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2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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The Voltage Follower


vout = vin !
The voltage follower has a open-circuit voltage gain A vo = 1 with the result that

ideal vin
+

vout = vin

Q: Pfft! The output voltage is

equal to the input voltage?! Why even bother?

A: To see why the voltage follower is important, consider the following example.
Jim Stiles The Univ. of Kansas Dept. of EECS

2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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What a great amp


Say you have toiled for hours to design and build the following audio amplifier: +15V +15V

Avo = -200 (midband) Rout = 1 K Ri = 370 vin


0.1 f 3.7K 1K 0.1 f

vout

2.3K

1K

0.1 f

Q: A vo = 200 !With this much gain well be shakin the windowsright?

Jim Stiles

The Univ. of Kansas

Dept. of EECS

2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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or, maybe not


A: Actually, if we connected this amplifier directly to a speaker, nothing would happensilence! Q: ???

A: The reason for this is that the resistance of most speakers is very small (4 -8 ).

Jim Stiles

The Univ. of Kansas

Dept. of EECS

2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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Whats the problem then?


We can use the linear equivalent circuit model of the audio amplifier to analyze the result:

vin vin
+

1K 370
+ 200vin

vout
-

vout = 200 vin

4 = 0.8 vin + 4 1000

The output of this amplifier is even smaller than its input! The problem, of course, is not that the open-circuit voltage gain is too small after all, its 200!

Jim Stiles

The Univ. of Kansas

Dept. of EECS

2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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The output resistance is just too large!


The problem is that the amplifier output resistance (Rout = 377) is much larger than the load resistance RL= 4 . Therefore, we have tremendous loss due to the resulting voltage divider:
4 0.004 4 + 1000
+15V +15V

There is a solution to this problemuse a voltage follower!


vin

3.7K

1K

0.1 f

+
4
0.1 f

vout
-

2.3K

1K

0.1 f

Jim Stiles

The Univ. of Kansas

Dept. of EECS

2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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The voltage follower to the rescue!


Lets again use the linear equivalent model to analyze this circuit and find the output voltage vout.

vin

1K vin
+ + -

370

200 v i

vi1
-

+ -

1vi

vout
-

vout = 200 vin


Weve got back our gain!

4 1 = 200 vin 1000 + 0 + 4

Jim Stiles

The Univ. of Kansas

Dept. of EECS

2/18/2011

The Voltage Follower lecture

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The voltage follower: a useful buffer


Note:
1. Instead of 4, the audio amp sees a load of , the input resistance of the voltage followerthis is ideal!

2. Instead of 377, the speaker sees a source resistance of 0, the output resistance of the voltage followerthis too is ideal!

Remember, there are three characterizing parameters of an amplifieropen circuit voltage gain is just one of those three! The input and output impedance of the voltage follower make it an excellent buffer between two circuits!

Jim Stiles

The Univ. of Kansas

Dept. of EECS