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The Bipolar Transistor

OBJECTIVES

4
Collector Emitter PNP

After studying the material in this chapter, you will be able to describe and/or analyze: transistor architecture, transistors functioning as switches, transistor characteristics, base biasing of amplifier circuits, signal parameters of the amplifier circuit, the procedure for measuring input and output impedance, transistor output characteristic curves, and troubleshooting techniques for transistor circuits.

N TO TRANSISTORS 4.1 INTRODUCTION TO TRANSISTORS


Bipolar transistors, also called BJTs (bipolar junction transistors), are three-terminal devices that can function as electronic switches or as signal amplifiers. In this chapter, you will learn how transistors perform both of these important functions. Figure 41 shows the schematic symbols for the two types of bipolar transistors. The schematic symbols show the three terminals of the transistor. The leg with the arrow is called the emitter, the collector is the other slanted leg, and the base is the leg connected perpendicular to the line connecting the emitter and the collector. If the arrow of the schematic
Collector Base Base

Emitter NPN

FIGURE 41

Transistor symbols

113

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symbol points outward, the transistor is an NPN transistor. If the arrow points inward, the transistor is a PNP transistor.

4.2

INSIDE THE TRANSISTOR

A transistor is a three-layer device, whereas a diode has only two layers. Figure 42(a) shows how two layers of N-type material sandwich one layer of P-type material to make an NPN transistor. Figure 42(b) shows how two layers of P-type material sandwich one layer of N-type material to form a PNP transistor. In both cases, the layer in the center is the base, and the two outer layers are the emitter and collector. The arrow on the schematic symbol identifies the emitter and always points to the N-type material. By remembering this, you should always be able to determine whether a transistor is an NPN or PNP type.
Collector Base N P N B C E Base Collector P N P Emitter (b) B C E

Emitter (a)

FIGURE 42

Transistor architecture

Let us examine the operation of an NPN transistor. At first glance, you might assume the NPN transistor would function like two diodes where the anodes are connected to the base terminal. Indeed, if each junction of the transistor is used independently, it does function as two diodes. However, when the base/emitter junction is forward biased and the base/collector junction is reverse biased, a phenomenon happens that makes the transistor possible. Figure 43 shows the bias voltages needed to turn on an NPN transistor (current limiting resistors have been left out for simplification). Supply VBB is connected in such a manner as to forward bias the base/emitter junction. The voltage on the base is positive 0.7 V with respect to the emitter, which is at ground potential. Supply Vcc sets the collector to +10 V potential with

+ 9.3 V V

N P N

VCC = 10 V

+ 9.3 V V

VCC = 10 V

VBB = 0.7 V

VBB = 0.7 V

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 43

Bias voltages

4.2 INSIDE THE TRANSISTOR

115

respect to the emitter. The collector is 9.3 V more positive than the base; therefore, the base/collector junction is reverse biased. With the base/emitter junction forward biased and the base/collector junction reverse biased, the transistor is turned on. Using electron current flow, let us discuss the current flow in the circuit in Figure 44. Begin by assuming switch S1 open, thus disconnecting Vcc from the collector. If this is the case, we only need to be concerned with VBB. Supply VBB is forward biasing the base/emitter junction, causing current to flow.

IC

IC = 0 S1

IC S1 IB VBB = 0.7 V IE VCC = 10 V

IB = IE

IB

VBB = 0.7 V IE

N P N VCC = 10 V

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 44 Base/emitter current with collector open

Meters IE and IB have the same current flowing through them. Meter Ic has zero current flow because switch S1 is open. If the bias supply (VBB) is adjusted more positive, the current through meters IE and IB will increase. If the bias supply (VBB) is reduced, less current will flow through meters IE and IB. In other words, with only supply VBB connected, the base/emitter junction functions like a normal forward-biased diode. If we close switch S1, 10 V will be applied to the collector,reverse biasing the base/collector junction. The base/emitter junction is still forward biased with supply VBB. At first glance, one would think the current flow would remain the same (IE = IB and IC = 0 A), but this is not the case. What actually takes place in the circuit when S1 is closed (see Figure 45) is majority current carriers from the emitter (electrons) cross the forward-biased base/emitter junction, and some combine with the majority current carriers in the base (holes) and cause base current. However,

IC S1 IE = IB + IC IB VBB = 0.7 V
N P

IC S1 IB VBB = 0.7 V IE

VCC = N 10 V IE

VCC = 10 V

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 45

Bias currents

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the base is physically thin and lightly doped when compared to the emitter. The emitter injects a large number of electrons into the base region relative to the limited number of holes available in the base region. The result is a large number of electrons present in the base region that do not immediately combine with holes. Once in the base region, if the electron does not combine with a hole, it will fall under the influence of the collector supply Vcc. Remember that the base/collector junction is reverse biased, and the majority current carriers are prohibited from crossing the junction. However, when a junction is reverse biased for majority current carriers, it is forward biased for minority current carriers. The electrons in the base, being minority carriers, find it easy to pass through the base/collector junction. Once in the collector, the electrons are attracted by the positive terminal of the Vcc supply and flow through meter Ic, causing the meter to indicate current. As Figure 45(a) shows, the current leaving the emitter divides, and a small amount flows out as base current (IB), but the majority of the current flows out as collector current (IC). The current flow can be expressed mathematically by the formula IE = IB + IC.

BETA OF THE TRANSISTOR __________________________________________________


The ratio of how the emitter current divides into base and collector current is a function of the particular transistor being used. Typically only about 1% of the emitter current will exit the base, and 99% will exit the collector. The ratio of collector current to base current is a parameter of the individual transistor and is called beta (). Beta can be stated mathematically as = IC/IB. Beta is sometimes referred to as hFE, which stands for forward current gain in the common emitter configuration. Beta is the current gain of the transistor where IC is output current and IB is input current (beta has no units, since it is a ratio of two currents). The important thing to remember about beta is that it is a fixed ratio between collector current and base current. Therefore, a small change in base current will cause a large change in collector current. The base current is the control current. Let us assume values for the circuit in Figure 46. Let = 100 and IB = 10 A. Then IC equals 1 mA (IC = 100 10 A). If the base current increases to 15 A, the collector current will go to 1.5 mA. This is because beta, the ratio between IC and IB, is constant, and an increase in input current will result in an increase in output current. Likewise, if the base current decreases to 5 A, the collector current will decrease to 0.5 mA. The following two formulas should be remembered: IE = IB + IC Transistor current divider Transistor current gain (beta) = IC/IB

IC IE = IB + IC I = C IB IE

IB

FIGURE 46

Beta of the transistor

4.2 INSIDE THE TRANSISTOR

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EXAMPLE 4.1

A transistor is connected as shown in Figure 47. It has a base current of 8 A and a collector current of 1.2 mA. What is the emitter current and the beta of the transistor?
IC IB IE

FIGURE 47

Transistor currents and beta

Step 1. Calculate emitter current. IE = I B + IC IE = 8 A + 1.2 mA IE = 1208 A Step 2. Calculate beta. = IC/IB = 1200 mA/8 mA = 150

EXAMPLE 4.2

A transistor is connected as shown in Figure 47. It has an emitter current of 2.42 mA and a collector current of 2.4 mA. What is the base current and beta of the transistor? Step 1. Calculate base current. IE = IB + IC IB = IE IC IB = 2.42 mA 2.40 mA IB = 0.02 mA or 20 A Step 2. Calculate beta. = IC/IB = 2400 A / 20 A = 120

EXAMPLE 4.3

A transistor is connected as in Figure 47 and has a base current of 16 A and a beta of 80. What is the collector current and emitter current of the transistor? Step 1. Calculate the collector current. = IC/IB

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EXAMPLE 4.3 continued

IC = IB IC = 80 16 A IC = 1280 A or 1.28 mA Step 2. Calculate the emitter current. IE = IB + IC IE = 16 A + 1280 A IE = 1296 A or 1.296 mA Transistors of the same type will have large variations in beta. However, in this chapter, we will consider beta to be a constant. In the next chapter, we discuss circuits that correct for variations in beta.

4.3

TRANSISTOR SWITCHES

INTRODUCTION ____________________________________________________________
A transistor can function as an SPST (single-pole single-throw) switch, but rather than being mechanically controlled, it is controlled by an electronic signal driving the base terminal. Figure 48 shows a comparison between an open SPST switch and an NPN transistor.
12 V Bulb off 12 V Bulb off Control Signal OFF (a) (b)

FIGURE 48

Open switch equals off transistor

When the switch is open, as shown in Figure 48(a), there is no current flowing in the circuit and the bulb is off. When the control signal on the base terminal of the transistor turns the transistor off, as shown in Figure 48(b), the transistor acts like an open switch. The resistance between the collector and the emitter terminals rises infinitely high and prevents current flow in the circuit. The bulb in series with the transistor is off. Figure 49 shows a comparison between the SPST switch and the transistor when turned on. When the switch is closed, current flows in the circuit and lights the bulb. Likewise, when the control signal on the base terminal turns the transistor on, the resistance between the collector and emitter drops to zero, and the current flow lights the bulb. Actually, the transistor is not a perfect switch. When it is off, the resistance between the collector and emitter does not go to infinity, and when it is on, the resistance between the collector and emitter does not drop to zero. Even though the transistor is not a perfect switch, it is close enough to function well in most circuits.

