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Industrial Electronics N4

R B J van Heerden

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TROUPANT
,/ Publishers
PREfJ.\CE

After many requests from lecturers and students and a great deal ofthought I finally decided to write this In-
dustrial Electronics N4 textbook. A common factor in the feedback from students and lecturers was the re-
quest for more background infonnation, as weIl as more explanations and worked examples. This textbook
therefore provides comprehensive coverage ofthe subject, in some cases going back as far as the NI course in
order to revise topics and to put difficult concepts in context.
Another important point is the fact that syllabuses will change in the near future and the book therefore not
only covers the present syllabus, but also includes topics and infonnation that in all probability will be re-
quired by the the new syllabus.
Also included in each module are the most recent exam questions. The list of formulae as supplied to stu-
dents in the exam can be found at the back of the book.
I hope those who study this textbook will not only find it interesting reading but also of great help in their
studies.

Decem ber 1999
COi'rrENTS

1. DIRECT CURRENT THEORY 1 2.11.2 Q of a circuit 32

1.1 lntroduction 1 2.11.3 Bandwidth 32
1.2 Ohm's law 1 2.11.4 Parallel rcsonance 32
1.2.1 Basic aplic3lions ofOhm's law 1 Exercise 2.1 33
1.2.2 Advanced applications ofOhm's Jaw 2
I.J Kirchhotrs laws 3
LJ.l Current [aw 3
3. SEMICONDUCTORS
1.3.2 Voltage law 3
(D10DES) 36
1.3.3 Applications ofKirchhofT's laws 4
3.1 lntroduction 36
1.3.3.1 Olle-baltery circuit 4
3.2 CharaClcristics of materials 36
1.3.3.2 Two-battery circuit 6
3.2.\ Tempcralure 36
1.4 Thevenin's theorem 7
3.2.2 Photo-conduction 37
1.4.1 Thevenin's theorem used with Olle
3.3 lnlrinsic scmiconduclors 37
power supply 8 3.4 N.type scmiconductors 37
1.4.2 Thevenin's theorem use with two
35 P-type scmiconductor 38
power supplies 9 3.6 The P-N junclion 39
1.5 The superposition theorem 10 3.7 Bias 39
Exercise 1.1 12 Bias on the P-N junetion 40
3.7.1
3.8 Diode eharaeteristies 40
3.9 Diode equations 42
2. ALTERNATING CURRENT 3.9.1 Forward resislance 43
THEORY 16 3.10 DC conditions (Ihe load line) 43
2.1 Introduction 16 3.1\ The :tener diode 44
2.2 The sine wave 17 3.1 I. 1 The zener as voltage regulator 44
2.2.1 Frequeney 17 3.12 The varactor diode 45
2.2.2 Sine wave values 17 3. \3 The tunnel diode 46
2.2.3 Phase angle 18 Exereise 3.1 46
2.3 The square wave 19
2A The sawtooth wave 20
2.5 AC eircuits with resistanee 20
2.6 AC eireuits with inductance 21 4. POWER SUPPLIES 51
2.7 AC circuils with eapaeitance 22 4.1 Introduction 51
2.8 lmpedallce 24 4.2 The transronner 51
2.8.1 Series X, circuit 24 4.3 Rectifier eireuits 53
2.8.2 Series Xc eircuit 24 4.3.\ Half-wave reetification 53
2.8.3 Series Xe,X, and R eireuit 25 4.3.2 Ripple 54
2.8.4 The parallel X", Xl and R circuit 26 4.3.3 Full-wave reetification 55
2.9 Power in AC eircuits 28 4.3.3.1 Centre·tapped transfonner 55
2.10 Complex numbers (J-notation) 28 4.3.3.2 Bridge reetifier eircuit 57
2.11 Resonance 31 4.4 Filters 58
2.11.1 Serics resonant frequency 31 4.4.1 Simplc capacitor filtcr 58
4.4.1.1 Voltage regulation 61 6.3.2 Non-inverting amplifier 99
4.4.2 The RC filter 62 6.3.3 The voltage folIower 99
4.4.3 The LC filter 63 6.3.4 Voltage summer (adder) 100
Exercise 4.1 64 6.3.5 Integrator 100
6.3.6 Differentiator 101
6.3.7 Summary 101
6.4 Audio amplifier 101
5. TRANSISTOR AND
Exercise 6.1 103
AMPLIFIER DEVICES 68
5.1 Introduction 68
5.2 The basic junction transistor 68
5.3 The three basic circuits 70 7. ELECTRONIC POWER
5.3.1 The common emitter circuit 70 CONTROL 106
5.3.2 The common base circuit 71 7.1 Introduction 106
5.3.3 The common collector circuit 71 7.2 The SCR 106
5.4 Biasing 72 7.3 Commutation 109
5.5 Transistor characteristic curves 74 7.3.1 Commutation circuits 109
5.5.1 Input characteristic curve 74 7.3.2 Parallel-capacitor commutation 109
5.5.2 Output characteristic curve 74 7.3.3 Series-capacitor commutation 110
5.5.3 Transfer characteristic curve 75 7.4 Duty cycle 110
5.6 Operating point 75 7.5 Altemating current circuits 112
5.6.1 The load line 76 7.6 The triac 113
5.6.2 Operating areas 76 7.6.1 Summary of characteristics 113
5.6.3 Transistor gain 77 7.6.2 Characteristic curve 114
5.7 Classes of amplifier operation 78 7.7 The diac 114
5.8 Push-pull amplifiers 79 7.8 The quadrac 115
5.9 Distortion 80 7.9 Light-activated SCRs 115
5.9.1 Cross-over distortion 80 7.10 Phase control 116
5.9.2 Feedback 81 7.11 Interference 117
5.10 Transistor hybrid circuit 7.11.1 Direct emission 117
(H-parameters) 82 7.11.2 Transients 117
5.10.1 Transistor modelling 82 7.12 Different contral methods 118
5.10.2 Transistor hybrid circuit 7.12.1 Phase control 118
(h-parameter) 83 7.12.2 Cycle control 118
5.10.3 Common emitter amplifier 84 7.12.3 Cyclotronic control 119
5.10.4 Common base 85 7.13 Power contral 119
5.11 Unijunction transistor (UJT) 86 7.13.1 Open system 119
5.12 Field-effect transistors (FETs) 88 7.13.2 Closed system 119
5.12.1 Characteristics of the J-FET 89 7.13.3 Examples 120
5.12.2 MOS-FET construction 90 7.13.4 Practical examples 120
5.12.2.1 The depletion MOS-FET 90 Exercise 7.1 122
5.12.2.2 The enhancement MOS-FET 91
5.12.3 Practical circuits 91
Exercise 5.1 91
8. TRANSDUCERS 125
8.1 Introduction 125
8.2 Mechanical conversion of energy 126
6. OPERATIONAL AMPLIFIERS 97 8.3 Wheatstone bridge 126
6.1 Introduction 97 8.4 Potentiometer 126
6.2 The ideal op-amp 97 8.5 Strain gauges 128
6.3 Operating modes 98 8.6 Thermistors 129
6.3.1 Inverting amplifier 98 8.7 Capacitive transducers 130
8.8 lnductivc lransducers 132 9.2.2.2 Eleclrostatic focusing 142
8.8.1 Variable reluctance transdUCCf 133 9.2.2.3 Electromagnclic focusing 142
8.8.2 Linear variable differential 9.2.3 Deflecling the spot 143
Iransfonner (L VDr) 134 9.2.3.1 Electromagnetic deflection 143
8.9 Solid-state devices 135 9.2.3.2 Electrostatic deflection 143
8,9.1 Photoconduclors or light-dependcnI 9.2.4 Basic operation 144
resislors (LDRs) 135 9.2.5 Stable display of a repetitive
8.9.2 Photodiodes 136 signal (triggering) 144
8.9.3 The phototransislor 138 9.2.6 Main conlrols and their functions 145
8.9.4 Üplo-isolator 138 9.2,7 Signal analysis 146
Exercise 8, t 139 9.2.7.1 Amplitude mcasuring 146
9.2.7.2 Time (period) measuring 147
9.2.7.3 Frequency measuring 147
9.3 The function generalor 147
Exercise 9.1 148
9. TESTING EQUIPMENT 141
9.1 Introduclion 141
9.2 The oscil1oscope 141
9,2.1 The calhode-ray tube (CRT) 141
9.2.2 Focusing Ihe beam 142 APPENDIX: Fonnula List 151
9.2.2.1 Gas focusing 142
OVERVIEW
In this module, the following will be dealt with by means of theory and worked examples.
• revision of Ohm's law by applying Kirchhoff's laws;
• solving simple one- and two-power-supply networks by applying:
- KirchhofI's laws,
- Thevenin's theorem,
- the superposition theorem.

