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Programmable Gain Amplifier

It is an electronic amplifier (often an op amp), of which the

gain can be controlled by external analog or digital signals.
These gains can be set from under 1V/V to over 100V/V.

Types of Programmable Gain Amplifiers

Classified according to the maximum supply voltage,
number of channels, nominal slew rate, maximum input offset
voltage, gain, nominal gain bandwidth and packaging type.

The most common sizes for maximum supply voltage are 5.5
V and 36 V. Maximum input offset voltage can be up as high as
12 mV, with the most common size being 4.5 mV.
Programmable Gain Amplifier (PGA)
In Tunable/ Programmable gain amplifiers the amplifier
voltage gain is fixed after fabrications.
Fig. 1 shows the differential amplifier with tunable voltage
gain. Two floating gate transistors work as resistors are
connected to the both inputs.

Fig.1 Tunable voltage gain differential amplifier

Both FGMOSTs must be identical and have the same tuned
voltage to provide the same resistance. The output voltage of the
amplifier is given by:

The amplifier voltage gain R/RFG is programmed by varying

the tuned voltage in the both inputs with the same value.

Applications of PGA

Common applications are motor control, signal & sensor conditioning,

in bar code readers & digital cameras, for A/D converter driver
applications, multiplexed analog applications, data acquisition,
industrial instrumentation, test equipment and medical instrumentation.
2. Programmable-Gain Amplifier, Using the MAX532 DAC
the MAX532 is used to build a programmable gain amplifier
(PGA) suitable for AC gain control.
The MAX532 is a dual, 12-bit, voltage-output DAC.
The circuit of Fig. 1 is that of an inverting amplifier, with R2
replaced by the effective resistance of the DAC ladder & R1
replaced by internal feedback resistor RFB shown in Fig. 2

Figure 1. Fixed-gain inverting amplifier.

In this circuit, an AC signal is applied to the feedback resistor
input and the output signal is tied to the DAC reference input.

The maximum signal at VOUT is limited by the amplifier's

headroom from the supply rails (12V to 15V), which must
be a minimum of 2.5V from either rail.

Figure 2. Programmable-gain amplifier.

The DAC functions as a programmable resistor in the feedback
of the amplifier such that : VOUT/VIN = -R(DAC)/RFB

where R(DAC) is the resistance of the DAC ladder and RFB is the
value of the feedback resistor, which is R/2.

R(DAC) = R/2[4096/(DAC CODE)], with the DAC CODE given

as a decimal value. As the code decreases, the effective DAC
resistance increases, and so the gain increases.
The transfer function for the circuit is thus:

The code can be programmed between 1 and full scale (212-1). Zero
code is not allowed, as it results in the DAC's appearing as an open
circuit in the feedback loop.