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Module 8 - Introduction to Amplifiers
Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS)
Chapter 3:  Pages 3-51 through 3-60

Module 8 - Introduction to Amplifiers

Pages i, 1-1, 1-11, 1-21, 1-31, 2-1, 2-11, 2-21, 2-31, 3-1, 3-11, 3-21, 3-31, 3-41, 3-51, 3-61, AI-1, Index

NEETS Modules
- Matter, Energy, and Direct Current
- Alternating Current and Transformers
- Circuit Protection, Control, and Measurement
- Electrical Conductors, Wiring Techniques, and Schematic Reading
- Generators and Motors
- Electronic Emission, Tubes, and Power Supplies
- Solid-State Devices and Power Supplies
- Amplifiers
- Wave-Generation and Wave-Shaping Circuits
- 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
Note: Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series (NEETS) content is U.S. Navy property in the public domain.

Three-legged, saturable-core reactor. SECOND Half Cycle

Figure 3-36B. - Three-legged, saturable-core reactor. SECOND Half Cycle

Another approach to solving the problem of load flux affecting control flux is shown in figure 3-37. Figure 3-37 shows a toroidal saturable-core reactor. The shape of these cores is a toroid (donut shape). The windings are wound around the cores so that the load flux aids the control flux in one core and opposes the control flux in the other core.

During the first half cycle, the flux aids in the left core and opposes in the right core, as shown in figure 3-37, view (A). During the second half cycle, the flux opposes in the left core and aids in the right core, as shown in view (B). Regardless of the amount of load flux or polarity of the load voltage, there is no net effect of load flux on control flux.

Toroidal saturable-core reactor. First Half Cycle

Figure 3-37A. - Toroidal saturable-core reactor. First Half Cycle


Toroidal saturable-core reactor. SECOND Half Cycle

Figure 3-37B. - Toroidal saturable-core reactor. SECOND Half Cycle

 Figures 3-36 and 3-37 both represent practical, workable saturable-core reactors. Circuits similar to these are actually used to control lighting in auditoriums or electric industrial furnaces. These circuits are sometimes referred to as magnetic amplifiers, but that is NOT technically correct. a magnetic amplifier differs from a saturable-core reactor in one important aspect: a magnetic amplifier has a rectifier in addition to a saturable-core reactor.

Q-42.   If the permeability of the core of a coil increases, what happens to (a) inductance and (b) true power in the circuit?

Q-43.   What happens to the permeability of an iron core as the current increases from the operating point to a large value?

Q-44.   If two coils are wound on a single iron core, what will a change in current in one coil cause in the other coil?

Q-45.   What symbol in figure 3-33 indicates a saturable core connecting two windings?

SIMPLIFIED Magnetic Amplifier CircuitRY

If the saturable-core reactor works, why do we need to add a rectifier to produce a magnetic amplifier? To answer this question, recall that in NEETS, Module 2 - Introduction to Alternating Current and Transformers, you were told about hysteresis loss. Hysteresis loss occurs because the a.c. applied to a coil causes the tiny molecular magnets (or electron-spin directions) to realign as the polarity of the a.c. changes. This realignment uses up power. The power that is used for realignment is a loss as far as the

rest of the circuit is concerned. Because of this hysteresis loss in the saturable-core reactor, the power gain is relatively low. a rectifier added to the load circuit will eliminate the hysteresis loss and increase the gain. This is because the rectifier allows current to flow in only one direction through the load coils.

A simple half-wave magnetic amplifier is shown in figure 3-38. This is a half-wave magnetic amplifier because it uses a half-wave rectifier. During the first half cycle of the load voltage, the diode conducts and the load windings develop load flux as shown in view (A) by the dashed-line arrows. The


load flux from the two load coils cancels and has no effect on the control flux. During the second half cycle, the diode does not conduct and the load coils develop no flux, as shown in view (B). The load flux never has to reverse direction as it did in the saturable-core reactor, so the hysteresis loss is eliminated.

Simple half-wave magnetic amplifier. First Half Cycle

Figure 3-38A. - Simple half-wave magnetic amplifier. First Half Cycle

Simple half-wave magnetic amplifier. SECOND Half Cycle

Figure 3-38B. - Simple half-wave magnetic amplifier. SECOND Half Cycle

The circuit shown in figure 3-38 is only able to use half of the load voltage (and therefore half the possible load power) since the diode blocks current during half the load-voltage cycle. a full-wave rectifier used in place of CR1 would allow current flow during the entire cycle of load voltage while still preventing hysteresis loss.

