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Describe a transistor in terms of its terminal

 A transistor has three leads connected to the emitter, base and

 The emitter emits or sends charge carriers through the thin base layer
to be collected by the collector.
 There is two-type of transistor: npn transistor and pnp transistor.
 In an npn transistor the emitter sends negative electrons to the
 In an pnp transistor, the p-type emitter sends positive holes to the
 In both cases, the arrow on the emitter shows the direction of current
 The output current, of a transistor flows between the emitter and the
 The current in the collector lead is called collector current, IC.
 The base current, IB is used to control the collector current through
the transistor. The base current can be used to switch the collector
current on or off.

1. Base current is too small compared to the collector

current. The unit of base current is A while the
unit for the collector current is mA.
( Ic >>>> IB )
Current = Collector current
Amplication base current

2. Emitter current, IE is equal the sum of base current

and collector current’
IE = IB + IC
Ie > Ic > IB

Transistor as a 3. A small change in the base current, results in a big change in the
current amplifier collector current, Ic >>>>Ib

Transistor as an 4. If there is no current flow in the base circuit, then there is also no
automatic switch current flow in the collector circuit.
IB = 0 then IC = 0 transistor is switch off
IB flows then IC flows transistor is switch on


Activity 1: To find the relationship between the base current (IB) and collector current, (IC) in a
Hypothesis: _________________________________________________________________________

Manipulated variable : _________________________ Responding variable : ___________________

Controlled variable : ____________________________

Apparatus : transistor, resistors of 2.2 kΩ, 3.9 kΩ, 4.7 kΩ, 6.8 kΩ, 8.2 kΩ and 10.0 kΩ, connecting
wires, dry cells, milliammeters with range 0 – 1 mA and 0 – 100 mA

1. Switch S1 is open and switch S2 is closed.

The readings of the ammeters are recorded.
2. Both switches S1 and S2 are closed. The
readings of the ammeters are recorded.
Repeat the experiment by replacing the 10.0
kΩ in the base circuit with 8.2 kΩ, 6.8 kΩ,
4.7 kΩ, 3.9 kΩ and 2.2 kΩ.

R / kΩ 2.2 3.9 4.7 6.8 8.2 10.0

IB / mA 0.60 0.45 0.32 0.20 0.13 0.08
Ic / mA 94.0 70.0 46.0 36.0 24.0 10.0

Plot graph of IC against IB.

Calculate the gradient of the graph.


1. Which milliammeters measure

Base current:
Collector current :

2. When S1 opened, S2 closed :

IB = ______ IC = _____

3. How would the readings of the

milliammeter A1 and A2 compare?

4. What does the gradient of the graph



A small increase in the ______ current results in a big increase in the ____________ current.

Describe how a transistor can be used as an automatic switch.

Potential divider circuit

 Choose a suitable resistor R1 and a variable

resistor R2. The voltage at base terminal can be
adjusted to switch the transistor on or off.
 If the variable resistor = 0, base voltage = 0 and
the transistor remains off.
 If the variable resistor is increased, the base
voltage increases.
 When the base voltage reaches certain minimum
value, the base current switches the transistor
 The large collector current flows through the transistor causing the bulb to light up.

If the variable resistor in the transistor is replaced by a device such as light dependent resistor
(LDR), a thermistor or a microphone, the transistor can be used as an automatic switch controlled
by light, heat or sound

Activity 2: A light controlled switch

1. The LDR has a very ___________ resistance in darkness and a _________ resistance in
light. R is a fixed _____________
2. The LDR and R form a potential divider in the circuit.

Circuit switches on the light at daytime and Circuit switches on the bulb at night and
switches off the bulb at night automatically switches off the bulb at day time automatically
Draw a circuit diagram

 In daylight, the LDR has a very _______  In daylight, the LDR has a very _______
resistance as compared to R. resistance as compared to R.
 Therefore the base voltage is ___________  Therefore the base voltage is too
enough to switch the transistor on and to ___________ to switch the transistor on
light ________ the bulb.  In darkness, the LDR has a very _________
 In darkness, the LDR has a very _________ resistance and the base voltage is ________
resistance and therefore the base voltage is to switch the transistor ________ to light
too ________ to switch the transistor ______ the bulb.
________. The bulb light _____


Activity 3: Design a temperature operated switch

The resistance of a thermistor varies with temperature. When the temperature increases, the
resistance of the thermistor will _________

Thermistor Diode Relay

 Figure shows a transistor-based circuit that

function as a heat controlled switch. high
 At room temperature, the thermistor has a
………. resistance compared to R. Therefore, R
the base voltage of the transistor is too low
to switch on the transistor.
 When the thermistor is heated, its ……………. drops considerablely compared to R. Therefore,
the ……………., VB is high enough to switch ……. the transistor. When the transistor is switch
on, the relay switch is activated and the relay is switched ………. The circuit can also be used
in a fire alarm system.