4.3 TRANSISTOR SWITCHES


12 V Bulb Control Signal ON (a) (b) 12 V on

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Bulb

on

FIGURE 49

Closed switch equals on transistor

DESIGNING A TRANSISTOR SWITCHING CIRCUIT _____________________________


Figure 410 shows a transistor switching circuit designed to control the on/off condition of a 12 V bulb. When the control signal equals 5 V, the bulb is on, and when the control signal equals 0 V, the bulb is off. The current flowing through the bulb is the collector current. The collector current is zero when the bulb is off and is limited by the bulb resistance when the bulb is on. Example 4.4 shows how to design the switching circuitry.
EXAMPLE 4.4

Design the transistor switching circuit shown in Figure 410.


Ic(off) = 0 A Bulb I = 1.2 A 10 c(on)
= 100

Control 0 V = off 5 V = on

Rb = 330

VCC = 12 V

FIGURE 410

Transistor switching circuit

Step 1. Calculate the collector current when the bulb is in the on state. The supply voltage is divided by the resistance of the load (bulb). IC = IL = VCC/RL = 12 V/10 = 1.2 A Step 2. Using beta, calculate the needed base current. IB = IC/ = 1.2 A/100 = 12 mA Step 3. Calculate the value of VRB. VRB = Vcontrol VBE = 5 V 0.7 V = 4.3 V Step 4. Calculate the value of Rb. Rb = VRB/IB = 4.3 V/12 mA = 358 (Use the next lower standard value, 330 .) Step 5. Draw the switching circuit. (The switching circuit is shown in Figure 410.)

If the control voltage in Figure 410 is zero, the base/emitter junction will be reverse biased, and there will be zero base current. With zero base current, the collector current would also be zero (IC = IB). With the collector current being zero, there would be no current through the bulb, and the light would be off. The transistor is functioning as an open switch.

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If the control voltage in Figure 410 is 5 V, the base/emitter junction is forward biased. The junction drops 0.7 V, leaving a 4.3 V drop across Rb. The current through Rb is 13 mA (4.3 V/330 = 13 mA). Since the transistor has a minimum beta of 100, the minimum expected collector current (IC) would equal 1.3 A (100 x 13 mA). However, the resistance of the load limits the collector current to 1.2 A (12 V/10 ). The collector current flows through the bulb, causing the bulb to light. When a transistor is fully on and its current is limited by the load resistance, it is in saturation. The collector/emitter voltage (VCE) across a saturated transistor is approximately 0.2 V to 0.3 V. For calculations, assume 0.2 V is dropped across a saturated transistor. In Example 4.4, we assume an ideal transistor with zero voltage drop from collector to emitter in the on state. If we assume a 0.2 V drop across the saturated transistor, the voltage across the bulb will be 11.8 V, and the current through the bulb will be 1.18 A.

HIGH POWER LOAD BEING CONTROLLED WITH LOW POWER SIGNAL _________
At this point, you may think transistor switching circuits do nothing more than allow one voltage source to turn off and on another voltage source, but let us examine the circuit more closely. In the off state, the current through the load is equal to zero. Therefore, the power dissipated by the load is equal to zero watts (P = IV). In the off state, zero volts are applied to the base circuit, so the base current equals zero, and the control signal power is also equal to zero. When the transistor switch in Example 4.4 is on, the load current is equal to 1.2 A, and the voltage drop across the load is equal to 12 V. Therefore, the power dissipated in the load is equal to 14.4 W (1.2 A 12 V). The input control signal is 5 V at 12 mA, and the input power dissipated is equal to 60 mW (12 mA 5 V). Notice that a low power input signal (60 mW) is able to control a relatively high power output (14.4 W). It is important to realize that the transistor is a control device, and not a power generator. The transistor provides the control function of opening or closing a current path, but the power dissipated in the load comes from the power supply (Vcc). The wattage rating of the switching transistor used in the circuit is determined by calculating the power dissipated by the transistor. When the transistor is off, the current flowing through the transistor is zero. Consequently, zero power is dissipated by the transistor. When the transistor is on, the current through the transistor is determined by the resistance of the load and the supply voltage. The voltage across the transistor is approximately 0.2 V. The transistor in Example 4.4 dissipates approximately 240 mW (1.2 A 0.2 V) when the transistor is conducting.

IMPROVING TRANSISTOR SWITCHING SPEED ________________________________


Figure 411 shows two transistors being switched by the same control signal. At low switching speed, the signal present on the collectors of both transistors would look like the signal shown
12 V 1 S

TP1 TP1
Control Signal 1 k TP2 0.01 F 1 k TP3

5V 0V

22 k

Q1 2N3904

22 k

Q2 2N3904

10 V TP2 0.2 V 12 V TP3 0.2 V

FIGURE 411

Improving transistor switching speed

4.3 TRANSISTOR SWITCHES

121

at TP3. However, as the switching speed increases, transistor Q1 will not switch sharply and will have a collector voltage that ramps up and down as shown in Figure 411. Adding a capacitor in parallel with the base resistor, as shown Figure 411, will permit transistor Q2 to switch at a higher speed. The capacitor passes a current spike that clears the current carriers out of the junction area and permits the transistor to cut off quickly. When the transistor is switched on, the capacitor passes the needed voltage directly to the base and drives the transistor quickly into saturation.

SUMMARY OF THE TRANSISTOR IN THE SWITCHING MODE __________________


When a transistor is used for switching, it is in one of two states: on or off. In the off state, the base bias current (IB) is zero, and the transistor is cut off. (Actually there is a small amount of leakage current, but it can be ignored in most cases.) In the on state, the base bias current (IB) is set large enough to drive the transistor into saturation. In saturation, the voltage drop across the transistor (VCE) decreases to zero, and the voltage across the load goes to Vcc. (Actually the voltage drop across the transistor decreases to approximately 0.2 V, and the voltage drop across the load rises to Vcc minus 0.2 V). Transistors find many uses in the switching mode. They are used to switch off and on electrical loads of all types and are used extensively in digital electronics where the circuitry requires an on or off state. Example 4.5 will review transistor switching circuit concepts.
EXAMPLE 4.5

Design a circuit to control the on/off conditions of a 50 load connected to 30 V. The control signal is a voltage switch between 0 V and 4 V. The load will be on when the control voltage is 4 V and off when the control voltage is 0 V. The transistor used in the circuit will have a beta of 50. Step 1. Draw a diagram of the switching circuit. (Figure 412 shows a diagram of the circuit.)

Control 0 V = off 4 V = on

Rb

Load 50 = 50

VCC = 30 V

FIGURE 412 Transistor switching circuit

Step 2. Calculate the collector current when the load is in the on state. The supply voltage is divided by the load resistance. The saturation voltage (0.2 V) of the transistor could be subtracted from the supply voltage, but it is not significant in this case. IC = IL = 30 V/50 = 600 mA Step 3. Calculate the base current needed. IB = IC/ = 600 mA/50 = 12 mA Step 4. Calculate the value of VRB. VRB = Vcontrol VBE = 4 V 0.7 V = 3.3 V Step 5. Calculate the value of Rb. Rb = VRB/IB = 3.3 V/12 mA = 275 (Use the next lower standard value, 270 .)

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EXAMPLE 4.5 continued

Step 6. Calculate the wattage rating of Rb. P = IV = 12 mA 3.3 V = 39.6 mW The resistor selected should be able to dissipate approximately twice the calculated wattage or more. A 1/8 W or larger resistor is needed in this case. Step 7. Calculate the wattage rating of the transistor. P = IV = 600 mA 0.2 V = 120 mW The transistor selected should be able to dissipate 120 mW or more.

