Connect with us

BJT Amplifier Output Votlage Swing

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by panfilero, Oct 2, 2012.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. panfilero

    panfilero Guest

    I'm having a hard time understanding the "negative swing" of a common-emitter amplifier. There is a website called where a BJT amplifier is described.

    The set up is a BJT with a collector resistor, an emitter resistor, 2.5V and -2.5V supplies, and we're taking the output off the collector. The BJT has a Vce,sat = 0.2V According to the website

    maximum Vout = Vdd
    positive swing = VRc
    minimum Vout = -2.3V + VRc
    negative swing = Vce - 0.2V

    I understand the first three things, but the last one, negative voltage swing has me confused... why is the negative voltage swing defined as Vce - Vce,sat?

    here's a link to the source

    much thanks!
  2. Guest

    What they're trying to say is that the negative swing is |VCC- - VCEsat|, or
    the magnitude of the negative swing is the negative supply minus the
    saturation voltage.
  3. panfilero

    panfilero Guest

    so you think it's just a typo? That he really meant Vcc - Vce,sat and not Vce - Vce,sat?
  4. Guest

  5. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    Shahriar must work for Rigol!

    I think Dan pretty much nails it. But let me say it
    differently. He's talking about the quiescent value for Vce.
    He set Iq=2mA (quiescent current) in his design. This just
    means the center operating point which, based on his
    assumptions (Ie=Ic), also flows through Re and Rc. He
    selected 1.6V as the drop for each and therefore the values
    as 800 ohms each, too. This leaves 1.8V for the quiescent
    Vce. (Vce will experience BIG changes in operation, but this
    is the Vce value that happens when the signal is not
    connected and the circuit is just sitting at its DC operating
    point. That 1.8V is the Vce he is talking about.

    The reason he subtracts 0.2V (for the saturation voltage) is
    that Vce can't really get smaller than that without serious
    distortion. (Actually, it's better to leave more like 0.8V
    (so that the base-collector junction stays reverse biased,
    but his power supply rails were VERY small and he simply
    couldn't afford to waste it. Besides, it doesn't matter. He
    only wants 1V swing peak to peak, anyway. So if he has 1.6V
    on Re and 1.8V on Vce, then 0.5V downward would mean 1.3V on
    Vce, which is WAY above the 0.8V I'm saying would be better.
    So he never really drove that thing anywhere NEAR Vce=0.2V.
    He was just using that figure for an absolute worst case
    (that you would never really use in reality.)

  6. panfilero

    panfilero Guest

    Thanks felas, between yalls two explanations i have a much better idea what he was up to. much apprecaited.
  7. Say can I ask what is perhaps a silly question?
    (I won't wait for permission :^)
    Now, I don't do much design with transistors, (since opamps are so
    much easier), but I thought that you should choose the collector
    voltage to be ~1/2 the supply voltage for maximum swing of the
    output. This comes from AoE... which IIRC also states that the
    maximum gain from a common E amp is 1/2 the supply voltage divided by
    the thermal voltage (25mV). (I know this ignores the CE saturation
    So it seems that Shahriar could have choosen his operating point a bit
    better and gotten closer to his gain of 100 in one stage. Say if you
    want, even more gain can you run the collector even lower and give up
    the maximum voltage swing?

    George H.
  8. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    and noisier unless you pay dearly
    That's another "rule of thumb," but it is not gospel. I've
    gradually (that means I'm mentally slow) learned that there
    are lots of considerations. Anyway, if you "work the
    equations fully" and take into account all the important
    things too then you will find that the 1/2 supply rule isn't
    reality, either. It's decent, that's all. Centering the
    maximum non-saturated collector swing involves more things
    than that, though. And it's not always the goal, besides.

    Since you bring of AofE, take a look at the student manual
    for it. They actually walk you though a CE design starting on
    page 115. You will see some competing considerations there
    and no discussion at all about setting Iq. Which may also be
    important. No rule of thumb is gospel. They just help a
    little, is all. And it works a lot better when you have a
    large magnitude supply rail pair than when you don't. This
    guy was working with 5V.

