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Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS)
Module 7—Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies
Chapter 4:  Pages 4-41 through 4-50

forward bias of Q1 changes to 0.6 volt. Because this bias voltage is less than the normal 0.7 volt, the resistance of Q1 increases, thereby increasing the voltage drop across the transistor to 5.8 volts. This voltage drop restores the output voltage to 14.3 volts. The entire cycle takes only a fraction of a second and, therefore, the change is not visible on an oscilloscope or readily measurable with other standard test equipment.

Series voltage regulator. INCREASE IN OUTPUT - RF Cafe

Figure 4-36A.—Series voltage regulator. INCREASE IN OUTPUT

View B is a schematic diagram for the same series voltage regulator with one significant difference. The output voltage is shown as 14.2 volts instead of the desired 14.3 volts. In this case, the load has increased causing a lowered voltage drop across R L to 14.2 volts. When the output decreases, the forward bias of Q1 increases to 0.8 volt because Zener diode CR1 maintains the base voltage of Q1 at 15 volts. This 0.8 volt is the difference between the Zener reference voltage of 15 volts and the momentary output voltage. (15 V - 14.2 V = 0.8 V). At this point, the larger forward bias on Q1 causes the resistance of Q1 to decrease, thereby causing the voltage drop across Q1 to return to 5.7 volts. This then causes the output voltage to return to 14.3 volts.

Series voltage regulator. DECREASE IN OUTPUT - RF Cafe

Figure 4-36B.—Series voltage regulator. DECREASE IN OUTPUT


The schematic shown in figure 4-37 is that of a shunt voltage regulator. Notice that Q1 is in parallel with the load. Components of this circuit are identical with those of the series voltage regulator except for the addition of fixed resistor RS. As you study the schematic, you will see that this resistor is connected in series with the output load resistance. The current limiting resistor (R1) and Zener diode (CR1) provide a constant reference voltage for the base-collector junction of Q1. Notice that the bias of Q1 is determined by the voltage drop across RS  and R1. As you should know, the amount of forward bias across a transistor affects its total resistance. In this case, the voltage drop across RS  is the key to the total circuit operation.

Shunt voltage regulator - RF Cafe

Figure 4-37.—Shunt voltage regulator.

Figure 4-38 is the schematic for a typical shunt-type regulator. Notice that the schematic is identical to the schematic shown in figure 4-37 except that voltages are shown to help you understand the functions of the various components. In the circuit shown, the voltage drop across the Zener diode (CR1) remains constant at 5.6 volts. This means that with a 20-volt input voltage, the voltage drop across R1 is 14.4 volts. With a base-emitter voltage of 0.7 volt, the output voltage is equal to the sum of the voltages across CR1 and the voltage at the base-emitter junction of Q1. In this example, with an output voltage of 6.3 volts and a 20-volt input voltage, the voltage drop across RS  equals 13.7 volts. Study the schematic to understand fully how these voltages are developed. Pay close attention to the voltages shown.

Shunt voltage regulator (with voltages) - RF Cafe

Figure 4-38.—Shunt voltage regulator (with voltages).


Now, refer to view A of figure 4-39. This figure shows the schematic diagram of the same shunt voltage regulator as that shown in figure 4-38 with an increased input voltage of 20.1 volts. This increases the forward bias on Q1 to 0.8 volt. Recall that the voltage drop across CR1 remains constant at 5.6 volts. Since the output voltage is composed of the Zener voltage and the base-emitter voltage, the output voltage momentarily increases to 6.4 volts. At this time, the increase in the forward bias of Q1 lowers the resistance of the transistor allowing more current to flow through it. Since this current must also pass through RS, there is also an increase in the voltage drop across this resistor. The voltage drop across RS  is now 13.8 volts and therefore the output voltage is reduced to 6.3 volts. Remember, this change takes place in a fraction of a second.

Shunt voltage regulator. INCREASE IN OUTPUT VOLTAGE - RF Cafe

Figure 4-39A.—Shunt voltage regulator. INCREASE IN OUTPUT VOLTAGE

Study the schematic shown in view B. Although this schematic is identical to the other shunt voltage schematics previously illustrated and discussed, the output voltage is different. The load current has increased causing a momentary drop in voltage output to 6.2 volts. Recall that the circuit was designed to ensure a constant output voltage of 6.3 volts. Since the output voltage is less than that required, changes occur in the regulator to restore the output to 6.3 volts. Because of the 0.1 volt drop in the output voltage, the forward bias of Q1 is now 0.6 volt. This decrease in the forward bias increases the resistance of the transistor, thereby reducing the current flow through Q1 by the same amount that the load current increased. The current flow through RS returns to its normal value and restores the output voltage to 6.3 volts.