4.4

TRANSISTOR CHARACTERISTICS AND DATA SHEETS

There are hundreds of transistors on the market. The differences in these transistors can be found by examining the electrical characteristics listed on the data sheets. The three most important characteristics for the technician to know are the maximum collector current (IC), maximum power dissipation (PD), and small signal beta (). Certain technical literature uses H-parameters to identify transistor characteristics. We will not use H-parameters in this text, although in the following list of transistor characteristics, we will give the H-parameter names when relevant. The following paragraphs state the most common transistor characteristics. Maximum collector current (IC) is the maximum continuous current that can flow in the collector leg of the transistor without damage to the transistor. Bipolar transistors are available with maximum collector current ratings from 50 mA to 50 A. Maximum power dissipation (PD) is the maximum power the transistor can dissipate without being damaged. An approximation of the power being dissipated by a transistor can be calculated by multiplying the voltage across the transistor from collector to emitter (VCE) times the collector current (IC). Bipolar transistors are available with maximum power dissipation ratings from 0.2 W to 250 W. Small signal beta () or (hfe) is the signal current gain of the transistor in the common-emitter configuration. The input terminal is the base, the output terminal is the collector, and the emitter is the reference terminal. The formula for small signal beta is = ic/ib. DC beta () or (hFE) is the DC current gain of the transistor in the common-emitter configuration. In most applications, the small signal beta and the DC beta are interchangeable. In this text, we will assume they are interchangeable unless otherwise noted. The formula for DC beta is = IC/IB. Transistors are available with beta ratings from 10 to 1000. Maximum base current (IB) is the maximum current that can flow in the base leg of the transistor without damage to the transistor. Collector to base breakdown voltage (VCBO) is the maximum reverse-biased voltage that can be applied across the collector to base junction. Bipolar transistors are available with collector to base breakdown voltage ratings from 20 V to 1500 V. Collector to emitter breakdown voltage (VCEO) is the maximum voltage that can be applied across the transistor from collector to emitter. Bipolar transistors are available with collector-to-emitter breakdown voltage ratings from 20 V to 800 V. Emitter to base breakdown voltage (VEBO) is the maximum reverse-biased voltage that can be applied across the emitter to base junction. Bipolar transistors are available with emitter to base breakdown voltage ratings from 4 V to 20 V.

4.5 THE TRANSISTOR AMPLIFIER

123

Gain-bandwidth product (fT) is the frequency at which the gain of the transistor drops to unity. The gain-bandwidth product is normally given in megahertz and can range from less than 1 MHz to 5000 MHz.

OR AMPLIFIER

4.5

THE TRANSISTOR AMPLIFIER

GAIN AND AMPLIFICATION _________________________________________________


Transistor amplifiers are circuits that provide signal gain. Gain is an important concept in electronics. Let us take a moment to make sure we have a common understanding of the word. Gain is the ratio of output to input. The general formula is Gain = Output/Input. Gain has no units because the output and the input must be in the same units, and the units cancel. Figure 413 shows the symbol used for an amplifier. An amplifier is an electronic circuit used to obtain gain. In Figure 413, the amplifier has an input of 0.6 Vp-p and an output of 6 Vp-p. By using the gain formula, we can calculate the voltage gain to be 10 (6 Vp-p/0.6 Vp-p = 10). The word voltage preceding gain indicates that the gain ratio is comprised of the output voltage and the input voltage. It is also possible to have current and power gains.
6 Vp-p Amplifier Output

0.6 Vp-p Input

FIGURE 413

Amplifier

THE TRANSISTOR AS AN ADJUSTABLE CURRENT SOURCE ____________________


Figure 414 shows a conventional current source in series with a resistor. The variable current source is adjustable from zero to 2 mA. If the current source is adjusted to 1 mA (IC = 1 mA), the current flow through the resistor will be 1 mA. The 5 k resistor will drop 5 V, causing the output voltage to be 5 V. The calculation follows: If IC = 1 mA, then VRC = IC Rc = 1 mA 5 k = 5 V Vout = VCC VRC = 10 V 5 V = 5 V
VCC = 10 V Rc
5 k 7.5 V 1 Hz 5 Vp-p

Ic Adjustable 0 to 2 mA

Output Voltage 2.5 V

1 sec.

FIGURE 414

Adjustable current source

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If the current source is adjusted to 1.5 mA, the output voltage will drop to 2.5 V. Adjusting the current source to 0.5 mA will cause the voltage to rise to 7.5 V. The calculation of each output voltage follows: If IC = 1.5 mA, then VRC = IC Rc = 1.5 mA 5 k = 7.5 V Vout = VCC VRC = 10 V 7.5 V = 2.5 V If IC = 0.5 mA, then VRC = IC Rc = 0.5 mA 5 k = 2.5 V Vout = VCC VRC = 10 V 2.5 V = 7.5 V Any voltage between 2.5 V and 7.5 V can be obtained at the output by adjusting the current source between 0.5 mA and 1.5 mA. If the current source is properly adjusted over a one-second period, it is possible to obtain the sine wave shown in Figure 414. The output signal voltage is a function of the changing current flowing through the 5 k resistor. Figure 415 shows a transistor in series with a 5 k resistor. It is possible to control the collector current between 0 mA and 2 mA by controlling the base signal. The 2 mA limit is set by the 10 V supply and the 5 k resistor (10 V/5 k). If the control signal on the base is set to cause 1 mA of collector current (IC), the output voltage will be 5 V. By controlling the signal on the base of the transistor, the collector current can be adjusted to 1.5 mA, which will cause the output voltage to drop to 2.5 V. If the signal on the base is adjusted so the collector current decreases to 0.5 mA, the output voltage will rise to 7.5 V. If the proper control signal is applied to the base of the transistor over a one-second period, it is possible to obtain the waveform in Figure 415.
VCC = 10 V
7.5 V

Rc

5 k 1 Hz 5 Vp-p

Control Signal

Ic

Output Voltage 2.5 V 1 sec.

FIGURE 415

The transistor as an adjustable current source

The signal voltage output in Figure 415 is a function of the changing collector current flowing through the 5 k resistor. The transistor functions as a current source in series with the 5 k resistor. The collector current through the transistor is adjustable by applying a control signal to the base terminal of the transistor. In the coming sections, it will be shown how a small input signal on the base of a transistor amplifier can control a large output signal on the collector.

BIASING THE TRANSISTOR AMPLIFIER _______________________________________


Biasing a transistor amplifier circuit is the process of setting the DC voltage and current to the proper level so a signal can be accepted and amplified by the circuit. A comparison can be made between an automobile idle and the transistor amplifier bias current. With the idle set properly, the automobile is ready to receive an input from the accelerator. With the bias current set properly, the transistor amplifier is ready to receive an input from the signal generator. In the

4.5 THE TRANSISTOR AMPLIFIER

125

case of the automobile, we are trying to set the engine to a constant rpm with no input applied. In the case of the transistor amplifier, we are trying to set the collector current (IC) to a constant value with no input signal applied. Theoretically, the idle of an automobile could be set anywhere from zero rpms (engine off) to the maximum rpms (engine wide open). The proper idle point is somewhere between the two extremes. The same is true of a transistor amplifier; theoretically, the bias could be set anywhere from IC = 0 amps (cutoff) to maximum IC (saturation). The proper bias point is somewhere between the two extremes and is called the quiescent operating point, or Q-point. When an amplifier is biased so the Q-point is near the middle of its operating range (halfway between cutoff and saturation), it is said to be operating class-A. This operation permits the output current to increase and decrease from the Q-point as the input swings through a complete cycle. In other words, output current flows for the full 360 of the input cycle. Figure 416(a) shows a class-A amplifier that permits the output current to flow for the full 360 of the input cycle.
360 Amp Input Class A (a) Output Input Class B (b) Amp Output Input 180 Amp Output Class C (c) 90

FIGURE 416

Classes of transistor operation

When an amplifier is biased at cutoff, it is operating class-B. In class-B operation, the output current will flow only for one alternation, or 180, of the input cycle. Figure 416(b) shows a class-B amplifier. In class-C operation, the amplifier is biased below cutoff. This means the input signal must cross zero and move partway through an alternation before output current starts to flow. In other words, output current flows less than 180. Figure 416(c) shows a class-C amplifier. Class-B and class-C amplifiers do not provide a true reproduction of the input signal; however, they are both much more efficient that class-A amplifiers. Chapter 16 describes how the higher efficiencies of class-B and class-C amplifiers can be put to use in power amplifiers. In this chapter, we will limit our study to class-A amplifier circuits. Since class-A amplifier circuits have output current flow for the complete cycle of the input signal, the output wave shape will be the same as the input. However, because the circuit has gain, the magnitude of the output signal is larger.

BASE BIAS AMPLIFIER ______________________________________________________


Figure 417(a) shows a transistor amplifier circuit using base bias, also called fixed bias. The function of bias circuitry is to set the Q-point by setting the collector current (IC) to a constant value without a signal applied to the circuit. Since bias currents are steady-state DC, the coupling capacitors block bias current flow. For bias analysis, the circuit can be simplified to the circuit shown in Figure 417(b). Example 4.6 shows how the bias voltages and currents can be calculated.
EXAMPLE 4.6

Calculate VE, VB, VC, IB, IE, and IC for the circuit in Figure 417(a). Step 1. Simplify the circuit as shown in Figure 417(b) for analyzing bias voltages and currents.

