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Lesson5:

MULTIVIBRATORS

INTRODUCTION
A multivibrator is an electronic circuit used to implement a variety of simple two-state
systems such as oscillators, timers and flip-flops. It is most often used in circuit that required a
square or rectangular waves signal or timed intervals for their operation. There are three principle
type of multivibrator circuit.

The monostable M.V


The astable M.V
The bistable M.V

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
By the end of this lesson, each student should be able to:
Define: a multivibrator, a monostable M.V, and an astable M.V
Describe the functioning of an astable multivibrator with BJT and logic gate
Describe the functioning of a monostable multivibrator with BJT and logic gate
Voof different multivibrator circuit
Calculate the period

Represent the waveform of multivibrator circuit


I. THE MONOSTABE M.V
Vi

This is a circuit having two functional states; one being stable and the other unstable. Initially the
Supply
t
circuitt is at its stable state, once a control pulse is applied
at its input, the circuit toggle to an

unstable state for a certain time call period (T) and return to a stable stable.

MONOSTABLE

Figure I.1: bloc diagram of a monostable multivibrator

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I.1-)

Realisation with BJTs


a) Circuit diagram

Vc

Vi
b) Functioning
When triggered by an external pulse, it changes over to an unstable state for a time T and then
toggle back to its stable state and wait for another trigger pulse.
At switch on, Q2 is quickly forward biased by R2. This turn Q2 ON giving it a low collector
voltage. This low collector voltage is cross connected to the base of Q 1, turning Q1 OFF. Since
VB1 < 0.7v. The capacitor then charges through R1 towards V ccV B 2 . This is the stable state.
If a negative pulse is applied to the base of Q 2, this turn Q2 OFF therefore VC2 goes high and
forward biased Q1 giving it a low voltage (V C1 = 0) and V c =V B 2 . This is the unstable state.
The current flow now from the supply to the ground (i.e. V C1 = 0) through R2 and C1 then the
capacitor discharges towards zero while VB2 is rising up to VB2 > 0.7v then Q2 turn ON and Q1
OFF then the capacitor start charging again. This is the stable state one more.

c) Characteristic curves

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Vcc

The period can be determine by applying the formular below


T =0.7 R2 C
Application exercise:
Let consider the circuit diagram of a monostable multivibrator with BJTs. We calculate the
discharge time of the capacitor if R1 = R4 = 10Kohm and R2 = 330ohm
I.2-)

Realisation with NAND gate


a) Circuit diagram

C1
A

3
2

Vc

V1 V2

R1

Vo

Vi

b) Functioning
Initially, the circuit is at its stable state with V O = 1 and VI also tied at logic state 1. The
capacitor is completely discharged. This implies V1 = 0, V2 = 0. No current flows in the circuit this
is the stable state.
t(ms)
If we now apply a low logic level at the input i.e. Vi = 0, V1 =1. The capacitor
brutally transmits this
t(ms)
t(ms)
T

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signal to the inputs of the second gate. This implies V2 = 1 and Vo = 0.t(ms)
The capacitor C charges through R. as Vc increases, V2 decreases since V1 = VC + V2. When V2
reaches ViLmax of the second gate, its toggles and VO = 1. Thus the stable state again. At this level, V1
= 0 therefore C discharges through R towards 0.

VS(v)

VDD

c) Chronogrammes
t(ms)

I
VDD/2
-VDD/2

t(ms)

The period can be determine by applying the formular below for Cmos integrated circuit
T =1.1 R 1 C
Application exercise: consider the figure above, determine the normalize value of R1 if we wish to
obtained a charging time of 10s. given that C = 1uF
UBE

I.3-) Realisation with NOR gate


a) Circuit diagram
Vdd
R
C

VI

V1

V2

VO

VBE

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t(ms)

3/2VDD
b) Functioning

Initially, VO = 0 and Vin = 0 this implies V1 = 1 with C completely discharged, transmits

VDD/2

t(ms)

this signal to the input of the second gate therefore V2 = 1, no current flows in the circuit. This is the
the stable state.

If a positive pulse is applied at the input i.e VI = 1, V1 = 0, C transmits the signal to the
input of the second gate, then V2 = 0 and VO = 1 the capacitor charges through R. V2 increase
0

exponentially, at V2 = VIHmin of the second gate, its toggle and VO = 0. This is once more the
stable state.
c) Chronogrammes

The period can be determine by applying the formular below for Cmos integrated circuit
T =1.1 RC

II. THE ASTABLE M.V


An astable multivibrator is a circuit that presents two unstable states; one high and the other low.
It continuously oscillates from one unstable state to another. That is why it is usually refered to a
free Running m.v. Thus it required no input signal, but may sometimes need a synchronizing input
to control its action.
suppl
ASTABLE

