Thursday, June 10, 2010

Digital Electronics Basic Principle

Digital circuits work on the basis of a transistor being used as a switch. Consider a light switch, a transistor can be considered almost the same and in some circuits transistors are used to control large amounts of power with very little input power being used. Look at figure 1 below. Here are two crude transistor switch circuits. In the first circuit if there is no voltage applied to the base of Q1 then it is not switched "on" and accordingly the + 5V passing through the 10K load resistor from our + 5V supply appears at both the collector of the transistor and also at output 1. If we apply + 5V to the base of Q1 then because it is greater than 0.7 V than the grounded emitter, Q1 will switch on just like a light switch causing the + 5V from our supply to drop entirely across the 10K load resistor. This load could also be replaced by a small light bulb, relay or LED in conjunction with a resistor of suitable value. In any event the bulb or led would light or the relay would close. The basic principle in digital basics is that we have just created an "electronic switch" where the positive voltage on the base produces zero voltage at the output and zero voltage on the input produces the + 5V on the output. The output is always the opposite to the input and in digital basics terms this is called an "inverter" a very important property. Now looking at Q2 and Q3 to the right of the schematic we simply have two inverters chained one after the other. Here if you think it through the final output 2 from Q3 will always follow the input given to Q2. This in digital basics is your basic transistor switch.

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