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EXAMPLE 4.6 continued


VCC = 10 V Rc 5 k
+

VCC = 10 V

Rb 1 M
+

Rb 1 M

Rc 5 k
= 100

= 100

RL 10 k

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 417 Base bias circuits

Step 2. Calculate VE. The emitter is connected to ground; therefore, VE = 0 V. Step 3. Calculate VB. The base/emitter junction is forward biased; therefore, VB = 0.7 V. Step 4. Calculate IB. First, the voltage drop across Rb is calculated, and then Ohms law is used to calculate IB. VRB = VCC VB = 10 V 0.7 V = 9.3 V IB = VRB/Rb = 9.3 V/1 m = 9.3 A Step 5. Calculate IC. The formula for beta is used to calculate IC. IC = IB = 100 9.3 A = 0.93 mA Step 6. Calculate Vc. First, the voltage drop across Rc is calculated, then this voltage is subtracted from the supply voltage (VCC) to obtain the voltage on the collector. VRC = Rc IC = 5 k 0.93 mA = 4.65 V Vc = Vcc VRc = 10 V 4.65 V = 5.35 V Step 7. Calculate IE. IE = IC + IB = 0.93 mA + 0.0093 mA = 0.9393 mA IE IC 0.93 mA In most cases, the emitter and collector currents are assumed to be equal. Figure 418 shows the transistor amplifier with the important voltage and current values calculated in Example 4.6. The technician can measure voltage values and compare them to the calculated values to determine if a circuit is operating properly. If the circuit in Example 4.6 is constructed and the collector voltage reads approximately 5.3 V, the bias circuit is functioning properly. If the collector voltage reads low, the collector current of the transistor is too high. If the collector voltage reads high, the collector current of the transistor is too low. Engineers normally design class-A amplifiers for midpoint bias; thus, the transistor collector voltage will read approximately one-half of Vcc. There are other factors the engineer must consider when designing the class-A amplifier. For this reason, the collector voltage may not read exactly 50% of Vcc but will normally read between 30% to 70% of Vcc. Hence, the technician can quickly get an indication of proper circuit operation by measuring the collector voltage of a class-A amplifier.

4.6 SIGNAL ANALYSIS OF THE BASE-BIASED AMPLIFIER


VCC = 10 V Rc 5 k IB = 9.3 A
0 Vp-p +

127

VB = 0.7 V

Rb 1 M

IC = 0.93 mA VC = 5.35 V + RL = 100 10 k

FIGURE 418

Base bias circuit

SIS OF THE BASE-BIASED AMPLIFIER

4.6

SIGNAL ANALYSIS OF THE BASE-BIASED AMPLIFIER

Class-A transistor amplifiers are set to a Q-point by DC bias currents. The first step in troubleshooting these circuits is to verify that the bias circuit is functioning properly. You cannot, however, completely troubleshoot or analyze the amplifier circuit without knowing the signal parameters. In this section, you will learn how to calculate signal parameters. When referring to signal values, we will use lowercase letters. Beta and transistor current divider formulas, as shown below for bias parameters, are also valid for signal parameters. IE = IB + IC also ie = ib + ic Transistor current divider = IC/IB also = ic/ib Beta

INPUT IMPEDANCE (zin) ____________________________________________________


Input impedance (zin) is the impedance the signal source sees when looking into the amplifier. Let us examine the amplifier in Figure 419(a) and determine its equivalent input impedance. The input coupling capacitor (C1) has a very low reactance (Xc) for the frequency of the signal and looks like a short. The DC power source has a very low internal impedance for signal frequency; therefore, the DC power bus is always considered to be signal ground. This means, from the perspective of the signal source, resistor Rb connects directly to ground. Figure 419(b)
VCC

Rb C1
Signal Source

Rc

C2

RL

Signal Source

rb

r 'e

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 419 Input impedance

128

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

shows an equivalent circuit with C1 removed and rb connected directly to ground. Lowercase rb is used for the signal resistance from the base terminal to ground. The resistance rb will include all signal paths to ground with the exception of the path through the transistor. In this case, there is only one path through Rb, so rb will equal Rb. The transistor base/collector junction is reverse biased. The signal source sees this reversebiased junction as a open circuit, so the signal path through the collector is considered an open circuit as shown in Figure 419(b). The signal source sees a path to ground through the forward-biased base/emitter junction. The dynamic resistance of the base/emitter junction will limit signal current flow through the junction. The dynamic resistance of the junction is shown in the equivalent circuit as resistor r'e. Let us review the concept of dynamic resistance. In Chapter 1, we discussed the detailed diode model that shows how forward-biased current increases steeply with changes in forward-biased voltage. We stated that the dynamic resistance of a diode junction can be calculated by taking a small change in voltage and dividing it by the change in current caused by the change in voltage (r = v/i). However, these changes in voltage and current are difficult to obtain. Dr. Shockley developed an approximation formula that simplifies solving for dynamic resistance. Shockleys formula states that the dynamic resistance of a diode junction is equal to 25 mV divided by the forward-biased current through the diode junction (r = 25 mV/I). So, once the bias current is known, the dynamic resistance can be easily calculated. In a simple diode, there is only one current flowing; however, in a transistor, there are three currents: emitter current, base current, and collector current. The formula for calculating the dynamic resistance of the forward-biased base/emitter junction is r'e = 25 mV/IE. The emitter bias current (IE) is used to calculate the dynamic resistance (r'e) of the base/emitter junction because the emitter current is the current flowing through the base/emitter junction. The fact that only a small percentage of emitter current exits the base has no effect on the dynamic resistance of the junction. To calculate the input impedance, we now have two parallel paths for signal current flow: one through the base resistance (rb) and another through the forward-biased base/emitter junction, which has dynamic resistance in the emitter leg. The resistance in the emitter leg will be seen as beta times larger from the perspective of the base. The explanation that follows will show why the resistance in the emitter leg must be multiplied by beta. Figure 420(a) shows an equivalent circuit with the three possible Kirchhoff s voltage loop equations. We will use the Kirchhoff s voltage loop equation containing the signal voltage source and base/emitter junction (Vs Vr'e = 0) to start our explanation. Vs Vr'e = 0 Using Ohms law to expand our equation gives us: Vs (ie r'e) = 0

Signal Source

VS Vrb = 0 V Vrb Vr 'e = 0 V VS Vr 'e = 0 V rb r 'e

Signal Source

rb
zin = rb || ( r 'e)

r 'e

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 420

Input impedance equivalent circuits

4.6 SIGNAL ANALYSIS OF THE BASE-BIASED AMPLIFIER

129

From the perspective of the signal source, the current flowing into the transistor is base current. We can rewrite the voltage loop equation using base current. ie = ( + 1) ib Since beta is much larger than one: ie ib Substituting ib for ie: Vs (ib r'e) = 0 The previous equation could be written as: Vs = ib ( r'e). Since the signal source drives the base circuitry, the value of r'e looks beta times larger when viewed from the perspective of the signal source. Figure 420(b) is an equivalent circuit showing the input impedance from the perspective of the signal source. Note that the base/emitter junction and r'e are replaced with a resistor that is equal to r'e. This branch is in parallel with all other signal paths to ground. The general formula for input impedance is zin = rb || re, where rb is the signal resistance of the base circuitry and re is the signal resistance of the emitter circuitry. Example 4.7 shows how the impedance of an amplifier circuit can be calculated.

EXAMPLE 4.7______________________________________________________________________________

Calculate the input impedance for the circuit in Figure 421.


VCC = 10 V Rb 1 M C1
20 mVp-p

Rc 5 k C2
= 100 RL 10 k

FIGURE 421

Base bias amplifier circuit

Step 1. Calculate the bias emitter current (IE). VB = 0.7 V VRB = VCC VB = 10 V 0.7 V = 9.3 V IB = VRB/Rb = 9.3 V/1 M = 9.3 A IC = IB = 100 9.3 A = 0.93 mA IE IC = 0.93 mA Step 2. The signal input impedance can now be calculated. zin = rb || r'e = 100 from schematic r'e = 25 mV/IE = 25 mV/0.93 mA = 27 rb = 1 M zin = 1 M || (100 27 ) = 2.63 k

130

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

An analogy that is helpful when calculating input impedance is to picture the forward-biased base/emitter as a telescope that magnifies the resistance in the emitter leg by a factor of beta when viewed from the base terminal. Figure 422 shows this analogy.

Eyeball

Emitter Resistance Telescope

FIGURE 422 Emitter resistance when viewed from base

VOLTAGE GAIN _____________________________________________________________


The voltage gain of an amplifier is defined as signal voltage out divided by signal voltage in (Av = Vout/Vin) and can be easily calculated if both the input and output signal voltages are known. In troubleshooting, however, it is helpful to be able to estimate the voltage gain from circuit values. In this section, we will develop a formula that makes this possible. The input signal voltage (Vin) is equal to the terminal voltage of the signal source (vs) connected to the circuit. The Kirchhoff s voltage equation for the loop containing the signal voltage source (vs) and base/emitter junction is vs (ie re) = 0, where re is the signal impedance in the emitter leg. Therefore, the signal voltage (vs) is equal to the signal emitter current (ie) times the signal impedance in the emitter. Expressed in mathematical terms, the input signal voltage is Vin = vs = ie re. The output signal voltage (Vout) is equal to the output signal current (ic) times the signal impedance (rc) in the collector leg. Figure 423(a) shows that the collector signal current has two paths to ground: one through Rc and the other through RL. The power source (Vcc) and the coupling capacitor are shorts for signal current. Therefore, the signal equivalent circuit in Figure 423(b) shows RL and Rc connected in parallel. Expressed in mathematical terms, the signal impedance in the collector leg is rc = Rc || RL. The signal output voltage equals Vout = ic rc. Now we have sufficient information to determine a formula for voltage gain using circuit components.
VCC = 16 V Ic Rb Rc Rc RL RL

= 120

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 423

Signal load impedance

4.6 SIGNAL ANALYSIS OF THE BASE-BIASED AMPLIFIER

131

Av = Vout/Vin Vout = ic rc (where rc is the signal impedance in the collector leg) Vin = ie re (where re is the signal impedance in the emitter leg) Av = ic rc/ie re (since ie ic, the currents cancel) Av = rc/re
EXAMPLE 4.8

Calculate the voltage gain for the circuit in Figure 424.


