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Practical No.

Object: To Design a Transistor Curve Tracer System Using an Oscilloscope Apparatus: Function generator Oscilloscope Dual Power Supply Components: IC Binary Counter (74LS93N) IC OP-Amplifier (LM324N) NPN Small Signal Transistor (2N3904) Resistors Jumpers Theory:
Curve Tracer: Curve tracer is an instrument used to plot the Current-Voltage Characteristic curves of two or three terminal devices. Curve tracers are particularly used to observe the characteristic curves of transistors are called Transistor Curve Tracers. Need of a Curve Tracer: The ninety percent of datasheets do not have characteristic curves. The remaining ten percent will contain characteristic curves for a transistor selected randomly among a batch of similar transistors. No two transistors are exactly the same. This means that the characteristic curves given in the datasheet wont apply to your transistor although they both will have the same part number as manufacturer. We can plot our AC load line and select a proper bias point called Quiescent Point for Small-Signal approximation.

Binary Counter:

The binary counter 74LS93 is used here in mod -16 mode in which the counter will count from 0000 to 1111 (16 combinations). This is done by applying clock signal to Clock A. QA is connected back to Clock B. R01 and R02 are grounded so that manual resetting is ineffective. After count of 16 the counter will reset automatically.
The Weighted Summer Amplifier:

The binary counter has 4-bit output. Each of these four outputs are connected to the inputs of a weighted summer amplifier. In this amplifier we have set each of the four gains to be 1 5 , the reason for which is simply to convert 5V TTL to 1V signals. The output is inverted and is the sum of the effects of 4-bits inputs. For example, when count is 0000, the output will be 0+0+0+0=0V, for 0001, the output will be 0+0+0+1=1V. Consider the case when count is maximum that is 1111, the output will be 1+1+1+1=4V. Had the gain not be 1 5 , say it was unity then output would have been 5+5+5+5=25V, a voltage that is quite large to be applied to a transistor base-emitter junction!
The Unity-Gain Inverting Amplifier (Polarity Reversal):

The output of the weighted summer is inverted (180 degree) out of phase with respect to the inputs therefore, we have utilized another OPAmplifier, but this time no gain rather polarity reversal is being done. In this way the output will again be in phase with the input bits.
The Transistor under Observation:

The output of the second OP-Amp is then fed to the base of the transistor to be tested. The transistor will respond to the different voltage combinations at base and draw corresponding collector currents. The output is taken across an emitter resistor through an oscilloscope.
The Oscilloscope Configuration:

The oscilloscope will be used here in X-Y mode. The channel corresponding to horizontal axis has been connected to an AC source using function generator whereas the channel corresponding to vertical axis has been connected to transistor output (across emitter resistor). There is reason behind the use of AC supply to power the transistor. If a DC source was used to power the transistor then at the output of oscilloscope the horizontal(x-ordinate) of the x-y point will remain fixed and the moving x-y point will not be obtained, and if this happens we will not be able to obtain the curves because the curves are obtained due to the very fast motion of x-y point at the display!.

Problems with Commercial Curve Tracers:

They do look like oscilloscope but you cant use them like oscilloscopes. Usually they are sensitive to handle. Too much costly that they are hard to afford.

Advantages of Our Design:

Our curve tracer is a mixed circuit that is analog and digital. It will convert any existing dual-channel oscilloscope that supports x-y mode into a curve tracer. Little configurations are needed for the oscilloscope to be used for curvetracing function. The oscilloscope can be used both as a curve tracer and to display waveforms. Design is simple, effective, utilizes fewer components, less power hungry, and yet at a very cheap price.

Circuit Schematic:

The Schematic Diagram of Transistor Curve Tracer.


Top View of Assembled Circuit

Expert View of Assembled Circuit

P.C.B. Layouts:

Universal View of PCB Layout

Routed Bottom of PCB Layout

Simulations and Real World Results:

The Simulated Result on Multisim

This is the simulated result on the simulating software.

The Real World Result.

This result is obtained on the screen of Oscilloscope.