1.1 INTRODUCTION
Many types ofcircuits have components that are not not do the N2 or N3 courses but entered at N4
connected in series, in parallel or in series-parallel. level, must ensure that they know Ohm' s law and
One example is the circuit in a motor car, where the how to apply it to solve problems. An aspect of
batlery is on the one end and the generator on the mathematics, name1y ratios, will be dealt with in
other end, with all the lights, radio, CD-player, this module to provide shortcuts to Ohm's law.
wires, etc. Another example is an unbalanced bridge
circuit. In cases where the mIes ofseries and parallel
circuits cannot be applied, we use more general
1.2 OHM'S LAW
methods of analysis. These methods inc1ude the ap-
plication of Kirchhoff's laws, Thevenin's theorem Ohm 's law states that the current I in a homogeneous
and the superposition theorem. Any circuit can be conductor at constant temperature is:
solved by applying any one or a combination of • directly proportional to the pd V applied to the
these methods because they do not depend on series ends of the conductor; and
or parallel connectors. Ohm 's law is also an integral • inversely proportional to the electrical resistance
part of these methods, and is usually applied to- R of the conductor.
wards the end of the solution. We thus have that I oc V/R which becomes the equa-
In order to obtain an efficient design, we must tion 1= V/R, provided we measure JI;" 1, and R in com-
analyse circuits to calculate the currents, voltages mensurate units. Tbe units with which the electrical
and powers in the relative components. Kirchhoff engineer is mainly concemed are the practical units,
formulated two basic laws to provide a method to i.e.:
work out the ratios in which the currents and volt- V is measured in volts (V);
ages would divide in any circuit, namely the current I is measured in amperes (A); and
and valtage laws. The best way to explain these laws R is measured in ohms (0).
is to work through examples where they are applied.
1.2.1 Basic applications of Ohm's law
Note
• Ohm's law is the most important concept in the Example 1.1
study of electronics and electricity. Students are A 90 V voltage source is connected in series with a
strongly advised to revise the sectiort dealing with 20 0, a 100 0 and a 180 0 resistor as shown in fig.
Ohm 's law in the N2 syllabus. Students who did 1.1. Calculate the voltage drop across each resistor.
+ +