VCC = 10 V

Rb

1 M

Rc 5 k

= 100 20 mVp-p

RL = 10 k

FIGURE 424 Amplifier circuit

Step 1. Determine the signal resistance in the emitter leg. Examining the circuit in Figure 424 reveals that r'e is the only resistance in the emitter leg. The bias emitter current must be calculated in order to calculate r'e. VB = 0.7 V VRB = VCC VB = 10 V 0.7 V = 9.3 V IB = VRB/Rb = 9.3 V/1 M = 9.3 A IC = IB = 100 9.3 A = 0.93 mA IE Ic 0.93 mA r'e = 25 mV/IE = 25 mV/0.93 mA = 27 re = r'e Step 2. Determine the signal resistance in the collector leg. rc = Rc || RL rc = 5 k || 10 k = 3.3 k Step 3. Calculate the voltage gain. Av = rc/re Av = 3.3 k/27 = 123

OUTPUT IMPEDANCE (zout) _________________________________________________


The output of an amplifier is usually connected to some type of load. It may be a resistor (RL), a transducer, or the input impedance of the next stage. In any event, the amplifier becomes the signal source for the load. All signal sources have some internal impedance, and so does an

132
VCC
zout

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

Rc
Looking Back into the Circuit Using Thevenins Theorem

RL Vout Unloaded
Output

zout = Rc

(a)

(b)

(c)

FIGURE 425 Output impedance

amplifier. From the perspective of the amplifier, this internal impedance is referred to as output impedance. Figure 425(a) shows that zout is in series with the load resistance connected to the amplifier. The value of the output impedance (zout) is calculated by looking back into the circuit from the load as shown in Figure 425(b) and calculating the Thevenin equivalent impedance. There are two parallel signal paths to ground looking back into the circuit. One is through the reversebiased collector/base junction of the transistor, and the other is through Rc and the power source. The reverse-biased collector/base junction has a signal impedance in the megohms. The impedance of the other path is equal to the value of Rc in series with the signal impedance of Vcc. The signal impedance of Vcc is close to zero, so the impedance of this path is equal to Rc. Since Rc is in kilohms and the impedance through the transistor is in megohms, the equivalent output impedance (zout) is simply equal to Rc (zout = Rc) as shown in Figure 425(c).

SIGNAL PHASE INVERSION _________________________________________________


A positive voltage swing of the input signal increases base current (ib), which causes the collector current to increase. The increased collector current causes a decrease (negative swing) in the output signal voltage. The inverse is also truea negative swing of the input signal causes a positive swing in output signal. We describe an amplifier as having phase inversion when the output is 180 out of phase with respect to the input.

SUMMARY OF TRANSISTOR PARAMETERS ___________________________________


The concepts developed in this section permit you to analyze circuit signal parameters by using circuit component values. This is demonstrated in Example 4.9.
EXAMPLE 4.9

What is the (a) input impedance, (b) voltage gain, (c) output impedance, (d) signal output voltage, and (e) signal output phase for the circuit in Figure 426? Step 1. Calculate input impedance. zin = rb || r'e r'e = 25 mV/IE IB = Vcc VB/Rb = 23.3 V/1.165 M = 20 A IC = IB = 100 20 A = 2 mA IE IC = 2 mA

4.6 SIGNAL ANALYSIS OF THE BASE-BIASED AMPLIFIER

133

EXAMPLE 4.9 continued


VCC = 24 V
Input

Rb 1.165 M

Rc = 6 k

= 100 20 mVp-p

RL = 3 k
Output

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 426 Amplifier with input and output signals

Step 2.

Step 3.

Step 4.

Step 5.

r'e = 25 mV/IE = 25 mV/2 mA = 12.5 re = r'e zin = rb || re = 1.165 M || (100 12.5 ) = 1250 Calculate voltage gain. Av = rc/re rc = Rc || RL = 6 k || 3 k = 2 k re = r'e Av = rc/re = 2 k/12.5 = 160 Calculate output impedance. zout = Rc zout = 6 k Calculate Vout. Av = Vout/Vin, therefore Vout = Av Vin Vout = 160 20 mVp-p = 3.2 Vp-p Determine the phase of the output signal with respect to the input signal. A positive swing in base voltage causes an increase in collector current. The increase in collector current causes an increase in the voltage dropped across Rc, which reduces the collector voltage. Hence, the output signal is 180 out of phase with respect to the input signal.

The base-biased amplifier can be analyzed using a schematic diagram of the circuit containing component values and knowing the beta of the transistor. The first step is to calculate the DC bias currents and voltages. The second step is to calculate the signal circuit parameters of input impedance, output impedance, and voltage gain. With these values known, you have the needed information to troubleshoot the circuit. In actual troubleshooting, you might not use paper and pencil to do exact calculations, but you should have approximate calculations in your mind. Having a list of formulas to plug values into and then cranking out the answers is not the way to understand electronic circuits. However, there are a few relationships one needs to know in

134

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

order to work with bipolar transistor circuitry. The list of relationships below are important and should be memorized. IE = IB + IC = IC/IB r'e = 25 mV/IE zin = rb || re zout = Rc Av = Vout/Vin Av = rc/re Transistor current divider Current gain (beta) Signal junction resistance Input impedance Output impedance General voltage gain Voltage gain

4.7

MEASURING INPUT AND OUTPUT IMPEDANCE

The input and output impedance of a transistor amplifier circuit cannot be measured with an ohmmeter. Using our knowledge of series circuits and a little common sense, however, we will develop a method that can be used in the lab to determine the input and output impedance of any circuit. The box in Figure 427(a) is an electronics circuit that has an input lead, an output lead, and a common lead. The generator signal is applied across the input and common leads, and the load is connected across the output and common leads. We do not know what is in the box, but we do know that all circuits look like a single impedance to the generator driving the circuit. Figure 427(b) shows the circuit with the signal generator adjusted to 1 V and a 1 k resistor connected in series between the generator and the input lead. A voltage of 0.8 V is read from the input lead to the common lead. Example 4.10 demonstrates how the information shown in Figure 427(b) can be used to calculate the input impedance of the unknown circuit.
EXAMPLE 4.10

Calculate the input impedance of the unknown circuit shown in the box in Figure 427(b).
Input Signal Generator Unknown Circuit Output 1 k Unknown Circuit V

Vgen = 1 V
Load

Common

Vin = 0.8 V

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 427

Input impedance test circuit

Step 1. Calculate the voltage across the 1 k resistor. VR = Vgen = Vin VR = 1 V 0.8 V = 0.2 V Step 2. Calculate the generator current. Since the 1 k resistor is in series with the generator, it has the same current as the generator.

4.7 MEASURING INPUT AND OUTPUT IMPEDANCE

135

EXAMPLE 4.10 continued

igen = VR/R igen = 0.2 V/1 k = 0.2 mA Step 3. Calculate the input impedance of the circuit. The current flowing into the circuit equals the current through the 1 k resistor, since the resistor is in series with the circuit. The voltage across the circuit is known to be 0.8 V. iin = iR = igen zin = Vin/iin zin = 0.8 V/0.2 mA = 4 k Thevenins theorem states that from the perspective of the load, any circuit can be replaced with a source (VTh) and a series resistance (RTh). Figure 428(a) shows the original circuit driving the load, and Figure 428(b) shows the Thevenins equivalent circuit driving the load. The Thevenins resistance is equal to the output impedance of the original circuit. Therefore, if Thevenins resistance of the circuit can be determined, we will know the output impedance (zout).
Input Signal Generator Unknown Circuit Output Load

RTh = zout VTh


Load

Common

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 428

Thevenins equivalent

Figure 429 shows the procedure for determining the output impedance in the lab. First, the load is removed from the circuit. The load will remain out of the circuit for the rest of the procedure. Second, the open circuit voltage is read and recorded [shown in Figure 429(a)]. The open circuit voltage is equal to the Thevenin voltage (VTh). Third, a resistor with a known ohms value (1 k in this case) is connected across the circuit as shown in Figure 429(b), and the voltage across the resistor is read and recorded. Fourth, the Thevenin equivalent circuit is drawn showing the known voltage values [shown in Figure 429(c)]. Fifth, the circuit is solved for the value of the Thevenin resistance, which equals the output impedance. Step 1. Calculate the current in the Thevenin equivalent circuit. iTh = VR/R = 3 V/1 k = 3 mA
Remove Load Remove Load Load Open Circuit V Voltage = VTh

