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ECE 3155
Experiment II
Operational Amplifiers
Rev. lpt, sept 2012

The modern monolithic operational amplifier (op-amp) is in many respects an ideal electronic
circuit element. It is used in so many areas of electronics that it is difficult to imagine today what
electronics was like before it was invented. We will be exploring the op-amp in this exercise.
This experiment will enable you to verify that within certain limits, the op-amp is convenient,
reliable, and very simple to use. We will not actually test these limits, but will choose only those
designs where the limits hold. Each of the circuits in this experiment uses negative feedback. For
the time being, we can say that negative feedback is being provided if a component (or just a
wire) is connected between the output and the inverting input of the op-amp. This will be the case
in all circuits in this lab, and is part of the reason for their nearly ideal behavior.
In this experiment, you will examine four of the simplest amplifier configurations, which use the
op-amp as their active element. Before you work in the laboratory, be sure that you understand
the basic principles of ideal op-amp analysis and the concept of a virtual short. A virtual short
appears whenever the op-amp uses negative feedback, which is true throughout this lab.
The op-amp used in this lab is the 741. This is a part number for a particular op-amp that one
company manufactured many years ago. It became very popular, and many other companies
produced op-amps with similar characteristics, and gave them similar names. You may see
equivalent op-amps labeled with names such as m741, A741, or other derivative forms. They are
remarkably cheap, which is one of the reasons why they have become so popular. The particular
741 equivalent that you use should not affect the results that you obtain.

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

Components Required
74l op-amps (or equivalent)
Resistors as needed from lab kit

Pre-Lab
Part A; Step 1: Design the op-amp specified in this step. Pay attention to the size of the feedback
resistor, and to the tolerance on the gain, as that step indicates. Record your answers in the space
provided.
Part B; Step 1: Design the op-amp specified in this step. Think about how the dc input is being
constructed and make sure you understand this configuration. Record your answers in the space
provided.

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

Part E: Design the amplifier specified in Part E.Procedure

Part A. The Inverting Amplifier Configuration

vG

The inverting amplifier is


one of the simplest op-amp based amplifiers. It uses only two resistances: the input resistance Ri,
and a feedback resistance, Rf, as shown in Figure 1. In analyzing your circuits, be sure to take
account of the Thevenin resistance of the signal generator, Rg, which is in series with Ri in this
circuit. Assume Rg to be 50 [] for these experiments.
Figure 1. The Inverting Op-Amp Configuration.
Rf
vOUT
Av

.
Eq. (1)
vG
Rg Ri
If all of the ideal op-amp conditions are met, the
gain of this configuration is
We will discuss some of these conditions in this experiment. In Eq. (1) we have accounted for the
source equivalent resistance Rg.
1.
Designaninvertingamplifierusinga741opampastheactiveelement.Thisamplifier
shouldhaveavoltagegainof1010%,andbecapableofa10[Vpp]outputswing.Yourdesign
shouldassumethata741canbeconsideredanidealopampifithasafeedbackresistorRfthatis
largerthan1[kforevery1[Vpp]outputswing.Thisrestrictioncomesfromthelimitsonthe
currentthattheopampcanprovidetothefeedbackresistor.Thetoleranceofthegainofyour
circuitshouldbedeterminedprimarilybythetoleranceofyourresistors.Rememberalsothat
youwillbemakingmeasurementsusingrealtestdevices,suchasvoltmetersandoscilloscopes.
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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

Thisplacesanupperlimitonpracticalresistorvalues.Theoscilloscopeinthelaboratoryhasan
inputresistanceof1[M].
WithreferencetoFigure1,recordyourresistancevalueshere.

2.
Constructyouramplifiercircuit.Thepinoutfora741opampisillustratedinFigure2.Use
dcpowersupplyvoltagesof15[V]inthisexperiment.Thesevoltagesareoftenreferredtoas
VCCforthepositivesupplyandVEEorVCCforthenegativesupply.Theopampistypically
enclosedinan8pinpackage,calledaDualInlinePackage(DIP)sincetherearetworowsof
pins,with0.1inchspacingbetweenpins.SuchDIPpackagesarewidelyused,andmostusethe
samepinnumberingscheme,whichisshowninFigure3.Connect+15[V]topin7and15[V]
topin4.Thisdcpowersupplyschemeshouldbeusedthroughouttheexperiment.
Figure 2. Pinout for the 741 op-amp. The power supply pins (4 and 7) are not generally included
in schematic diagrams of op-amp circuits.

