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AMPLIFIER CLASSES OF OPERATION - 14180_18

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1-6 You might hear that a vacuum tube is a voltage-operated device (since the grid does not need to draw current) while the transistor is a current-operated device. You might agree with this statement, but both the vacuum tube and the transistor are still current-control devices. The whole secret to understanding amplifiers is to remember that fact. Current control is the name of the game. Once current is controlled you can use it to give you a voltage gain or a power gain. This chapter will use transistor amplifiers to present the concepts and principles of amplifiers. These concepts apply to vacuum-tube amplifiers and, in most cases, magnetic amplifiers as well as transistor amplifiers. If you wish to study the vacuum-tube equivalent circuits of the transistor circuits presented, an excellent source is the EIMB, NAVSEA 0967-LP-000-0120, Electronics Circuits. The first amplifier concept that is discussed is the "class of operation" of an amplifier. AMPLIFIER CLASSES OF OPERATION The class of operation of an amplifier is determined by the amount of time (in relation to the input signal) that current flows in the output circuit. This is a function of the operating point of the amplifying device. The operating point of the amplifying device is determined by the bias applied to the device. There are four classes of operation for an amplifier. These are: A, AB, B and C. Each class of operation has certain uses and characteristics. No one class of operation is "better" than any other class. The selection of the "best" class of operation is determined by the use of the amplifying circuit. The best class of operation for a phonograph is not the best class for a radio transmitter. Class A Operation A simple transistor amplifier that is operated class A is shown in figure 1-4. Since the output signal is a 100% (or 360º) copy of the input signal, current in the output circuit must flow for 100% of the input signal time. This is the definition of a class A amplifier. Amplifier current flows for 100% of the input signal. Figure 1-4.—A simple class A transistor amplifier. The class A amplifier has the characteristics of good FIDELITY and low EFFICIENCY. Fidelity means that the output signal is just like the input signal in all respects except amplitude. It has the same


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