Vo

Vo

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t

Figure II.1: Bloc diagram of an astable multivibrator


II.2-) Realisation with BJTs
a) Circuit diagram
b) functioning

V'O
VO
VC1

VC2

So how does the circuit work? To begin, when power is applied, theoretically both T1 and
T2 should turn on, since their base pins are connected through resistors (R2 and R3) to Vcc.
However, due to small differences in the electric properties, one of them will turn on slightly earlier
than the other. Lets assume Q2 turns on first. Therefore, Q2s collector begins to conduct and can be
thought of as shorted to ground (V'O=0). Note that C2s right lead is connected to T2s collector,
and since C2 is not charged yet, its left lead also has a voltage close to ground. This immediately
shuts off Q1, i.e. T1 becomes an open circuit (VO = VCC). Therefore C1s left lead is in floating
status, and its right lead is connected to Q 2s base, which is about 0.7V due to the forward voltage
drop of transistors. This forward voltage drop is the same as a diode.
Stage1: During this period, Q2s collector (output V'O) remains low, and C2 begins to charge through
R3. Thus the voltage on C2s left lead will rise, and the rising time depends on R3 x C2. At the
same time, C1 also charges, through R1, which is typically a small resistor (e.g. 100-1000 ohm). So
C1s left lead (output VO) will quickly rise up to Vcc and remains high. As C2 continues to charge,
a critical moment will happen when its left lead rise up to 0.7V, at which moment transistor Q 1 will
turn on, and its collector will conduct to ground. Note that since C1s left lead is connected to T1s
collector, it will also drop to ground voltage. As C1 is fully charged, its right lead will suddenly
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drop to a negative voltage (-Vcc). This will shuts off Q 2 firmly. During this period, VO will remain
low, and V'O will quickly rise to Vcc (due to the charging of C2 through a small resistor R4). At the
same time, C1 charges through R2 and the voltage on its right lead will rise over time determined
by R2 x C1. As C1 continues to charge, the next critical moment happens when C1s right lead rises
above 0.7V. At that point, T2 will conduct again while T1 shuts off.
c) Chronogrammes
VBE2(v)

Vcc 0,7
RC1

RB2

RB2

C1

VS1

RC2

-(Vcc-0,7)
Vs2(v)
Vcc

C2

T1

T2

VS2

VBE1

t(ms)

VBE2

t(ms)
0

VBE1(v)
0,7
0

t(ms)

-(Vcc-0,7)
Vs1(v)
Vcc
t(ms)
0

The period of the oscillator is obtained by the formular below


T =T 1 +T 2
Where
T 1 =0.693 R 2C1
and
T 1 =0.693 R 3C 2
Therefore
T =0.693( R2C1 + R3C2 )
Application exercise:
Let consider the circuit diagram of an astable multivibrator with BJTs. Determine the off time of
transistors Q1 and Q2 that is T1 and T2 and deduce the period T if C1 = C2 = 0,01F ;
R3 = R2 = 10Kohm.
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II.2-) Realisation with logic gate (NAND, NOR and NOT)


a) Circuit diagram

S'

R2

R
Vs

A
C

b) Functioning
Initially, suppose the output of the second gate is at logic 1. This implies S' = 0 and E = 1
the capacitor C charges through R. As C charges up, the voltage at point A decreases until the lower
threshold voltage of the firs gate is reached (V ILMAX). At this point, the first gate changes state and
S'= 1, while E = 0 and VS = 0. The capacitor is now reversed biased and discharges itself through R2
During the discharge, VA increase till the upper threshold voltage of the second gate (VIHMIN) then it
toggles again and the capacitor charges once more. Thus the cycle repeat.
Chronogramme

VA

c)

Chronogram

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The period can be determine by applying the formular below


T =2.2 RC

III. THE BISTABLE M.V


It is a circuit having two stable state. the circuit can be flipped from one stable state to another by an
external trigger. Such a circuit is important in the fundamental building block of register or memory
device. The bistable is still called a lacth or a flip-flop.

II.2-) Realisation with BJTs


a) Circuit diagram

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b) Functioning
This circuit is similar to an astable multivibrator, except that there is no charge or discharge
time, due to the absence of capacitors. Hence, when the circuit is switched on, if Q1 is on, its
collector is at 0 V. As a result, Q2 gets switched off. This results in more than half +V volts being
applied to R4 causing current into the base of Q1, thus keeping it on. Thus, the circuit remains
stable in a single state continuously. Similarly, Q2 remains on continuously, if it happens to get
switched on first. Switching of state can be done via Set and Reset terminals connected to the bases.
For example, if Q2 is on and Set is grounded momentarily, this switches Q2 off, and makes Q1 on.
Thus, Set is used to "set" Q1 on, and Reset is used to "reset" it to off state.

c) Chronnogram

SET

RESET

II.3-) Realisation with logic gates


As well as producing a bistable multivibrator from individual discrete components such as
transistors, we can also construct bistable circuits using commonly available integrated circuits. The
following circuit shows how a basic bistable multivibrator circuit can be constructed using just two
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2-input Logic NAND Gates


a) Circuit diagram

b) Functionning
When the input pulse goes LOW the bistable latches into its SET state, with its output at logic
level 1, that is V0 = 1, V1 = 1, V2 = 0. The circuit will remain at this state till the input goes
HIGH causing the bistable to latch into its RESET state, with its output at logic level 0. The
output of a bistable multivibrator will stay in this RESET state until another input pulse is applied
and the whole sequence will start again.
IV.

CONCLUSION

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TUTORIAL SHEET
Exercice1: the owner of a building with two floors in Bamenda town realized that his electricity bill
was very high due to the fact that the bulbs used to illuminate the stairs linking the upper floor to
the lower floor were constantly on. He wishes that, once the switch is activated, the bulbs should be
on for 30 seconds. Suppose that you are the electonician that have been call to solve his problem.
a) Which type of multivibrator is suitable to solve this problem?
b) Draw the circuit of that multivibrator using BJTs
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c) Calculate the value of the resistor (R) and the capacitor (C) to be choose in order to obtained
and approximated period of 30s.
Exercise2:
An Astable Multivibrator circuit is constructed using two timing capacitors of equal value of
3.3uF and two base resistors of value 10k. Calculate the minimum and maximum frequencies of
oscillation if a 100k dual-gang potentiometer is connected in series with the two resistors.
Exercise3:

Soulution
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Exercice2:
with the potentiometer at 0%, the value of the base resistance is equal to 10k.

with the potentiometer at 100%, the value of the base resistance is equal to 10k + 100k = 110k.

Then the output frequency of oscillation for the astable multivibrator can be varied from between 2.0 and 22
Hertz.

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