Shunt voltage regulator. DECREASE IN OUTPUT VOLTAGE - RF Cafe

Figure 4-39B.—Shunt voltage regulator. DECREASE IN OUTPUT VOLTAGE


Q33.    In figure 4-37, the voltage drop across RS  and R1 determines the amount of base-emitter for Q1.
Q34.    In figure 4-39, view A, when there is an increase in the input voltage, the forward bias of Q1 increases/decreases (which one).
Q35.    In view B of figure 4-39, when the load current increases and the output voltage momentarily drops, the resistance of Q1 increase/decreases (which one) to compensate.
Current Regulators
You should now know how voltage regulators work to provide constant output voltages. In some circuits it may be necessary to regulate the current output. The circuitry which provides a constant current output is called a constant current regulator or just CURRENT REGULATOR. The schematic shown in figure 4-40 is a simplified schematic for a current regulator. The variable resistor shown on the schematic is used to illustrate the concept of current regulation. You should know from your study of voltage regulators that a variable resistor does not respond quickly enough to compensate for the changes. Notice that an ammeter has been included in this circuit to indicate that the circuit shown is that of a current regulator. When the circuit functions properly, the current reading of the ammeter remains constant. In this case the variable resistor (RV) compensates for changes in the load or dc input voltage. Adequate current regulation results in the loss of voltage regulation. Studying the schematic shown, you should recall that any increase in load resistance causes a drop in current. To maintain a constant current flow, the resistance of RV must be reduced whenever the load resistance increases. This causes the total resistance to remain constant. An increase in the input voltage must be compensated for by an increase in the resistance of RV, thereby maintaining a constant current flow. The operation of a current regulator is similar to that of a voltage regulator. The basic difference is that one regulates current and the other regulates voltage.



Current regulator (simplified) - RF Cafe

Figure 4-40.—Current regulator (simplified).

Since use of a variable resistor is not a practical way to control current fluctuation or variation, a transistor and a Zener diode, together with necessary resistors, are used. Recall that the Zener diode provides a constant reference voltage. The schematic shown in figure 4-41 is that of a current regulator circuit. Except for the addition of R1, the circuit shown in the figure is similar to that of a series voltage regulator. The resistor is connected in series with the load and senses any current changes in the load. Notice the voltage drop across R1 and the negative voltage polarity applied to the emitter of Q1. The


voltage polarity is a result of current flowing through R1, and this negative voltage opposes the forward bias for Q1. However, since the regulated voltage across CR1 has an opposite polarity, the actual bias of the transistor is the difference between the two voltages. You should see that the purpose of R2 is to function as a current-limiting resistor for the Zener diode.

Current regulator - RF Cafe

Figure 4-41.—Current regulator.

The purpose of a current regulator is to provide a constant current regardless of changes in the input voltage or load current. The schematic shown in figure 4-42 is that of a circuit designed to provide a constant current of 400 milliamperes. Voltmeters are shown in the schematic to emphasize the voltage drops across specific components. These voltages will help you understand how the current regulator operates. The voltage drop across the base-emitter junction of Q1 is 0.6 volt. This voltage is the difference between the Zener voltage and the voltage drop across R1. The 0.6-volt forward bias of Q1 permits proper operation of the transistor. The output voltage across RL is 6 volts as shown by the voltmeter. With a regulated current output of 400 milliamperes, the transistor resistance (RQ1) is 9 ohms. This can be proved by using Ohm's law and the values shown on the schematic. In this case, current (I) is equal to the voltage drop (E) divided by the resistance (R). Therefore: 12 volts divided by 30 ohms equals 0.4 ampere, or 400 milliamperes.

Current regulator (with circuit values) - RF Cafe

Figure 4-42.—Current regulator (with circuit values).