    Some, but not all, considerations: The DC operating point
    should, for temperature stability, have the emitter resistor
    with as much voltage drop as you can afford to have. This is
    because of kT/q in the BJT emitter (it's the cause of little
    re which depends on Ie and thereby also on Iq). That voltage
    (around 26mV at room temp) is HIGHLY temperature dependent.
    So dwarfing it with a drop across Re helps make it
    irrelevant. AofE's student manual recommends at least 1V
    there to make the T-dependent 26mV not so important. The
    author of that video didn't say any of this, but the 1.6V he
    assigned is not only reasonable it's also a good idea for
    temperature stability. This, of course, "steals away" some of
    the range then available between Rc and Vce. Also, you should
    allow for a continuously reverse biased BC junction, if
    possible, as well. So that sets up a minimum Vce of 0.8V-1.0V
    that you should NOT put into your calculations of the "center
    point" for the collector. Again this steals away some of what
    you plug into your calculations. If you have a 15V power
    supply or more you won't care. Just center Vc and be done
    with it. But if you are stuck designing something for a pair
    of 1.5V batteries, then you start thinking more about the
    details and struggling just a little differently when
    balancing your priorities. There is no bright line rule
    anywhere. Your brain cannot ever be fully disengaged and
    there is always more to learn, too, I think. No matter what
    you think you know, there is something else out there that
    you haven't yet experienced and your "rules" will then get
    you in trouble if your brain isn't turned fully on.

    So assume I have 5V and use AofE's rule of 1V for Re. And
    then apply my own 1V for Vce-min. This leaves 3V total (5V
    minus 2V) for collector "swing." So I take the 1V for Re, add
    1V for Vce-min, then add 1.5V for half of the 3V swing and
    wind up with 3.5V for quiescent Vc, right? That's not 2.5V.
    It's 3.5V. But it maximizes the swing under my rules of not
    allowing BC to forward bias and allowing AofE's rule for
    temperature stability.

    I don't use the 1/2 V-supply rule unless I'm teaching someone
    who knows nothing about BJTs and wants to just get started.
    Yes, he doesn't say it but he makes that point indirectly
    when he talks about the max gain of A=-64 depending upon
    40*Iq*Rc, or 40 times the quiescent voltage drop of Rc.

    But as I've said above, you have other considerations as well
    that compete with just throwing more voltage drop at Rc.

  9. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    Damn, forgot to mention: I'm just an ignorant hobbyist and
    not a professional. I've had ZERO formal electronics training
    -- and I mean ZERO when I say it. I'm "book-learned" with
    very very modest experience behind it. Nothing I've said
    should be taken over what a trained professional says about
    any of this.

  10. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    By the way, take note that Shahriar designed in 1.6+1.8 or
    3.4V for the quiescent collector voltage. Compare that with
    my "3.5V" above. Note the similarity? Yet due to different
    explanations. Mine considerations point out the "whys" of
    getting there, so that you can do your own thinking in
    different cases and objectives. His do not. That's the only
    complaint I'd have the video. But he was keeping this very
    simple (and I think he'd already considered other things
    before coming up with his "1/3rd for each" rule for talking

  11. Big Grin! Thanks Jon. You're much better at discrete design than I
    (Which isn't saying much.)
    After spouting off I was reading a bit in AoE.
    (I use to have the lab manual, but it went to a new home
    a few years ago, hopefully guiding the next generation.)

    I totally agree about not wanting to have the gain based on the (25mV)
    thermal voltage. But to do that you can't bypass the entire emitter
    resistor. (Maybe that is the next lesson?) I do like having big
    supply voltages, then wasting a volt here or there doesn't cost you

    George H.
  12. Jon Kirwan

    Jon Kirwan Guest

    The capacitor (soon) acquires a voltage equal to the DC
    operating point across Re. All it does is short out the AC
    part. But the DC operating point (and therefore Iq) at the
    tip of the emitter holds solid. (Shahriar, shortly after
    about 6 minutes into the video, shows you the Ie equation he
    easily derived, but without showing you how.)

    The point of Re is to maintain the biasing point so that the
    expected useful collector peak to peak remains valid. And it
    does. The capacitor doesn't impact that, since it is almost
    entirely determined at DC (the AC does wiggle things very
    slightly.) So the biasing point, and Iq, remain stable over

    Temperature impacts kT/q, which impacts A due to the fact
    that the value of "40" in the AC gain of 40*Iq*Rc is just
    q/kT and is inversely dependent on T. But exact gain usually
    isn't the goal in a single BJY stage -- just a rough design
    guide for validating assumptions (The room allowed for
    collector swing, for example.) If exact gain overall is
    needed there are other places to add adjustments (and a LOT
    more work on considering sources of time and temp drifts and
    their impacts -- or else you stick the circuit into a more
    temp stable place like the body cavity of a living human.)

    You can improve on the temperature dependence of AC gain,
    while keeping Re's DC operating point, by inserting another
    resistor (Rx) in series with the emitter bypass capacitor.
    Then the gain stops being 40*Iq*Rc and looks a lot more like

    And you can then improve the "stiffness" of the base (greatly
    reduce its loading on the prior stage or sensor source) by
    using a small, simple bootstrap capacitor from the emitter
    itself backwards to the bias pair node (needs another
    resistor from the bias pair node to the base, too.)

Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day