+
:
+
6V
1
6V
R}
IQ
1
6V
1
=-E
90V
!
(a)
!
llA 5A 2A
Fig.1.1
6A 3A 2A
Calculation
+
To solve this problem you must detennine the mag- R} R2
nitude of the current in the circuit: - 6V

V
1= - (Ohm's law)
R II A 5A 2A
90 90
-----=-=03A
20 + 100 + 180 300 ' (h)
Fig.1.2
With the total current known, the voltages can be
worked out as folIows: V 6 6
11 = - = - = - = 6 A
VR1 = IR, = 0,3 x 20 = 6 V R R, 1
VR2 = IR2 = 0,3 x 100 = 30 V 6 6
12 = - =- =3 A
R2 2
VR3 = IR 3 = 0,3 x 180 = 54 V
6 6
13 = - =- =2A
Note R3 3
• In the series circuit, the current through all series Total resistance:
resistances is the same, and the voltage drops 1 I 1 1
-=-+-+-
across each resistor is proportional to its resis- RT R, R2 R3
tance. 1 1 I
= - + - + - = 1+ 0 5 + 0 333
Example 1.2 1 2 3 "
Refer to fig. 1.2 and detennine the relevant currents = 1,833 (but this is not yet the resistance,
through the resistances, the total resistance as weIl
it is the inverse, i.e. ~)
as the voltage drop across each resistor. RT
Calculation 1
:.RT =- - = 0,5455 n
It is clear from the diagram that all the resistors are 1,833
in parallel, therefore the voltage across all of them
must be the same. In this case it is equal to the sup- 1.2.2 Advanced applications of Ohm's law
plied voltage, which is 6 V.
With the voltage known, the current through a re- The mathematical principle of ratios can be applied
sistor can easily be ca1culated by using Ohm's law. to enable us to use shortcuts with Ohm's law. The
The total resistance can be ca1culated by means of best way to explain this is by means ofworked ex-
the usual fonnula. amples.

2
Note I L = VL = 8,31 =0933 A
• Always remember that the highest current flows RL 9 '
through the lowest resistance and the lowest cur- It is c1ear from the above two examples that even if
rent flows through the highest resistance, pro- the load changes by only 1 0 the entire ca1culation
vided that the voltage stays the same. must be done again. Thevenin, a scientist, developed
a method that enables us to work out the current
Example 1.3
without repeating the whole calculation. We will
deal with Thevenin's theorem in section 1.4.

1.3 KIRCHHOFF's LAWS

1.3.1 Current law
The current law states that the algebraic sum 0/ the
currents into any point 0/a circuit must equal the al-
Fig.1.3 gebraic sum o/the currents out o/that point, i.e. the
current in equals the current out (see fig. 1.4).
Refer to fig. 1.3 and ca1culate the current through
the relevant resistances.

Calculation
It is possible to work out these currents in the normal p lr=8A
way by first calculating the total resistance and then
working backwards from first principles, but the
idea here is to take ratios:
18=3 A
Ca1culate the parallel resistanc first
3x9
R;; =-=2,260
12
The voltage over the load can now be ca1culated Fig. 1.4
by taking ratios: It can be seen in the figure that 5 A and 3 Aare flow-
V = R;; x V = 2,26 x 12 = 6 34 V ing into the node P (point of connection) and then
L RT T 4,26 ' they combine to become 8 A flowing away from P.
Use Ohm's law to calculate the load current: 1.3.2 Voltage law
IL = V = 6,34 =211 A
L This law states that the algebraic sum o/the voltages
RL 3 ' around any closedpath is zero, or the algebraic sum
o/the voltages in a circuit is equal to the voltages ap-
Example 1.4
plied, as shown in fig. 1.5.
Refer again to fig. 1.3 but decrease the load. (This is
done by increasing the load resistance to 9 0.) Cal-
culate the relevant currents.