Transistor as a Current Amplifier mA

 A transistor functions as a current amplifier by R2 IC

allowing a small current to control a larger current.
 The magnitude of the …………………., IC is primarily R1
determined by the ………………….., IB. A ……….. A
change in the base current, IB will cause a ……..
change in the collector current, IC. The current
amplification can be calculated as follows:

I C
Current Amplification 
I B

Transistor circuit II (need one cell)

Rx and RY : Voltage divider

VRx = Rx x V
( Rx + Ry)

VRY = Ry xV
( Rx + Ry)


TUTORIAL 9.3 4. What are the electrical components that

must be placed at P and Q in the circuit
OBJECTIVE QUESTIONS as shown in Diagram 2
1. Diagram 1 shows a symbol for npn
transistor. Electrodes P, Q and R refer to

Diagram 1
Diagram 2
A Base Emitter Collector P Q
B Base Collector Emitter A Bulb Bulb
C Collector Base Emitter B Battery Bulb
D Emitter Base Collector C Resistor Battery
D Bulb resistor
2. The diagram shows the symbol for a
transistor. 5. An npn transistor is connected to a dc
power supply as shown in Diagram 3.

Which of the following shows the

correct name of the electrode P and the
type of the transistor? (2003)
Diagram 3
Electrode P Type of transistor
A Emitter pnp Which of the following is correct?
B Collector pnp A Ie > Ic >Ib
C Emitter npn B Ie > Ib >Ic
D Collector npn C Ic > Ie >Ib
D Ic > Ib >Ie
3. Which symbol represents the pnp
6. In which circuit does the bulb light up?


7. The function of transistor in the circuit 11. In which circuit will the light-emitting
shown in Diagram 5 is ___ diode (LED) light up when the switch is
on? (2005)

Diagram 5
A. Rectifier
B. Amplifier
C. Automatic switch
D. Voltage divider

8. The function of the transistor in the

circuit shown in Diagram 6 is
12. Which of the following circuits can
function? (2006)

Diagram 6
A. Receiver
B. A switch
C. Transmitter
D. Heater

10. Which of the following shows the correct 13. Diagram shows an automatic switch
circuit to light up the bulb during daylight circuit to light up a bulb at night.
but light off the bulb at night.

What changes should be done to light

up the bulb during the day time? (2007)
A. Reverse the therminals of the battery
B. Interchange R1 and R2
C. Replace the npn transistor with a pnp
D. Replace resistor R3 with a resistor of
lower resistance


STRUCTURE QUESTIONS (i) State one electronic component

1. Diagram 7 shows a light dependent which needs to be replaced. Give
resistor (LDR), resistors R and S, a light a reason for your answer.
emmiting diode (LED), a transistor and a
battery that will be connected to form a _____________________________
circuit. The LED emits lights when it is in
a bright surroundings. _____________________________
(ii) Name two electronic components
that are needed to replace the
unsuitable components.


E. In the space below, draw a circuit
diagram to show the new circuit.

Diagram 7

(a) (i) State one function of a transistor.

(ii) Complete the circuit in Figure 25.1 so
that the LED emits light in a bright
2. Diagram 7 shows a circuit that acts as a
(iii) Give one reason why LED emits light switch to light up bulb M when the
in a bright surroundings. surrounding at P is dark. P is a light
dependent resistor LDR.
(b) What modification is required to the
circuit so that the LED will emits light
when the surroundings become


(c) An alarm is needed which emits

sound when there is a fire. Two Diagram 7
modifications have to be made to the
circuit in (a)(ii) by replacing
electronic components. (a) What is the characteristic of LDR?



(b)(i) Name component Q.

(i) State the relationship between the
__________________________________ resistance and the intensity of light
received by the light dependent
(ii) What is the function of component Q? resistor.

_________________________________ ________________________________

(c) What is the function of resistor R? ________________________________

___________________________________ (ii) Complete the circuit in Diagram 8 by

drawing the resistor and the light
(d) (i) What is the change to the voltage Vp dependent resistor using the
when the surrounding P is dark? symbols given below.


(ii) How does the change of the voltage

light up the bulb M?


(e) Explain why the bulb must not be

(iii) Explain how the circuit functions.
connected directly to the circuit switch.
SPM 2006 Section A # 7(c)
3. (c) The door of a lift is fitted with a light [3 m]
transmitter and a detector which is a light
dependent resistor. If the light
dependent resistor detects light, the
relay switch is activated and the lift door
will close. Diagram 8 shows an electronic
circuit for the control system of the lift

Diagram 8


SPM 2007 Section B 10(d)

4. Diagram 9 shows a circuit with a
transistor that acts as an automatic

Diagram 9

The transistor in the circuit causes the

light diode (LED) to light up when it is
dark. A technician wants a fan labeled
240 V, 100 W in a room to be
automatically switched on when the
room is hot.
Suggest modifications that can be made
to the circuit in Diagram 4 so that the fan
can be automatically switched on when
the room is hot.
State and explain the modifications
based on the following aspects:
- the electrical components that are
needed to replace the LED and the light
dependent resistor (LDR) in the circuit.
- The positions of the electrical
components in the circuit.
[10 m]