Since you are familiar with the basic current regulating circuitry, let's examine in detail how the various components work to maintain the constant 400-milliampere output. Refer to the schematic shown in figure 4-43. Remember a decrease in load resistance causes a corresponding increase in current flow. In the example shown, the load resistance RL has dropped from 15 ohms to 10 ohms. This results in a larger voltage drop across R1 because of the increased current flow. The voltage drop has increased from 2.4 volts to 2.5 volts. Of course, the voltage drop across CR1 remains constant at 9 volts due to its regulating ability. Because of the increased voltage drop across R1, the forward bias on Q1 is now 0.5 volt. Since the forward bias of Q1 has decreased, the resistance of the transistor increases from 9 ohms to 14 ohms. Notice that the 5 ohm increase in resistance across the transistor corresponds to the 5 ohm decrease in the load resistance. Thus, the total resistance around the outside loop of the circuit remains constant. Since the circuit is a current regulator, you know that output voltages will vary as the regulator maintains a constant current output. In the figure, the voltage output is reduced to 4 volts, which is computed by multiplying current (I) times resistance (R) (400 mA x 10 ohms = 4 volts).

Current regulator (with a decrease in RL) - RF Cafe

Figure 4-43.—Current regulator (with a decrease in RL).

Q36.    In figure 4-40, when there is an increase in the load resistance (RL), the resistance of RV increases/decreases (which one) to compensate for the change.
Q37.    In figure 4-43 any decrease in the base-emitter forward bias across Q1 results in an increase/a decrease (which one) in the resistance of the transistor.
You may already know how a transformer functions to increase or decrease voltages. You may also have learned that a transformer secondary may provide one or several ac voltage outputs which may be greater or less than the input voltage. When voltages are stepped up, current is decreased; when voltages are stepped down, current is increased.
Another method for increasing voltages is known as voltage multiplication. VOLTAGE MULTIPLIERS are used primarily to develop high voltages where low current is required. The most common application of the high voltage outputs of voltage multipliers is the anode of cathode-ray tubes (CRT), which are used for radar scope presentations, oscilloscope presentations, or TV picture tubes. The dc output of the voltage multiplier ranges from 1000 volts to 30,000 volts. The actual voltage depends upon the size of the CRT and its equipment application.


Voltage multipliers may also be used as primary power supplies where a 177 volt-ac input is rectified to pulsating dc. This dc output voltage may be increased (through use of a voltage multiplier) to as much as 1000 volts dc. This voltage is generally used as the plate or screen grid voltage for electron tubes.
If you have studied transformers, you may have learned that when voltage is stepped up, the output current decreases. This is also true of voltage multipliers. Although the measured output voltage of a voltage multiplier may be several times greater than the input voltage, once a load is connected the value of the output voltage decreases. Also any small fluctuation of load impedance causes a large fluctuation in the output voltage of the multiplier. For this reason, voltage multipliers are used only in special applications where the load is constant and has a high impedance or where input voltage stability is not critical.
Voltage multipliers may be classified as voltage doublers, triplers, or quadruplers. The classification depends on the ratio of the output voltage to the input voltage. For example, a voltage multiplier that increases the peak input voltage twice is called a voltage doubler. Voltage multipliers increase voltages through the use of series-aiding voltage sources. This can be compared to the connection of dry cells (batteries) in series.
The figures used in the explanation of voltage multipliers show a transformer input, even though for some applications a transformer is not necessary. The input could be directly from the power source or line voltage. This, of course, does not isolate the equipment from the line and creates a potentially hazardous condition. Most military equipments use transformers to minimize this hazard.
Figure 4-44 shows the schematic for a half-wave voltage doubler. Notice the similarities between this schematic and those of half-wave voltage rectifiers. In fact, the doubler shown is made up of two half-wave voltage rectifiers. C1 and CR1 make up one half-wave rectifier, and C2 and CR2 make up the
other. The schematic of the first half-wave rectifier is indicated by the dark lines in view A of figure 4-45. The dotted lines and associated components represent the other half-wave rectifier and load resistor.

Half-wave voltage doubler - RF Cafe

Figure 4-44.—Half-wave voltage doubler.