Vgen

Unknown Circuit

Vgen

Unknown Circuit

Load V 1 k

VTh =4V

RTh = zout
3V V 1k

Vout = 4V

Vout = 3V

Known Resistor (c)

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 429

Output impedance test circuit

136

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

Step 2. Calculate the voltage drop across zout. Vzout = VTh VR = 4 V 3 V = 1 V Step 3. Calculate zout. zout = Vzout/iTh = 1 V/3 mA = 333 In the lab, using the procedure described, you will be able to measure the input and output impedance of all types of circuits. If the impedances are not pure resistance, the phase angle needs to be considered. In this text, we will consider the input and output impedance to be pure resistance unless otherwise noted. In Figure 430(a), the unknown circuit is a bipolar amplifier. Figure 430(b) shows how a variable resistor can be connected in the circuit to determine input impedance. The resistor can be adjusted to any known value, and the input impedance can be calculated. However, if the resistance were adjusted until the signal at the input of the circuit equaled 50% of the generator signal, the resistance of the variable resistor would equal the input impedance of the circuit. After the variable resistor is adjusted to the correct value, it can be removed from the circuit and measured with an ohmmeter.
Unknown Circuit VCC Unknown Circuit VCC Unknown Circuit VCC

Remove Load 100% SW Open

Vgen
Load

Vgen V 50 % of V

gen

Load

Vgen

50% SW Closed

(a)

(b)

(c)

FIGURE 430

Experimentally determining input and output impedance

Figure 430(c) shows how a variable resistor can be connected in the circuit to determine the output impedance. Again, the resistance can be adjusted to any known value, and the needed data can be obtained to calculate the output impedance. However, if the variable resistor were adjusted until the closed switch signal equaled 50% of the open switch signal, the value of the variable resistor would equal the output impedance. The output impedance of most function generators is 50 , and this value is normally displayed on the face plate of the generator. Next time you are in the lab, verify the impedance of your function generator using the procedure discussed.

4.8

TRANSISTOR OUTPUT CHARACTERISTIC CURVES

A graph showing collector current (IC) versus collector/emitter voltage (VCE) with base current (IB) held constant is called an output characteristic curve. Figure 431(a) shows an experimental circuit used to obtain the needed data to draw an output characteristic curve. Figure 431(b) shows the output characteristic curve obtained by holding the base current constant at 5 and monitoring the collector current as the collector/emitter voltage is varied from 0 V to 20 V.

4.8 TRANSISTOR OUTPUT CHARACTERISTIC CURVES


M2

137

IC
2 mA

IC

M1 5 A

IB
Constant Current

0 to M3 20 V

VCE

1 mA

Ib 5 A
0A 0V 5V 10 V 15 V VCE (b) 20 V

(a)

FIGURE 431

Circuit for developing characteristic curves

If the base current is adjusted to a second value and the process is repeated, data can be obtained for a second curve. This process can be repeated several times, and a family of output characteristic curves can be obtained as shown in Figure 432.
IC
25 A 2 mA 20 A 15 A Ib 1 mA 10 A 5 A 0A 0V 5V 10 V 15 V VCE 20 V

FIGURE 432 Family of output characteristic curves

Output characteristic curves can be used to examine how a transistor will function over a dynamic range. Figure 433(a) shows a fixed bias amplifier with a 10 k resistor in the collector leg (Rc). Figure 433(b) shows the output characteristic curves for the transistor with the DC load line for the 10 k resistor plotted. The end point of the DC load line on the horizontal axis is calculated by assuming the transistor is cut off and then calculating the voltage across the transistor. This would equal the power supply voltage (20 V in this case). The end point of the DC load line on the vertical axis is calculated by assuming the transistor is in saturation. With the transistor in saturation, the only resistance limiting current flow is resistor Rc, so the collector current at saturation is found by dividing the power supply voltage by the value of Rc. In this case, the collector current at saturation is equal to 2 mA (20 V/10 k). The DC load line can be used to select the Q-point. Figure 433(b) shows that for class-B operation the Q-point would be selected at the cutoff point on the DC load line. For class-A operation the Q-point should be selected near the center of the DC load. Based on the DC load line, it would appear that the circuit in Figure 433(a) could have an undistorted output signal of 20 Vp-p as shown in Figure 433(b). However, the signal flowing in the collector leg not only sees Rc but also sees RL. Therefore, in order to determine maximum undistorted output signal, an AC load line must be plotted. The AC and DC load lines share the same Q-point; hence, we already have one point on the AC load line. The second point on the AC load line is determined by calculating the signal saturation current (ic). The signal saturation current is equal to quiescent collector current (Ic) plus the change in collector voltage (VCE)

138

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

Ic Saturation VCC = 20 V IC
25 A 2 mA Q-Point Class A 20 A 15 A Ib 10 A 5 A 0A 0V 5V VCE 10 V 15 V 20 V Cutoff Q-Point Class B

Rb

Rc 10 k

1 mA

RL 20 k

20 Vp-p (a) (b)

FIGURE 433

DC load line

divided by the signal resistor in the collector leg (rc). Example 4.11 shows that the AC load line can be used to determine the maximum undistorted output signal.
EXAMPLE 4.11

For the circuit in Figure 433(a) draw the AC load line and determine the maximum output swing without distortion. Step 1. Determine the signal resistance in the collector leg. rc = Rc || RL = 10 k || 20 k = 6.7 k Step 2. Determine the quiescent collector current from the graph in Figure 433(b). Ic = 1 mA Step 3. From the graph in Figure 433(b) determine the change in VCE between the Q-point and saturation. VCE = 10 V Step 4. Calculate the signal saturation current. ic = Ic + VCE/rc = 1 mA + 10 V/6.7 k = 2.5 mA Step 5. Draw the AC load line on the graph in Figure 434 from the signal saturation current point on the vertical axis through the Q-point to the horizontal axis. Step 6. Draw the maximum symmetrical output signal without distortion below the horizontal axis. The signal cannot exceed saturation or cutoff on the AC load line. Notice the signal can swing only 6.5 V from the Q-point before cutoff is reached on the horizontal axis. Therefore, the maximum symmetrical signal the circuit could handle without distortion is 13 Vp-p as shown in Figure 434.

4.9 TROUBLESHOOTING TRANSISTORS

139

IC
2.5 mA

Ic Saturation
25 A AC Load Line Q-Point 20 A 15 A Ib 10 A DC Load Line 5 A

2 mA

1 mA

0A

0V

5V

10 V

15 V

20 V

VCE

13 Vp-p

FIGURE 434 AC load line

Engineers make use of characteristic curves for designing devices and circuits. The technician does not normally utilize characteristic curves in circuit troubleshooting; however, understanding characteristic curves is useful for technicians when using a curve tracer. A curve tracer is an instrument that permits the technician to check the dynamic conditions of an electronic device. By using a curve tracer, the technician can display a family of output characteristic curves to check the dynamic performance of transistors. For example, if a circuit needs matching transistors, a curve tracer can compare the performance of transistors over a dynamic range. If the transistors are matched, their characteristic curves will be matched. If they are not matched, the characteristic curves will be different.

OTING TRANSISTORS4.9 TROUBLESHOOTING TRANSISTORS


With the transistor out of the circuit, the two diode junctions of the transistor can be checked with an ohmmeter. Figure 435 shows that the transistor can be thought of as two diodes connected back-to-back. This test also can be used to identify the transistor as an NPN or a PNP. For an NPN transistor, as shown in Figure 435, the test is as follows: connect the positive lead of the ohmmeter to the base, and connect the negative (common) lead to the emitter. This should forward bias the base/emitter junction, and the ohmmeter will read low. Now connect the negative lead to the collector. This will forward bias the base/collector junction, and the ohmmeter will again read low. These readings are shown in Figure 435(b). Now, if the ohmmeter is reversed, the two junctions can be read in reverse bias, and both junctions should read high as shown in Figure 435(c). If one of the junctions reads low in both directions, the junction is shorted and the transistor is bad. If one of the junctions reads high in both directions, the junction is open and the transistor is bad. Next, make a reading between the collector and emitter, then reverse the meter leads and make a second reading. Both of these readings should be high. If they are not, the transistor has a collector-to-emitter short and should be replaced.

