Author: Leonard Krugman
Limiter circuits can be designed using transistors and germanium diodes. These circuits operate much like vacuum-tube limiters. In the grounded base connection, the input circuit acts like a diode when the emitter electrode is biased slightly in the forward direction. When the value of the input signal exceeds that of the emitter bias, the signal is rectified by the diode action of the input circuit. The resulting self-bias tends to keep the maximum emitter current constant. Since the collector current is proportional to the emitter current, the output signal is maintained at a constant level over a large range of input signal values. The input rectification action is considerably improved when the circuit is shunted by a junction diode. The diode performs two important jobs. It clips large positive input pulses, and prevents the coupling capacitor from charging on extraneous noise pulses. For optimum operation, the output resistance is matched to the load, and the generator impedance is kept as low as possible.