Calculation

9x9
R;; =--=450
18 ' VT
V
L
= R;; X V
T
= 4,5 x 12 =8,31 V
RT 6,5 Fig.1.5

3
In this case, the total voltage Vr = V( + V2 + Vy :,VRj = Vr - VR1 + VR2
The above laws are explained in more detail in the But R] and R2 are in parallel
following examples.
. _ R] xR2
. ,VR1 - Ir x - - -
Example 1.5 R( +R2
Calculate the resultant current for the circuit shown = 1 x 20 x 60 = 15 V
in fig. 1.6. 20+60
:,VRj = 20-(15 + 4,9) = 0,1 V
Use Ohm's law to check the answer:
h= I5A
VRj = Ir xR j
= 1 x 0,1 =0,1 V
lI=lOA
1.3.3 Applications of. Kirchhoff's laws
By using Kirchhoff's laws, complex quantities can
be solved. To explain this, we will first use very sim-
ple examples. Refer to fig. 1.8, where the relevant
currents and voltages must be calculated.

1.3.3.1 One-battery circuit

Fig.1.6 A

Calculation
Vr =
From Kirchhoff we get:
Ir = I( +12 +(-13 )=1] +12 -13
= 24 V
:.Ir = 10 A+12 A-15 A
:.Ir =7A
F E D
Example 1.6
Fig.1.8
Calculate the voltage drop across the internal resis-
tance R; of the battery shown in fig. 1.7 by using IfOhm's law is used to solve the problem in fig. 1.8,
Kirchhoff's voltage law. then the total resistance must first be calculated by
using Kirchhoff's laws. It is just a matter of setting
h=IA up equations, as many as there are unknowns, and
then by solving the equations, the relevant quantities
are calculated.
To solve this problem, the circuit is identified by
one or more "Ioops" as shown in fig. 1.8, i.e. loops
Vi' = ABEFA and ABCDEFA.
R2= 20 n
L _ - 20 V
Calculation
h=IA First take loop ABEFA, which on its own is aseries
circuit, and apply the voltage law:
Fig.1.7
Note
Calculation • If the current direction is not specified, then con-
ventional current flow direction is used, which is
from positive to negative in the external circuit. It

4
is imponam thai when you Slan off with one con- V, = 16 V; V1 - 8 Vand VJ = 8 V
venlion 10 keep 10 il for as long as you deal with
Eumple 1.7
the same circuil. This is especially importam
when we get 10 circuits wilh more than power Refer to fig. 1.9 and use Kirchhotrs laws to calcu.
source. In N3 only ooe power supply was used, in late the following:
the N4 course you are expected 10 deal with more I. Ihe voltage drop across Rl;
that one power supply! 2. the value of R3; and
According to Kirchhoff"s law, we get: 3. the value oflhe currenl flowing through Rz, i.c.
~-~+~ . . . . . . m belween C and D.
According 10 Ohm's law,
V. :: R,)( I. and V1 = R1 X 11 A B 11-11 C

=
:.vl 8x/. and h-
3mA
V1 = 12(/, -1 2 ) as weil as 6x 11
R,-
Subslitute the values from fig.1.8 in equation I SOkO
Vr=RI x!l+Rzx!2
.~U=8~+M .... ~
Loop ABCDEFA is also made up by means of a
series circuil and the voltage law must again be
F E o
Fig. 1.9
used. It is again applied to equalion I.
VT = R./1 +R)(ll-/1) Note
:.24 = 8/1 + 12(1. -/1 ) The following are some common definitions you
should know:
:::8/.+12/.-1212
• A c10sed path is a loop.
:.24 = 20/, -12/1
• A principal node is a branch point wllere currents
divide or combine.
We now have two equations with two unknowns.
We use nonnal algebra 10 solve these equations as • A mesh is the simplesi possible loop. A mesh cur·
folJows: rent is assumed to now around thc mesh without
Multiply lZl with 2 branching.
48 = 16/, + 121. .•..• @
Culcularion
We follow Ihe same method as before.
72 = 36/, Take loopABEFA. This is a seriescircuil with Rl
:./, = 2 A and RJ.

Replace I, = 2 A in l%l VT = V"I + V'')

:.200 = 11 x R, + 12 XR) (/1 = 3 mAl
24=8 x 2+161 2 l
200:::4xIO /
l
+3xIO-)xR)" . <D
24-16=61 2
8 Take loop ACDFA which is also aseries circuit:
:./1 ::: - = 1,333 A
6
:.1 1 - / 1 =2-1,333 VT ::: V"l + V')
= 0,667 A
:.200:::/, xR,+R)(I.-/ 1 ) [12 =3mA]
200 = 4 X 10) I. + 50x 10){I. -3x 10-))
Ohm's law can now be used 10 calculale the voltage 200 = 4x 10) 11 +50x 10) 11 -50x 10) x3 x 10-)
drop across each resistor and then thc power dissi-
200:::54xlO)/I-150
paled by each resistor can be calculated.
The voltages wod out as folIows: :.350::: 54x 10)/,

5
350 To be able to solve the problem you must:
...11 = 54 X 10 3 • Decide which type of current flow will be used.
= 6,48 X 10-3 Let us take conventional current flow from posi-
= 6,48 mA
tive to negative.
• Draw the circuit and label it in order to set up paths
Substitute 11 in CD to work from and current flows in directions ac-
cording to the polarities of the power supplies.
200 = 4 x 10 3 x 6,48 x 10-3 + 3 x 10-3 X R3
• Set up equations in each branch of the circuit, i.e.
200 = 25,926 + 3 x 10-3 X R3 the two-power-supply circuit will have an equa-
174,074 = 3 x 10-3 X R3 tion for each loop.