Figure 3. Pin numbering scheme for the 741 op-amp. The chip is being viewed from the top. The
small circle or indent, whichever is present, indicates the location of pin 1.
3.
Adjustthesignalgeneratorforasinusoidwithafrequencyofabout1[kHz]andconnect
thistotheinvertingopampinput.Chooseanamplitudesothattheamplifieroutputisabout5
[Vpeak].Observeontheoscilloscopetheoutputofthesignalgeneratorandtheoutputofthe
amplifiersimultaneously.Sketchtheseobservationsongraphpaper,andattachyoursketchto
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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

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theendofthisdocument.Besureyourgraphhasappropriateaxislabeling,aswellasunitson
bothaxes.Makeitreadableandneat.
4.

Make measurements of the input signal source vG, the op-amp output vOUT, and the voltage

at the inverting input of the op-amp, v-. Record these values below. Indicate appropriate units.
Table 1: Inverting Op-Amp Voltage Measurements
vG
vOUT
v-

5.
Define polarities for the currents through Rf and Ri in Figure 1. Using the voltage values
measured in Step 4, calculate values for these currents and record them below; again indicate
appropriate units. Use measured resistances for Rf and Ri, not nominal values.
Table 2: Inverting Op-Amp Current Measurements
i Rf
i Ri
Compare the values for the two currents. From this, what would you conclude about the current
going into the inverting input of the op amp?

6.
Usingyourmeasurementsinpart4,calculatethevoltagegainoftheamplifier.Recordit
here.Calculatethepercenterrorintheactualgainoftheamplifierusingtheidealgainasa
reference.
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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

Av=
%error=

7.
Estimatethemaximumpercenterroryouwouldexpecttohavemadeinyour
measurements,assumingtheoscilloscopesarecalibratedtowithin1%.Rememberyour
resistancetolerance.Wereyourmeasurementsinagreementwiththeory?Comment.
Maximum measurement error (estimated):

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

PartB.TheInvertingSummingAmplifier

VG1

VG2

VG3

Itis
usefultobeabletoaddseveralsignalstogetherinsuchafashionthatthereisnointeraction
betweenthevarioussourcesbeingadded.ThisfunctionisperformedbythecircuitofFigure4.
Itsoperationisbasedonthefactthataproperlyfunctioninginvertingopampamplifierhas
virtuallynosignalattheopampinvertinginput,sothatnosignalfromonesourcecanenter
anothersourcetocauseproblems.
Figure 4. The summing amplifier configuration. This figure shows three inputs, but in fact any
number of inputs can be used as long as the output does not saturate.
For this circuit, we can show that

R
R
R
vOUT vG1 f vG 2 f ... vG # f .
Ri1
Ri 2
Ri #

Eq.(2)

Thisiswhythecircuitiscalledasummingamplifier.Theindividualcoefficientsofthesource
voltagesvG#areoftheform(Rf/Ri#)andarecalledpartialgains.Thereisnorestrictiononthesize
ornumberofthepartialgains,exceptthosenormallyassociatedwiththeidealopamp
assumptions.

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

1.
Design a summing amplifier, using the circuit of Figure 5. Consider one input to be the
signal source vg, which will be the signal generator in the laboratory. The other input is a dc input
that will be provided by the dc power supplies connected at the two outside terminals of a 10[k]
potentiometer. This configuration is also shown in Figure 5. You may consider the dc input to be
the voltage at the wiper of the potentiometer. Let the partial gain of the source vg be (-2 10%).
The dc component of vg should be zero.