Figure 3-39 shows a simple full-wave magnetic amplifier. The bridge circuit of CR1, CR2, CR3, CR4 allows current to flow in the load circuit during the entire load voltage cycle, but the load current is always in the same direction. This current flow in one direction prevents hysteresis loss.


View (A) shows that during the first half cycle of load voltage, current flows through CR1, the load coils, and CR3. View (B) shows that during the second half cycle, load current flows through CR2, the load coils, and CR4.

Simple full-wave magnetic amplifier. First Half Cycle

Figure 3-39A. - Simple full-wave magnetic amplifier. First Half Cycle

Simple full-wave magnetic amplifier. SECOND Half Cycle

Figure 3-39B. - Simple full-wave magnetic amplifier. SECOND Half Cycle

Up to this point, the control circuit of the magnetic amplifier has been shown with d.c. applied to it. Magnetic-amplifier control circuits should accept a.c. input signals as well as d.c. input signals. As shown


earlier in figure 3-34, a saturable-core reactor has an ideal operating point. Some d.c. must always be applied to bring the saturable core to that operating point. This d.c. is called BIAS. the most effective way to apply bias to the saturable core and also allow a.c. input signals to control the magnetic amplifier is to use a bias winding. a full-wave magnetic amplifier with a bias winding is shown in figure 3-40.

Full-wave magnetic amplifier with bias winding

Figure 3-40. - Full-wave magnetic amplifier with bias winding.

 In the circuit shown in figure 3-40, the bias circuit is adjusted to set the saturable-core reactor at the ideal operating point. Input signals, represented by the a.c. source symbol, are applied to the control input. The true power of the load circuit is controlled by the control input signal (a.c.)

The block diagram symbol for a magnetic amplifier is shown in figure 3-41. The triangle is the general symbol for an amplifier. The saturable-core reactor symbol in the center of the triangle identifies the amplifier as a magnetic amplifier. Notice the input and output signals shown. The input signal is a small-amplitude, low-power a.c. signal. The output signal is a pulsating d.c. with an amplitude that varies. This variation is controlled by the input signal and represents a power gain of 1000.


Magnetic amplifier input and output signals

Figure 3-41. - Magnetic amplifier input and output signals.

Some magnetic amplifiers are designed so a.c. goes through the load rather than pulsating d.c. This is done by placing the load in a different circuit position with respect to the rectifier. The principle of the magnetic amplifier remains the same: Control current still controls load current.

Magnetic amplifiers provide a way of accurately controlling large amounts of power. They are used in servosystems (which are covered later in this training series), temperature or pressure indicators, and power supplies.

This chapter has presented only the basic operating theory of saturable-core reactors and magnetic amplifiers. For your convenience, simple schematic diagrams have been used to illustrate this material. When magnetic amplifiers and saturable-core reactors are used in actual equipment, the schematics may be more complex than those you have seen here. Also, you may find coils used in addition to those presented in this chapter. The technical manual for the equipment in question should contain the information you need to supplement what you have read in this chapter.

Q-46.   At what portion of the magnetization curve should a magnetic amplifier be operated?

Q-47.   How is the effect of load flux on control flux eliminated in a saturable-core reactor?

Q-48.   What is the purpose of the rectifier in a magnetic amplifier?

Q-49.   What is used to bias a magnetic amplifier so that the control winding remains free to accept control (input) signals?

Q-50.    List two common usages of magnetic amplifiers.


This chapter has presented information on differential amplifiers, operational amplifiers, and magnetic amplifiers. The information that follows summarizes the important points of this chapter.

A Difference Amplifier is any amplifier with an output signal dependent upon the difference between the input signals. a two-input, single-output difference amplifier can be made by combining the common-emitter and common-base configurations in a single transistor.


Difference amplifier

A difference amplifier can have input signals that are IN Phase with each other, view (A), 180 DEGREES OUT of Phase with each other, view (B), or OUT of Phase BY SOMETHING OTHER THAN 180 DEGREES with each other, view (C).

Differential Amplifier in Phase


Differential Amplifier 180 OUT OF Phase

Differential Amplifier OUT OF Phase OTHER THAN 180

A Differential Amplifier has two possible inputs and two possible outputs. The combined output signal is dependent upon the difference between the input signals.


Differential amplifier

A differential amplifier can be configured with a Single Input and a Single Output

Differential amplifier

a Single Input and a Differential Output


Differential amplifier

or a Differential Input and a Differential Output.

Differential amplifier

An Operational Amplifier is an amplifier which has very high gain, very high input impedance, and very low output impedance. An OP AMP is made from three stages: (1) a differential amplifier, (2) a high-gain voltage amplifier, and (3) an output amplifier.


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