. R = 174,074 VR = !IR] VR Z = hRz

•• 3 3xl0-3 I B B
A C
= 58,025 kQ lt

Ohm's law can again be used to calculate the volt- ~VI= Vz=
ages: --=- 12 V 9V -
VR1 = 25,926 V
VR2 = 174,07 V F E E D
Test:
Fig. 1.11
VRI + VRz = 25,926 + 174,07 = 200 V (Adds up)
When solving equations, the following mIes must be
1.3.3.2 Two-battery circuit applied:
Two barteries (power supplies) in a circuit are not • When going against the direction of current flow,
uncommon. A nonnal motor car is a typical exam- the current is considered to be negative, i.e. -11,
pie where you have a bartery and, connected in par- and when going with the flow of the current, it is
allel with it, the alternator / rectifier unit to charge considered to be positive, i.e. +11•
the bartery. It is also possible to have the two power • By entering the positive of apower supply, the
supplies in series, although each supply can have its voltage is considered to be positive, i.e. + VI, and
own load in the fonn of resistance or other power when entering the negative the voltage is consid-
consuming devices connected to each one respectively.
ered to be negative, i.e. - V].
We will explain this method by means of worked
examples. Calculation
Example 1.8 Take loop ABEF Take loop BCDE
Study fig. 1.10 and calculate the voltage drop across VI= VR1 + VRL V2= VR2 + VRL
RL and the current through it. 12 = 811 + 12(/) + 12 ) 9 = 612 + 12(/1 + 12 )
RI =8 Q Rz=6Q 12 = 81] + 121, + 1212 9 = 612 + 1211 + 1212
12 = 2011 + 1212 .... CD 9 = 1812 + 1211..... (g)
These two equations must now be solved.
12 = 2011 + 1212 • • • • • • • • • • CD
9 = 121 + 181 •••••••••• (g)
1 2

Multiply equation CD with a factor 1,5

18 = 3011 + 1812 • • • • • • • @

FL...------lIIlI----...- - -....------'D Subtract (g) from @

E
9 = 181)
Fig.1.10 ...11 = 0,5 A

6
Substitute I, in equation @ It follo~s now that in this particular case, 13 will be
9 = 12 x 0,5 + 1812 zero because I, as weil as 12 equals 1,5 A.
9-6
:.12 = - =0,166 7 A
18
Now 13 can be calculated as 12 + 13 = 0,6667 A. 1.4 THEVENIN'S THEOREM
Example 1.9 This theorem is one ofthe greatest time-savers in the
solution of both direct current and altemating cur-
rent circuits. This is particularly true for the compli-
A.----......--.
cated circuits used in the electronic and the
communications fields.

RL= 12 Q

F ' - - - - -........I---------t.._-----oIIIII-------" 0
E The
E= rest
Fig. 1.12 120V - ofthe
circuit
I
Refer to fig. 1.12 and calcu1ate the three different I
currents as weil as the voltage over RL • I
I
In example 1.8, the two power supplies were con- I b I
1 --- 1
nected so that the positives are on the same side, and
(a)
in example 1.9 they are on opposite sides. (We used
the same component values to show the difference
in the two configurations.)
Note the direction of the relevant currents. In
some cases these current directions are wrong, and The
will work out as negative current. Er rest
ofthe

Calculation
The circuit is again split up in two sections and
equations are set up for each circuit.
(h) 1___ circuit

Take loop ABEF Take loop BCDE Fig.1.13

V( = VR \ + VRL V2 = VR2 + VRL
Thevenin's theorem is applicable only to the terminal
12 = 811+ 12(11 - 12 ) 9 = 612 + 12(11 - 12 )
voltage and current conditions ofa two-terminal net-
12 = 81, + 121( -1212 9 = 612 + 121, -1212 work. As formulated for direct current circuits, it
12 = 201, -1212 . . . . ·CD 9 = -612 + 121( .... -@ states that we can replace a two-terminal network by
Multiply @ with 2 a voltage source ET and a resistance R T connected in
18 = 241, -1212 ' . . • . • . . . . . . . . . • • • . . ® series. For example, in fig. 1.13 (a) we can replace
Subtract CD from ® the circuit inside the dotted line by the equivalent
6 = 41, circuit shown in fig. 1.13 (b). If E T and R T have the
proper values, the values of the terminal voltage V;
:.1, = 1,5 A
and the current 1( will be the same for the circuit in
Substitute 11 = 1,5 in CD
fig. 1.13 (b) as for the circuit in fig. 1.13 (a) regard-
12.= 30 -1212 less ofwhat we do to the rest ofthe circuit, provided
18 of course that we do the same in (a) as we do in (b).
:.12 = - = 1,5 A
12 Because of the simplicity of the equivalent series

