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A B C D E

REV: Initial design: R. Aiken


B A d d ed MOSFET circuit
C Added MOSFET protection circuit

D1
4 2 1 DC OUTPUT 4
D1
2 1 DC OUTPUT D2 1N4007

1
C1
1N4007 2 1

1
50uF/500V
C1
1N5242
T1 50uF/500V T2

2
3 3 R1 D3
1 2 2 1

2
R1 D2

1
1 2 2 1 1K 1N4757A

2
4 150 1N4757A 4 R2
100
1 3

12
1 Q1 1 Q1
AC INPUT 2N3055 AC INPUT
5 5
3 2

IRF510
2 D3 2 D4
AC INPUT AC INPUT
2 1
2 1
1N4007
6 6 1N4007
FILAMENT FILAMENT
3 3

7 7
FILAMENT FILAMENT

This circuit allows the use of a small (1W) zener diode and an inexpensive This circuit allows the use of a small (1W) zener diode and an inexpensive
power transistor in place of a high-power zener diode to drop the plate p o w e r MOSFET in place of a high-power zener diode to drop the plate voltage
voltage in a tube guitar amplifier. in a tube guitar amplifier.

The DC output is lowered by the amount of the zener voltage (50V using the diode
The DC output is lowered by the amount of the zener voltage (50V using the shown) plus the gate-to-source drop of the MOSFET (the datasheet for the
diode shown) plus the forward base-emitter drop of the pass transistor (around MOSFET usuall y gives a graph of typical gate-to-source voltages vs drain current.
0.7V). Different zeners can be used for different voltage drops, but the max It will not be less than the threshold voltage). Different zeners can be used for
collector to emitter voltage rating of the 2N3055 will not allow more than 70V. different voltage drops, limited only by the MOSFET drain-to-source voltage rating
To be on the safe side and not exceed ratings, 50V should be considered the (100V for the IRF510 MOSFET shown), and the power dissipation capability of the
maximum for this transistor The transistor should be an NPN power transistor. MOSFET. The MOSFET should be an N-channel, enhancement-mode MOSFET.
T h ese are commonly available in voltages up to 1000V. The 100V IRF510 shown
The series current limiting resistor for the zener diode should be selected to is very inexpensive (currently $0.77 from DigiKey in quantity one).
provide around 5mA or so current This will provide decent zener action, keeping
2 2
the voltage relatively constant, while not exceeding the zener power dissipation at
The series current limiting resistor for the zener diode should be selected to
high voltage drops. The resistor can be calculated by dividing the base-emitter
provide around 5mA or so current This will provide decent zener action, keeping
voltage drop by the desired zener current. For the silicon transistor shown, the
the voltage relatively constant, while not exceeding the zener power dissipation at
Vbe at 100mA output current is around 0.7V, so the resistor should be calculated
high voltage drops. The resistor can be calculated by dividing the gate-to-source
as R = 0.7V/5mA = 140 ohms, therefore the nearest standard value of 150 ohms
voltage drop (use the spec'd MOSFET Vgs at the current drawn) by the desired
is chosen). Note that the transistor current is higher than the output current,
zener current. For the MOSFET shown, the Vgs at 100mA output current is
because the capacitor is charged in pulses, rather than continuously. Also, the
around 5V, so the resistor should be calculated as R = 5V/5mA = 1000 ohms).
average zener current will be lower than this peak value, so the dissipation will be
Note that the MOSFET current is higher than the output current, because the
less than the product of the zener drop and the peak zener current.
capacitor is charged in pulses, rather than continuously. For the current levels in
most guitar amps, it is usually safe to assume Vgs will be around a volt or two
The transistor must be properly heatsinked. Because the collector of the
higher than the threshold voltage, Vth. Also, the average zener current will be
transistor is tied to the case, no isolation is necessary. The case may be
lower than this value, so the power dissipation will be less than the product of the
mounted directly to the chassis with no isolating pads.
zener voltage and this peak current.

T h e M O S F E T m ust be properly heatsinked. Because the drain of the MOSFET


is tied to the case, no isolation is necessary. The case may be mounted directly
to the chassis with no isolating pads.
1 1
T h e zener diode across the MOSFET gate-to-source terminals is for overvoltage AIKEN AMPLIFICATION
or surge protection of the device. The 100 ohm gate resistor is to damp any D u luth, GA 30096
oscillation tendencies. T el: 770-279-2492
Fax: 770-279-9189
Title
Note: L o w e ring plate voltage using a power transistor

These circuits are an adaptation of the circuit originally provided by Marc Meyer. Size Document Number Rev
C
D a te: Wednesday, December 15, 1999 Sheet 1 of
A B C D E