miércoles, 21 de julio de 2010

The NPN Transistor

The PNP Transistor is the exact opposite to the NPN Transistor device we looked at in the previous tutorial. Basically, in this type of transistor construction the two diodes are reversed with respect to the NPN type, with the arrow, which also defines the Emitter terminal this time pointing inwards in the transistor symbol. Also, all the polarities are reversed which means that PNP Transistors "sink" current as opposed to the NPN transistor which "sources" current. Then, PNP Transistors use a small output base current and a negative base voltage to control a much larger emitter-collector current. The construction of a PNP transistor consists of two P-type semiconductor materials either side of the N-type material as shown below.

A PNP Transistor Configuration

PNP Transistor Configuration
Note: Conventional current flow.

The PNP Transistor has very similar characteristics to their NPN bipolar cousins, except that the polarities (or biasing) of the current and voltage directions are reversed for any one of the possible three configurations looked at in the first tutorial, Common Base, Common Emitter and Common Collector. Generally, PNP Transistors require a negative (-ve) voltage at their Collector terminal with the flow of current through the emitter-collector terminals being Holes as opposed to Electrons for the NPN types. Because the movement of holes across the depletion layer tends to be slower than for electrons, PNP transistors are generally more slower than their equivalent NPN counterparts when operating.

To cause the Base current to flow in a PNP transistor the Base needs to be more negative than the Emitter (current must leave the base) by approx 0.7 volts for a silicon device or 0.3 volts for a germanium device with the formulas used to calculate the Base resistor, Base current or Collector current are the same as those used for an equivalent NPN transistor and is given as.

Base Current Calculation

Generally, the PNP transistor can replace NPN transistors in electronic circuits, the only difference is the polarities of the voltages, and the directions of the current flow. PNP Transistors can also be used as switching devices and an example of a PNP transistor switch is shown below.

A PNP Transistor Circuit

PNP transistor Circuit

The Output Characteristics Curves for a PNP transistor look very similar to those for an equivalent NPN transistor except that they are rotated by 180o to take account of the reverse polarity voltages and currents, (the currents flowing out of the Base and Collector in a PNP transistor are negative).

Transistor Matching

You may think what is the point of having a PNP Transistor, when there are plenty of NPN Transistors available?. Well, having two different types of transistors PNP & NPN, can be an advantage when designing amplifier circuits such as Class B Amplifiers that use "Complementary" or "Matched Pair" transistors or for reversible H-Bridge motor control circuits. A pair of corresponding NPN and PNP transistors with near identical characteristics to each other are called Complementary Transistors for example, a TIP3055 (NPN), TIP2955 (PNP) are good examples of complementary or matched pair silicon power transistors. They have a DC current gain, Beta, (Ic / Ib) matched to within 10% and high Collector current of about 15A making them suitable for general motor control or robotic applications.

Identifying the PNP Transistor

We saw in the first tutorial of this Transistors section, that transistors are basically made up of two Diodes connected together back-to-back. We can use this analogy to determine whether a transistor is of the type PNP or NPN by testing its Resistance between the three different leads, EmitterBase and Collector. By testing each pair of transistor leads in both directions will result in six tests in total with the expected resistance values in Ohm's given below.
  • 1. Emitter-Base Terminals - The Emitter to Base should act like a normal diode and conduct one way only.
  • 2. Collector-Base Terminals - The Collector-Base junction should act like a normal diode and conduct one way only.
  • 3. Emitter-Collector Terminals - The Emitter-Collector should not conduct in either direction.

Transistor Resistance Values for the PNP transistor and NPN transistor types

Between Transistor TerminalsPNPNPN
Collector EmitterRHIGHRHIGH
CollectorBase RLOW RHIGH
EmitterCollectorRHIGH RHIGH
BaseCollectorRHIGH RLOW

Freddy Vallenilla R,   EES,   SECC1

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