140

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

C B E B + Low Reading Low Reading +

+ High Reading B High Reading

E (b)

E (c)

(a)

FIGURE 435 Transistor out-of-circuit test

If the terminals are unknown, you can find the base terminal by identifying which terminal has a low reading in relation to the other two terminals. This terminal is the base. If the low readings are caused by the base being positive, the transistor is an NPN. If the low readings are caused by the base being negative, the transistor is a PNP. If the checks are being performed by a DMM, the emitter and collector terminals can be determined. Most DMMs give a millivolts reading on the diode scale. Carefully read and record the millivolts obtained when checking the forward-biased base/emitter and base/collector junctions. The junction that has the higher reading is the base/emitter junction. If the transistor passes the ohmmeter test, it is probably good. However, the transistor could be breaking down under circuit conditions not present with the meter test. In addition, this test does not check the signal characteristics, for example current gain () of the transistor. There are many transistor testers on the market that do check the signal characteristics, and if one is available, it would be preferable to using a meter. The procedure for using the transistor tester will be provided in the operators manual of the tester. The technician also can use a curve tracer to check the dynamic response of a transistor. No form of out-of-circuit testing totally simulates the circuit in which the device is operating. For this reason, a device may pass all out-of-circuit tests and still cause the circuit to fail. Figure 436 shows a transistor functioning as a switch. Reading the collector voltage will quickly tell the technician the condition of the switch. If the switch is off, the voltage on the
VCC
Load

VCC
Load

Rb
Control circuitry

VC = VCC
Transistor off

VB = 0.7 V Rb
Control circuitry

VC = 0.2 V
Transistor on

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 436

Transistor switching circuits

4.9 TROUBLESHOOTING TRANSISTORS

141

collector should measure approximately the supply voltage (Vcc). The technician can turn the transistor off by connecting a jumper between the base and emitter. If this procedure does not turn the transistor off, it is bad and needs to be replaced. If the switch is on, the voltage on the collector will measure approximately 0.2 V, and the base will measure approximately 0.7 V. The technician can connect the base to Vcc through a pull-up resistor, and this should cause the transistor to turn on. If the transistor does not turn on, the transistor is bad or the control circuitry is holding the base at ground. Always remember that a transistor functioning as a switch should be in cutoff (Vc = Vcc) or in saturation (Vc 0.2 V). If the collector voltage is measuring some other voltage, the transistor is not operating as a switch and the transistor is bad or the control circuitry is not functioning properly. Figure 437 shows a transistor functioning as a class-A amplifier. The technician should make a quick check of the collector voltage (Vc), which should be approximately one-half of the supply voltage (Vcc). If the collector voltage reads under 30% or over 70%, the operating conditions on the amplifier should be questioned. If the collector voltage is in question, then measure the voltage between the base and emitter (VBE), which should measure approximately 0.7 V. If the DC readings are within range, the technician can then proceed with signal insertion to check the gain of the amplifier.

VCC

Rc Rb C1 C2

VC = approximately 1/2 VCC

RL VBE = 0.7 V

FIGURE 437

Transistor class-A amplifier circuit

PRE-LAB 4.1

143

PRE-LAB
Transistor Switch and Transistor Amplifier

4.1

1. Assuming the transistor to have a minimum beta of 100, calculate and record the value of Rb for the circuit in Figure 438. Rb = _____

16 V

200

TP1
+ 00.000 V

S1 Key = Space Rb
5V 2N3904

FIGURE 438

2. Calculate and record the voltage at TP1 with S1 open and with S1 closed for the circuit in Figure 438. S1 open = _____ S1 closed = _____ 3. Simulate and record the voltage at TP1 with S1 open and with S1 closed for the circuit in Figure 438. S1 closed = _____ S1 open = _____ 4. Calculate and record the control power in and the power delivered to the load when the transistor is on. Pin = _______ Pout = _________ 5. Calculate and record VB, VC, zin, zout, Av, and Vout for the circuit in Figure 439. Assume a beta of 150. VB = ______ VC = ______ zin = ______ zout = _____ Av = _____ Vout = ______ 6. Simulate and record VB, VC, AV, and Vout for the circuit in Figure 439. VC = _____ AV = _____ Vout = _____ VB = _____ 7. Calculate the beta of the transistor based on the simulated readings. Beta = _____

144

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

20 V

560 k

2.0 k 10 uF +

10 uF + 2N3904 5.1 k
+

10 mV 4 kHz

FIGURE 439

LAB 4.1

145

LAB
Transistor Switch and Transistor Amplifier
I. Objectives 1. To construct and analyze a transistor switching circuit. 2. To construct and analyze a base-biased transistor amplifier. II. Test Equipment (1) sine wave generator (1) dual-trace oscilloscope III. Components Bulb: (1) 12 V @ 80 mA Capacitors: (2) 10 F Resistors: (1) 150 /2 W, (2) 1 k, and (1) 220 k Potentiometers: (1) 5 k and (1) 100 k Transistors: (1) 2N3904 IV. Procedure (1) 0 to 15 V power supply (1) multimeter

4.1

1. Assuming the transistor to have a minimum beta of 50, calculate and record the value of Rb for the circuit in Figure 440. Rb = _____ Next smaller standard value = _____ 2. Construct the circuit in Figure 440 using the standard value resistor determined in step 1. 3. Measure the voltage across the load with the transistor on and off. VRL (off) = _____ VRL (on) = _____ 4. Calculate and record the control power in and the load power out when the transistor is on. Pin = _______ Pout = _________

Vcc = 12 V RL = 150 Rb
Control Voltage 0 or 5 V

FIGURE 440

5. Replace the load resistor in Figure 440 with a light bulb. Adjust the supply voltage (Vcc) to the voltage rating of the bulb. With the control voltage on, make the needed adjustment

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The Bipolar Transistor

6. 7. 8.

9.

in Rb to ensure the transistor is functioning as a closed switch. Note the collector voltage should measure approximately 0.2 V when the transistor is on. Measure the current through the bulb. Calculate and record the control power in and the bulb power out when the transistor is on. Pout = _________ Pin = _______ Calculate and record VB, VC, zin, zout, Av, and Vout for the circuit in Figure 441. Assume a beta of 150. VB = ______ VC = ______ zin = ______ Av = _____ Vout = ______ zout = _____ Construct the circuit in Figure 441. Use a transistor tester to find a transistor with a beta near 150. Adjust the 100 k potentiometer to 66 k. This will give a starting value of Rb equal to 286 k: the correct value if the transistor has a beta of 150.
VCC = 15 V Rc 1 k C2
10 F

Rb C1
50 mVp-p 2 kHz 10 F

100 k 220 k

RL 1 k

FIGURE 441

10. Apply DC power (Vcc) to the circuit. Adjust the 100 k potentiometer until the collector voltage measures 7.5 V. 11. Measure VB and Vc. VB = ______ VC = ______ 12. Turn on the signal generator and adjust the input signal to 50 mVp-p at 2 kHz. Measure the output signal (Vout). Note the output signal of this amplifier will have some distortion, but do not worry about it at this point. The next chapter will examine amplifiers with less distorted output. Vout = ______ 13. Calculate the voltage gain using measured values for Vin and Vout. Av = ______ 14. Using the procedure discussed in this chapter, measure the input impedance of the amplifier circuit. zin = ______ 15. Using the procedure discussed in this chapter, measure the output impedance of the amplifier circuit. zout = ______ V. Points to Discuss 1. Why should the next smaller standard resistor be used for Rb in the transistor switch rather than the next larger standard value?

LAB 4.1

147

2. What would be the power delivered to the 150 load if the control voltage were reduced to 2 V?

3. With only 2 V of control voltage, would the transistor be operating in saturation? Explain.

4. Could the transistor switch circuit be redesigned to operate properly from a control of (a) 2 V and (b) 0.5 V? Explain.

5. Would you expect the values to change greatly if a second 2N3904 transistor were used to replace the one in the amplifier circuit? Explain.

6. Could the input and output impedances of this circuit be measured using an ohmmeter? Explain.

QUESTIONS

149

QUESTIONS
4.1
Introduction to Transistors
1. What are the three terminals of a bipolar transistor? a. emitter, base, collector b. T1, T2, T3 c. source, gate, drain d. emitter, gate, collector 2. The arrow on the transistor symbol always points to what type of material? a. P-type b. N-type c. Base-type d. PN-type 3. Bipolar transistors are classified as _________. a. PPN and PIN devices b. NPN and PNP c. NNP and PPN devices d. N-type and P-type 4. The schematic symbol of a bipolar PNP transistor is shown below as ______.

a.

b.

c.

d.

e.

