . Rt voc Rt voc = Req Req = Rt So actually the Norton is the dual of the Thevenin. Or. So suppose we know voc and Req.voc = Req in Short circuit currents should be equal in = Subbing in voc which is how to find the Norton current. find Thevenin equivalent and convert (which is longer to do but easier to remember. from Seattle to Portland. and we want to rock the neighborhood . and then do the same things (including 1A current sources if needed) to find the equivalent resistance. and the same equivalent resistance! So to find the Norton equivalent. In this case. Find Norton equivalent of: 10 ! + - 10V 1A 10! Maximum Power Transfer: Suppose we are designing a stereo. RL. dissipated power translates to sound output. We want speakers that dissipate the maximum power in RL. so it's often what I find myself doing). So what value of RL dissipates the maximum power? We need to know something about the amplifier we just built. because in this case. Specifically. We made this great amplifier. we need to know the Thevenin equivalent (!). picking the speaker just means choosing

8 . anyway. Any differentiable function. solve for RL. Works for any function. dude! And it works for Norton as well as Thevenin. I thought I was done with calculus!) dp L RL d 2 = voc 2 dRL dRL ( eq + RL ) R 2 = voc d !2 RL ( eq + RL ) R dRL 2 = voc ( )( eq + RL ) + RL (! 2 )( eq + RL ) ( ) 1 R R 1 !2 !3 [ ] And set the derivative equal to zero ' $ 2 RL 1 2 voc % ! =0 2 3" (Req + RL ) (Req + RL ) " % & # 1! 2 RL =0 Req + RL 2 RL = Req + RL RL = Req ! All this math leads to a simple yet important result: Maximum power transfer occurs when the load resistance equals the equivalent resistance. How do we find the maximum with respect to RL? Take derivative wrt RL and set to zero. so & voc # ! R pL = i RL = $ $R +R ! L L " % eq 2 2 voc + - RL Is the formula for the output power. (Oh. man. Turn that thing down. since the equivalent resistances are the same.Req OK.