Transistor Basics is a free introductory textbook on transistors and their basic applications. See the editorial for more information....

Limitations, Supply Voltage and Load

Author: Leonard Krugman

As in the case of the vacuum tube, the problem of designing a transistor amplifier is somewhat simplified if the a-c signal is treated independently of the d-c operating point. The first step in the design could logically be the selection of the d-c operating point. (Actually, three separate conditions must be fixed; the operating point, the load line, and the supply voltage. In general, the selection of any two automatically limits the determination of the third.) The d-c operating point may be placed anywhere in the transistor characteristics, limited however by the collector maximums of voltage, current, and power dissipation. The final selection of the operating point is based primarily on the magnitude of the signals to be handled.


Fig. 5-1. Selecting the d-c operating point.

Suppose, for example, a transistor, whose characteristics are illustrated in Fig. 5-1, is to be used with its operating point set at Ec = 10 volts, Ic - 6 ma. Assume, also, that the maximum limits of the transistor are Ic = 18 ma, Ec = 30 volts, and collector dissipation = 100 milliwatts, as shown enclosed by the dotted lines. The supply voltage required is the value at the intersection of the load line and the collector voltage axis. Thus, for a fixed load of 1,670 ohms, the necessary supply voltage is 20 volts. If, however, the supply voltage is fixed, then the load resistance is determined by the line joining both the supply voltage (Ec at Ic = 0) and the operating point. As an illustration, assume the supply voltage istransistor_basics_05-3.gif to be Ebb fixed at 30 volts. The resulting load resistance

For any selected operating point there are many combinations of load resistance and supply voltage that will permit the load line to pass through the d-c operating point.

The usual problem is one in which both the load and supply voltages are fixed. The problem then resolves itself into a choice of the operating point. In Fig. 5-1, for the conditions RL.= 1,670 ohms, and Ebb = 20 volts, the d-c operating point may be placed anywhere along the load line. It is usually desirable to design the amplifier for maximum signal handling capacity. In this case, then, the d-c operating point should be midway between the extreme limits of the base current, namely 0 and 800 microamperes. The choice of Ib = 400 microamperes sets the operating point for maximum signal capacity at Ic = 6ma, and Ec = 10 volts.

Last Update: 2010-11-17