Voltage Divider Bias Circuit Diagram and Calculations

Stable emitter bias requires a low voltage base bias supply, Figure below. The alternative to a base supply VBB is a voltage divider based on the collector supply VCC.

Voltage Divider bias replaces base battery with voltage divider.

The design technique is to first work out an emitter-bias design, Then convert it to the voltage divider bias configuration by using Thevenin’s Theorem. [TK1] The steps are shown graphically in Figure below. Draw the voltage divider without assigning values. Break the divider loose from the base. (The base of the transistor is the load.) Apply Thevenin’s Theorem to yield a single Thevenin equivalent resistance Rth and voltage source Vth.

Thevenin’s Theorem converts voltage divider to single supply Vth and resistance Rth.

The Thevenin equivalent resistance is the resistance from load point (arrow) with the battery (VCC) reduced to 0 (ground). In other words, R1||R2.The Thevenin equivalent voltage is the open circuit voltage (load removed). This calculation is by the voltage divider ratio method. R1 is obtained by eliminating R2 from the pair of equations for Rth and Vth. The equation of R1 is in terms of known quantities Rth, Vth, Vcc. Note that Rth is RB , the bias resistor from the emitter-bias design. The equation for R2 is in terms of R1 and Rth.

Convert this previous emitter-bias example to voltage divider bias.

Emitter-bias example converted to voltage divider bias.

These values were previously selected or calculated for an emitter-bias example

Substituting VCC , VBB , RB yields R1 and R2 for the voltage divider bias configuration.

R1 is a standard value of 220K. The closest standard value for R2 corresponding to 38.8k is 39k. This does not change IE enough for us to calculate it.

Problem: Calculate the bias resistors for the cascode amplifier in Figure below. VB2 is the bias voltage for the common emitter stage. VB1 is a fairly high voltage at 11.5 because we want the common-base stage to hold the emitter at 11.5-0.7=10.8V, about 11V. (It will be 10V after accounting for the voltage drop across RB1 .) That is, the common-base stage is the load, substitute for a resistor, for the common-emitter stage’s collector. We desire a 1mA emitter current.

Bias for a cascode amplifier.

Problem: Convert the base bias resistors for the cascode amplifier to voltage divider bias resistors driven by the VCC of 20V.

The final circuit diagram is shown in the “Practical Analog Circuits”

Article extracted from Tony Kuphaldt’s Lesson in Electric circuits Volume III Semiconductors under the terms and conditions of Design Science License.

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