Rectifier action of CR1 and CR2. POSITIVE ALTERNATION - RF Cafe

Figure 4-45A.—Rectifier action of CR1 and CR2. POSITIVE ALTERNATION

Notice that C1 and CR1 work exactly like a half-wave rectifier. During the positive alternation of the input cycle (view A), the polarity across the secondary winding of the transformer is as shown. Note that the top of the secondary is negative. At this time CR1 is forward biased (cathode negative in respect to the anode). This forward bias causes CR1 to function like a closed switch and allows current to follow the path indicated by the arrows. At this time, C1 charges to the peak value of the input voltage, or 200 volts, with the polarity shown.
During the period when the input cycle is negative, as shown in view B, the polarity across the secondary of the transformer is reversed. Note specifically that the top of the secondary winding is now positive. This condition now forward biases CR2 and reverse biases CR1. A series circuit now exists consisting of C1, CR2, C2, and the secondary of the transformer. The current flow is indicated by the arrows. The secondary voltage of the transformer now aids the voltage on C1. This results in a pulsating dc voltage of 400 volts, as shown by the waveform. The effect of series aiding is comparable to the connection of two 200-volt batteries in series. As shown in figure 4-46, C2 charges to the sum of these voltages, or 400 volts.

Rectifier action of CR1 and CR2. NEGATIVE ALTERNATION - RF Cafe

Figure 4-45B.—Rectifier action of CR1 and CR2. NEGATIVE ALTERNATION


Series-aiding sources - RF Cafe

Figure 4-46.—Series-aiding sources.

The schematic shown in figure 4-47 is an illustration of a half-wave voltage tripler. When you compare figures 4-46 and 4-47, you should see that the circuitry is identical except for the additional parts, components, and circuitry shown by the dotted lines. (CR3, C3, and R2 make up the additional circuitry.) By themselves, CR3, C3, and R2 make up a half-wave rectifier. Of course, if you remove the added circuitry, you will once again have a half-wave voltage doubler.

Half-wave voltage tripler - RF Cafe

Figure 4-47.—Half-wave voltage tripler.

View A of figure 4-48 shows the schematic for the voltage tripler. Notice that CR3 is forward biased and functions like a closed switch. This allows C3 to charge to a peak voltage of 200 volts at the same time C1 is also charging to 200 volts.


Voltage tripler. POSITIVE ALTERNATION - RF Cafe

Figure 4-48A.—Voltage tripler. POSITIVE ALTERNATION

The other half of the input cycle is shown in view B. C2 is charged to twice the input voltage, or 400 volts, as a result of the voltage-doubling action of the transformer and C1. At this time, C2 and C3 are used as series-aiding devices, and the output voltage increases to the sum of their respective voltages, or 600 volts. R1 and R2 are proportional according to the voltages across C2 and C3. In this case, there is a 2 to 1 ratio.

Voltage tripler. NEGATIVE ALTERNATION - RF Cafe

Figure 4-48B.—Voltage tripler. NEGATIVE ALTERNATION

The circuit shown in figure 4-49 is that of a full-wave voltage doubler. The main advantage of a full-wave doubler over a half-wave doubler is better voltage regulation, as a result of reduction in the output ripple amplitude and an increase in the ripple frequency. The circuit is, in fact, two half-wave rectifiers. These rectifiers function as series-aiding devices except in a slightly different way. During the alternation when the secondary of the transformer is positive at the top, C1 charges to 200 volts through CR1. Then, when the transformer secondary is negative at the top, C2 charges to 200 volts through CR2. R1 and R2 are equal value, balancing resistors that stabilize the charges of the two capacitors. Resistive load RL is connected across C1 and C2 so that R L receives the total charge of both capacitors. The output voltage is +400 volts when measured at the top of R L, or point "A" with respect to point "B." If the output is measured at the bottom of RL, it is -400 volts. Either way, the output is twice the peak value of the ac secondary voltage. As you can imagine, the possibilities for voltage multiplication are extensive.


Introduction to Matter, Energy, and Direct Current, Introduction to Alternating Current and Transformers, Introduction to Circuit Protection, Control, and Measurement, Introduction to Electrical Conductors, Wiring Techniques, and Schematic Reading, Introduction to Generators and Motors, Introduction to Electronic Emission, Tubes, and Power Supplies, Introduction to Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies, Introduction to Amplifiers, Introduction to Wave-Generation and Wave-Shaping Circuits, Introduction to Wave Propagation, Transmission Lines, and Antennas, Microwave Principles, Modulation Principles, Introduction to Number Systems and Logic Circuits, Introduction to Microelectronics, Principles of Synchros, Servos, and Gyros, Introduction to Test Equipment, Radio-Frequency Communications Principles, Radar Principles, The Technician's Handbook, Master Glossary, Test Methods and Practices, Introduction to Digital Computers, Magnetic Recording, Introduction to Fiber Optics

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