7
circuit, Thevenin's theorem becomes mor~ useful and b, representing the "the rest ofthe circuit". In the
as the complexity of the circuit within the dotted case ofthe original circuit, this current is:
line increases. I _ 120
In order to find Rr, we reduce the strength ofa11 of Tsc - 75
the sources within the network to zero, and then de- = 1,6 A
termine the resistance between the terminals of the
And, in the case of the Thevenin equivalent circuit,
network when "the rest of the circuit" is discon- this current is
nected. This value or resistance is Rr, which is the
equivalent series resistance ofthe original circuit. I = 55,7 = 16 A
Tsc 34,8 '
1.4.1 Thevenin's theorem used with one Which confirms the values we have computed.
power supply
Example 1.11
Example 1.10
Find the value of Erand R r for the network based on
fig. 1.13.
First let us draw the network with "the rest of the
\,--.. .--_.a
circuit" disconnected. This is shown in fig.1.14 (a). RL=
VT=
Now we work out the voltage rise Vba. lOV 3,60

750 a 750 a
L.-..------tl..---_ b

-
120V
650
t
VT 650 RT
Fig. 1.15

~
Refer to fig. 1.15 and use Thevenin's theorem to cal-
culate the current through the load resistor.
We must first ca1culate Vr and Rr. To do that we
b b
can ignore the load resistor. To work out Vr, we use
(a) (b)
fig. 1.16 (a) and to work out Rr, we use fig. 1.16 (b).
Fig. 1.14

Calculation

V
ba
=V
loc
=120~
65 + 75
= 120x65 =557 V
140 '
b b
This is the value of Er. (a) (b)
Now we let the power ofthe voltage source drop Fig.1.16
to zero. This results in a completed circuit through
RT-- R1R2
the place where the voltage source was, and we thus
have the resistances connected as shown in fig. RI +R2
1. 14(b). 4x6
R _ 65x75 10
T - 140 =2,40
= 34,80 We can now place these Thevenin values in a new
Now we have the values of Er and Rro circuit as in fig. 1.17 which inc1udes the load resis-
As acheck, we can ca1culate the current which tor. By using this circuit, it is now an easy matter to
would flow through a short-circuit placed between a work out the load current.

8
i - - - - - - - RT= 2,4 n - ~ --
Calculation
I
I
I
We firstly calculate the Thevenin voltage and resis-
I tance and then the current through the load:
I
I
RL= V = 3 x 12 = 4 V
ET= 3,60 T
6V -- 9
I 6x3
I RT =-=2n
I
I 9
I
. VT 4
~---------------~- ·.IL =--=-=O,2A
RL +RT 20
By using Ohm's law, we first have to work out the
Fig. 1.17
parallel resistance, and then the voltage across the
load to be able to work out the current through the
In fig.l.17, the inside of the dotted lines represents
the Thevenin's equivalent circuit with the load at-
3 x 18
tached to points a and b. It is now an easy matter to Rtt = - - =2,571 n
work out the current through the load, (as per defini- 21
tion, the voltage across it will be the Thevenin volt- The voltage across the load can now be calculated by
age which was worked out already): taking the ratio of the resistances multiplied by the
total applied voltage as folIows:
- V1h _ 6
I RL - -
RT 2,4+ 3,6 V = 2,571 x 12 = 3 6 V
ab 8,571 '
= ~ =1 A
6 :.IL = 3,6 = 0,2 A
Ifthe load resistance now changes from 3,6 n to say 18
9,6 n, then the current will be: This proves to be the same value as worked out by
means of Thevenin's theorem.
- V1h _ 6
I RL - -
RT 2,4+9,6 1.4.2 Thevenin's theorem used with two
power supplies
=~=05A
12 ' When two power supplies are part of the same cir-
A mathematical proof of Thevenin's was not given cuit, then Er for each circuit must be worked out and
but the next example will show that it works. We the two values added. To work out the Er for each
will work out a simple circuit by means ofThevenin power supply, the two supplies are short-circuited in
as weIl as by means of Ohm's law. turn. Only one R r is worked out and then the com-
Example 1.12 plete circuit is simplified to only one power supply,
one internal resistance and the load. The following
By using Thevenin's theorem, calculate the current
example will explain how it is done.
through the load in fig. 1.18. Prove Thevenin's
theorem by calculating the current through the load
by means ofOhm's law. A

VT= RL=
12 V 18 n

F E D
b
Fig.1.18 Fig.1.19

9
Example 1.13 how mueh current each of the individual sources'
Calculate the value of the current through the load contributes to the branch in question. and then to add
resistor in fig. 1.19. these eomponent eurrents algebraiealJy. To do this
As you might havenoticed, this is the same asex· we leave only one voltage source at a time in Ihe nel-
ample as 1.8. We will prove that the answer is the work, replacing the olher vohage sources by
same, regardless ofthe method being used. short·circuits. O( course. any resiSlances associated
wilh Ihe displaced voHage sources are not
Cafculation shorH:ircuiled. This method can best be explained
The Thevenin equivalenl vohage and resiSlance by means of an example.
must be worked OUI before the load current can be Example I.IS
calculated. To do this, remove the load resiSlance
Refer to fig. 1.20 and find the cUTTenl1 sei up in the
and work out the Thevenin voltages foreach supply
resistance R by the !wo vohage saurces E, and ~.
and add them to get Ihe final Thevenin voltage. To
work out Ihe Thevenin voltage. short out Ihe op-
posile voltage and follow Ihe nonnal method. The