The dc component of
the output should range from 3[V] to +3[V], within 10%, depending on the setting of the
potentiometer. That is, as the potentiometer wiper is moved from one end to the other, the dc
component should change from 3[V] to +3[V]. Chooseresistancevaluesthatyouhaveinyour
kittodesignthiscircuit.RememberthatR2willcomprisethe50[]resistanceofthesignal
generatorinserieswiththeresistorfromyourkit.
Figure 5. The Summing Amplifier. This design uses the signal generator and the two dc power
supplies that are already being used to power the op-amp. You will design this circuit, picking
values of R1, R2, and Rf to meet the design criteria.

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

BasedonFigure5,recordyourresistancevalueshere.2. Constructthecircuitthatyouhave
designed.Recordtheamplitudeofthesignalsource(vg),theaccomponentoftheoutput(vout),
andthedccomponentoftheoutput(VOUT)inTable3.Testtoseewhetheryouhavemetyour
designcriteria.ThemeasurementsthatyoumadeinTable3shouldassistyouinthis.Showthe
resultsofyourcomparisonsinTable4.Howwelldidyoudo?
Table 3: Summing Amplifier Measurements
vg (ac component)
vout (ac component)
VOUT (dc component)

Table 4: Summing Amplifier Partial Gains


measured

theoretical

ac component
dc component

% error

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Part C. The Non-Inverting Amplifier Configuration

Thenoninverting
amplifierimplementedwithanopampisshowninFigure6.
Figure 6. The Non-inverting Op-Amp Configuration.
Av

R
vOUT
1 f .
vG
Ri

Eq. (3)
Notethateveninthenoninvertingcase,

negativefeedbackisused.Thegainis
1.
Designanamplifiertoachieveagainof1610%.ChooseanRf>2[k],againinorderto
meetidealopampassumptions. With reference to Figure 6, record your resistances here.

2.
Withaninputvoltagelargeenoughtobeconvenient,yetsmallenoughsothattheamplifier
outputisnotsaturated,viewtheinputvoltagevGandtheoutputvoltagevOUTontheoscilloscope
andsketchthemongraphpaper.MeasurevG,thevoltageatthenoninvertinginputv+,the
voltageattheinvertinginputv,andvOUT,andrecordthesevaluesinTable5below.Calculate
themeasuredgainandenteritalongwiththepercenterror. Indicate appropriate units.

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Table 5: Non-inverting Op Amp Parameters


vG
v+
v
vOUT
Av (measured)
% error in Av

Part D. The Unity Gain Amplifier


Frequentlyanamplifierwithpowergainbutnovoltagegainisrequired.Thiscanbe
accomplishedusingtheconfigurationofFigure6,butwithRf=0andRileftopen,i.e.,Riequalto
infinity.Inthiscase,thegainisextremelycloseto1.
1. Setupaunitygainamplifier,repeatthevoltagemeasurementsoftheprecedingsection,
andrecordthembelow.
Table 6: Unity Gain Amplifier Parameters
vG
v+
v
vOUT
Av (measured)
% error in Av

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

Part E. Design an Op-Amp Amplifier


An amplifier is desired which meets the following criterion:
vOUT 0.1vIN1 0.2vIN 2 0.3vIN 3 .
IfyouwanttoearnanAonthisexperiment,designtheamplifierusingonly1opamp.Show
yourdesignbelow.Typicallysuchdesignsmaytakeseveraliterations.Showonlyyourfinal
versionhere.

1. Buildtheamplifierthatyoudesigned.Testyourdesignusing3dcinputstakenfromthedc
powersupply.Thatis,use+5[V],+15[V],and15[V].Analyzeyourdesign.Howwelldidyou
do?

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ECE3155ElectronicsExperimentIIOperationalAmplifiers

Questions
1. Usingthemeasurementsyoumade,determinetheresistanceseenbythesignalgeneratorin
theinvertingamplifierconfiguration,i.e.,whatistheinputresistance?Doesthisagreewithwhat
youexpected?Whyorwhynot?

2. What is the relationship between the currents you measured in the inverting amplifier? What
does this tell us about the input of the op-amp?

3. Explain the relationship between the voltages v+ and v- in the non-inverting amplifier
configuration.

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