4.2

Inside the Transistor


5. How many PN junctions are there in the bipolar transistor? a. 0 b. 1 c. 2 d. 3 e. 4 6. What type of material is the base section of a PNP transistor? a. P-type b. N-type c. Base-type d. PN-type 7. Compared to the collector and emitter, the base section of a transistor is _____. a. very thick b. very thin c. very soft d. very hard

150

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

8. In a transistor, the base current is ______ when compared to the collector and emitter currents. a. small b. large c. fast d. slow 9. A bipolar transistor is constructed so that its base region is very thin and _____. a. heavily doped b. doped the same as the collector c. lightly doped d. doped the same as the emitter 10. The collector current of a transistor is always __________. a. much lower than its emitter current b. lower than its base current c. equal to the emitter current d. equal to the emitter current minus base current 11. During normal operation of an NPN transistor, most electrons entering the emitter terminal ____________. a. leave the transistor through the collector terminal b. leave the transistor through the base terminal c. are absorbed by the transistor d. none of the above 12. Which equation expresses the correct relationship between the base, emitter, and collector currents? a. IE = IB + b. IC = IB + IE c. IE = IB + IC d. IB = IE + IC 13. The ratio of collector current to base current is called ______. a. rho b. pi c. omega d. beta e. alpha

4.3

Transistor Switches
14. When a transistor switch is in saturation, VCE is approximately equal to ______. a. Vcc b. VB c. 0.2 V d. 0.7 V 15. When a transistor switching circuit is on, the collector current is limited by __________. a. the base current

QUESTIONS

151

b. the load resistance c. the base voltage d. the base resistance 16. When a transistor switch is cut off, VCE is approximately equal to ______. a. Vcc b. VB c. 0.2 V d. 0.7 V

4.4

Transistor Characteristics and Data Sheets


17. The three important transistor characteristics are beta, maximum power dissipation, and _____. a. minimum rho b. maximum pi c. maximum collector current d. minimum hold current 18. The H-parameter hfe is equal to the _______ of the transistor. a. alpha b. beta c. maximum collector current d. minimum hold current

4.5

The Transistor Amplifier


19. When the transistor amplifier is biased properly for class-A operation, the _______. a. base/emitter junction is forward biased and the base/collector junction is reverse biased b. base/emitter junction is reverse biased and the base/collector junction is reverse biased c. base/emitter junction is forward biased and the base/collector junction is forward biased d. base/emitter junction is reverse biased and the base/collector junction is forward biased 20. For class-A amplifier operation, the collector/base junction of the transistor has to be ______. a. an open circuit b. a closed circuit c. forward biased d. reverse biased 21. The voltage gain of a transistor amplifier is equal to _______. a. VB/VE b. Vin/Vout

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Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

c. Vout/Vin d. Vcc/Vc 22. The bias voltage at the collector (Vc) of a class-A amplifier is approximately equal to ______. a. Vcc b. one-half of Vcc c. 0 V d. 0.2 V

4.6

Signal Analysis of the Base-Biased Amplifier


23. The input impedance of the amplifier covered in this chapter is ____. a. equal to 1 k b. inversely related to beta c. directly related to beta d. none of the above 24. The output impedance of the amplifier covered in this chapter is _______. a. Rc b. inversely related to beta c. directly related to beta d. 1 k 25. The phase difference between the input and output signals of the amplifier covered in this chapter is ______. a. 0 b. 90 c. 180 d. 270 26. The general formula for calculating voltage gain for the amplifiers covered in this chapter is ______. a. Av = Vcc/Vc b. Av = VB/VE c. Av = rc/re d. Av = RL

4.7

Measuring Input and Output Impedance


27. The input impedance of a transistor amplifier can be measured using a/an ________. a. ohmmeter b. impedance meter c. curve tracer d. potentiometer in series with the function generator 28. The output impedance of a transistor amplifier can be measured using a/an ________. a. ohmmeter b. impedance meter

QUESTIONS

153

c. curve tracer d. potentiometer in place of the load resistance

4.8

Transistor Output Characteristic Curves


29. A curve tracer can be used to display output characteristic curves, which is a graph of the _______. a. base current versus collector/emitter voltage b. collector current versus base/emitter voltage c. collector current versus collector/emitter voltage d. emitter current versus base/emitter voltage

4.9

Troubleshooting Transistors
30. When checking a good transistor with an ohmmeter, the bipolar transistor ___________. a. should exhibit a high ratio of forward-to-reverse resistance across both junctions b. should exhibit a high ratio of forward-to-reverse resistance across the collector/base junction c. should exhibit a high ratio of forward-to-reverse resistance across the emitter/base junction d. none of the above 31. When the positive probe of an ohmmeter is connected to the base and the negative probe is connected to the collector of an NPN transistor, what resistance will be measured? a. 0 b. low resistance c. 5 k d. high resistance 32. When the negative probe of an ohmmeter is connected to the base and the positive probe is connected to the emitter of an NPN transistor, what resistance will be measured? a. 0 b. low resistance c. 5 k d. high resistance 33. What resistance is read between the collector and the emitter of a good transistor? a. 0 b. low resistance c. 5 k d. high resistance 34. What is the voltage on the collector of the transistor in Figure 442(a)? a. 0.2 V b. 0.7 V c. 7.5 V d. 15 V

154

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

VCC = 15 V RL = 100 Rb = 1 k
Control Voltage =5V
= 50

VCC = 15 V

RL = 100 Rb = 1 k
Control Voltage =0V
= 50

(a)

(b)

FIGURE 442

35. What is the voltage on the collector of the transistor in Figure 442(b)? a. 0.2 V b. 0.7 V c. 7.5 V d. 15 V 36. What is the DC voltage on the collector of the transistor in Figure 443? a. 0.2 V b. 0.7 V c. 7.5 V d. 15 V

VCC = 15 V Rc 5 k C2
= 100

Rb C1
50 mVp-p

1 M

RL 5 k

FIGURE 443

37. What is the DC voltage on the base of the transistor in Figure 443? a. 0.2 V b. 0.7 V c. 7.5 V d. 15 V

PROBLEMS

155

38. What is the signal voltage on the collector of the transistor in Figure 443? a. 50 mVp-p b. 0.2 Vp-p c. 7.5 Vp-p d. 15 Vp-p 39. If the output capacitor opens (C2) in Figure 443, what would be the signal voltage on the collector of the transistor? a. 50 mVp-p b. 0.2 Vp-p c. 7.5 Vp-p d. 15 Vp-p

PROBLEMS
1. If = 80 in the circuit in Figure 444, what are the readings on meters IB, IE, IC, and VCE?
IC VCE R1 100 k V1 1.7 V IB V2 10 V R2 6 k

IE

FIGURE 444

2. If the base current is 30 A and the collector current is 4 mA, what is the value of the emitter current?

3. If the base current is 20 A and the collector current is 4 mA, what is the value of beta?

156

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

4. The transistor in Figure 445 is used as a switch. Find the voltage at the collector when the transistor is conducting.

VCC = 20 V
5 k 10 k Input Output

FIGURE 445

5. Find the collector voltage when the transistor in Figure 445 is turned off.

6. If the beta of the transistor in Figure 445 is 50, what minimum voltage is necessary at the input to saturate the transistor?

7. When the input to the circuit in Figure 445 is 5 V, what beta is required to saturate the transistor?

8. In the circuit in Figure 445, suppose the collector current is 4 mA, and the input current is 0.5 mA, if the input current is increased to 1 mA, what will the collector current equal?

PROBLEMS

157

9. If the on voltage at the input is known to be a minimum of 3.7 V, what is the maximum value of the input resistor that can be used to achieve saturation in Figure 445 (min = 50)?

10. Find the values requested below for the circuit in Figure 446 ( = 80). VC = ________ VB = ________
VCC = 20 V

775 k

3.3 k

FIGURE 446

11. What resistance value would Rb (775 k) in Figure 446 need to be changed to in order to cause the collector voltage to equal 10 V ( = 80)?

12. In the circuit of Figure 447, if Rc is 3.3 k and beta is 120, find the value for Rb, which will provide midpoint bias (Vc = 7.5 V).

VCC = 15 V

Rb C1

Rc

C2

RL

FIGURE 447

158

Chapter 4

The Bipolar Transistor

13. What will the collector voltage equal in the circuit in Figure 447 if Rb = 755 k, Rc = 3.3 k, and = 240?

14. In Figure 447, if Rb is 600 k and beta is 200, what value of Rc would be appropriate for midpoint bias (Vc = 7.5 V)?

15. In Figure 447, if Rb is found to be 800 k and Rc is found to be 4.7 k, what beta is required to provide midpoint bias (Vc = 7.5 V)?

16. What is the value of r'e, zin, and zout for the circuit in Figure 448? r'e = ________ zin = ________

zout = _______

17. What is the voltage gain for the circuit in Figure 448? Av = ______

VCC = 15 V Rc 5 k

Rb 1.43 M C1

C2 RL 10 k

= 150

FIGURE 448

PROBLEMS

159

18. If capacitor C2 is open, what would be the voltage gain for the circuit in Figure 448? Av = ______

19. For the circuit in Figure 449, find: Vc = ______ VB = _____ zin = ____ zout = ____

VE = _____ Vout = _______

VCE = ______ Av = _______

VCC = 15 V

Rb 1.2 M C1
20 mV 1 kHz

Rc 6 k C2
= 120

RL 12 k

FIGURE 449

20. For the circuit in Figure 450, find: Vc = ______ VB = _____ zin = ____ zout = ____

VE = _____ Vout = _______

VCE = ______ Av = _______

VCC = 12 V

Rb 720 k C1
40 mV 1 kHz

Rc 4 k

C2 RL 6 k

= 80

FIGURE 450