1bevenin resislance is simply the !Wo remiuances in
parallel.
Short out V:. then:
6
R,-
Ion
VTI = -xI2=5,143 V
I'
Short oul VI' then:
8
Vn =-x9=5.143V
" a coincidence that these vollages are the
(11 is jusl Fig.1.20

same.)
Calcufation
The final Thevenin vollage is now 10,286 V and the
1bevenin resislance is: First find 1!Je curremlhrough the load if El is short-
x eircuited. Redrawthecircuit as in fig. 1.21 (a). Let us
6 8=34290
call this CUTTem rand il is worked OUI as foliows:
" '
lu =~ =
Rr + RL
10,286
3.429+ 12
= 0,666 7 A
As you can see this is the same value as in example
r, .i R,- r

v~
1.8. IOn
R2- 4!)
Note
• When the polaritiesofthe two power-supplies are
in the oppositc directions, then the two Thevenin
1•
voltages must be subtractcd. (Refer to example
1.9. Vou will nolice thai the IWO Thevenin vo[t-
I;

agesare thesame, thus thesum will be zero and no
current will Oow through the load, as worked OUI
in example 1.9.)
= E2-150V
Rz-4 n
i R,-
v;.
r

,on
1.5 THE SUPERPOSITION THEOREM
This theorem is useful to find the currenl in one
particular branch of a nelwork whieh conlains
(b) 1•
several voltage sources. The method is to calculate Fig.1.21

10
I,
I' _ EI = _10_0_
I-R+~ 2+!:.I!,",
1 1t1'ltL
I,
= 2Q.6 A
V':' = EI -R/; = [00-2><20,6 R, •
= 58,8 V 120

I':~= 58.8
R 10 b
= 5,88 A Fig.1.23
The current supplied by voltage E, 10 Ihe load is
NOle how Ihe direclion of the current changed and
5.88 A. Ta calculate the effect of El , the same
also the new identification for currents!
method is followed. Refer {O fig.L2I(b) {O deter-
All three currents must now be worked out and
miner. Ohm's law will be used.
/"_ E1 ISO The total resistance ofthe new cirtuit is:
:- R+~ = 4+ c,',"
.. ·'l R = ~XRL +R = 6xl2 +8
= 26.5 A , ~ + RL 1 18
V;' = E 1 -1;R: = 150-26.,4)( 4 72
=-+8=120:
= 44 V 18
,• =
V;' 44 V.. =-xV,
R.
-=-
R 10 R,
6xl2 12
V 4
= 4,4 A 1 =....!!.=-
=--x- I Rj 6
11le currenl supplied by valtage E} 10 Ihe load is i8 12
=4V = 0.667 A
4,4 A.
The total current I through the load resister is there- V V..
1,=-2 1)=-
rore the surn of rand r. • R, RL
:./-5,88+4,4= IO.28A. 12 4
Anolner way. with more steps but Ihe same method, =-=IA =-=0,333A
12 12
is 10 break up Ihe currcnts in more detail and set up
Now we short out Vl and identify new currents as in
equations. The following example will show how 10
fig. 1.24.
da this.
Example 1.16 I,
Referto fig. 1.22 and calculatc the relevant currents.
I.
I. I,

I,

R, • b
120
Vz-12V
Fig.1.24

We can now calculate the new values for the differ-

Fig. 1.22 ent currents:
The total resistance of the new circuit is now:
Ca/cutorioll
Follow Ihe prcvious examplc's method and shon R:.xR 8xl2 96
R, = L+Rl =--+6=-+6=10.80:
out V, in this C3Se. Redraw the diagram as in fig.I.23. R1 +RL 20 20

11
RI=20
Rabx V)
Vb = -
a R,
V 8
8x12 18 I = -ab= -
=--x- 5 R2 8
20 10,8
=8V =IA
RL=
Vab 8 V2=9 V 100
I =- =-

= ~=1667 A
6 RL 12
= 0,667 A
l
10,8 '
These current values must now be substituted in or- Fig.1.26
der to work out Ia , Ib and Ic •
I a = 14 - I) I b = 12 - 15 I c = 13 + 16 3. Consider the circuit in fig. 1.27.
= 1,667 -0,667 = 1-1 = 0,333 + 0,667 RI=20
h c
~IIII
D
=IA =OA =IA
-=- VI = 6V
A
EXERCISE 1.1
RL=
Note from the author 30
A question from the students which always annoyed
me was: "Sir, how does the examiner ask questions
on this section?" I therefore decided to include old
exam questions in the exercises and I also mention
when the particular question was asked. The ques- Fig.1.27
tions go back as far as April 1994 and I hope that
3.1 Supply a short summary of how you would
students as weIl as lecturers will benefit from this.
calculate the current flow through the load re-
(For extra practice, you can work out the same prob-
sistor with the aid ofthe following methods:
lems using one or both ofthe alternative methods to
3.1.1 superposition method;
3.1.2 Thevenin's method.
1. Study fig. 1.25.
3.2 Write down TWO equations to solve the cur-
By taking a Thevenin break at ab, ca1culate
rent in the circuit using only the literal values
and draw the equivalent circuit for the 4 Q
given in fig. 1.27. (Apr. 96). (Do the ca1cula-
and 10 Q resistances and 6 V battery.
tions for extra practice.)
Use this information and calculate the current
4.1 A load has a constant resistance of 50 Q. If a
flow through the 2 Q resistor. (Apr. 94)
variable resistor is connected in series with
~--tllll~+----t.-a -----., the load and set for 0 Q, how much power is
dissipated throught the resistance in the load
VI=6V
ifthe supply voltage is 12 V?
R3=
100 V2=9V

R2=60
b
RL=
Fig. 1.25 VI=6V 100
V2=9V

2. Determine the value of the current flowing

through the load resistor RL in fig. 1.26 using
Kirchhoff's method. (Apr. 95) Fig.1.28

12
4.2 Ifthe variable resiSlor in 4.1 is set for a resis-
lanee of20 n.
how rnuch power is dissip3ted in
4.3 Use the superposition method 10 detennine the
voltage drop aeross the load resistor in fig.
1.28. (Apr. 97)
.,.
,n
s. Use Thevenin 's method 10 ca1culate lhe voltage
dropacross the Ioad resistor RL in fig. 1.29. (Apr.
98)
A

."
1 00 Fig.1.31

8. Use the superposilion melhod 10 calculate the

current flow through the load resislor in fig.
1.32. (Aug. 95)
8

Fig. 1.29 LI~~'I-V-V\'!',.J','-n-..,---J1.J',V.IJ,",n---'

6.1 Describe the folJowing {WO laws ofKirchhofT:
6.1.1 voltage law;
6.1.2 currenl law.
.,.
,on
6.2 Detennine Thevenin'5 equivalcnl for the cir·
cuit in fig.I.30.

Fig.1.32

I, I,

."
IOn

6V

Fig.1.30

6.2.1 Use lhe values of lhe cquivalent cir-

cuit 10 calculatc the vollage drop
1
across the load resistor RL if RL Fig. 1.33
changcs from Ion 10 15 n. (Apr. 99)
7. Use Thevenin's mcthod 10: 9.1 Name IWO melhods which you would use to
7.1 Calculatc the current flow through the calculate the current flow lhrough Ihe load re-
Ioad resistor in fig.I.31; and sislor RL in fig. 33.
7.2 Delermine the currenl flow through 9.2 Which melhod would you recommend for a
R. if RL changes from 5 n TO 8 n. person who wanlS to do research on a circuil
(Aug.94)

13
where the load resistor changes continu- drop across the load resistor with the aid of
9.3 Which two laws would you use to set two
h 12
equations for fig. 1.337
9.4 Use the literal values given in fig. 33 and
write down two equations to detennine the
current in the circuit. You do not need to
solve the equations. (Aug. 96)
10.1 Refer to fig. 1.34.
How much power is dissipated in the load re-
sistor if the variable resistor is set at 0 07
Fig. 1.36

12.2 Use Thevenin's method to calculate the cur-

rent flow through the load resistor RL in fig.
r02Vrms RL=
600
1.37.

Fig.1.34 RL=
100

10.2 What is the power dissipated in the load ifthe

variable resistor is set at 50 0 7
10.3 Use Thevenin's method to calculate the cur-
rent flow through the load resistor in fig.
1.35. (Aug. 97)
Fig. 1.37

13. Use Thevenin's method to calculate the cur-

rent flow through the load resistor in fig. 1.38
as weil as the voltage drop acrossR3. (Nov. 94)
RL=
3,20

Fig.1.35 RL=
60
11. A circuit consists of the following compo-
nents:
Resistors R land R2 in series, and resistor R3
in parallel with R2.
If Rl = 1,2 kO, R2 = 1,5 kO and R3 = 10 kO,
use Kirchhoff's method to calculate the volt- Fig.1.38
age drop across R3 if the applied voltage is
10 V. (Aug. 98) 14. Use Thevenin's method to calculate the cur-
12.1 Consider fig. 1.36 and supply a short sum- rent flow through the load resistor in fig. 1.39.
mary ofhow you would calculate the voltage (Nov.95)

14
16.1 Draw Thevenin 's equivalent circuit of fig.
1.41 and determine RTH, VTH, ITand the volt-
age drop across RL. (Nov. 98)

Fig.1.39
RL=
15.1 Use Thevenin's method to calculate the cur- 10 kO
rent flow through the load resistor in fig. 1.40.
(Nov.97)

Fig. 1.41

RL=
100

Fig. 1.40

15