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Experiment 6

Testing Bipolar Transistors


Objectives

1. To learn how to test NPN and PNP bipolar transistors. 2. To identify an unknown bipolar transistor as either an NPN or PNP type. 3. To identify a transistors base lead using an ohmmeter.

Introduction
The transistor is the fundamental building block of the circuitry that governs the operation of computers, cellular phones, and all other modern electronics. Because of its fast response and accuracy, the transistor may be used in a wide variety of digital and analog functions, including amplification, switching, voltage regulation, signal modulation, and oscillators. Transistors may be packaged individually or as part of an integrated circuit chip, which may hold thousands of transistors in a very small area. Base, Collector, Emitter There are two types of transistors, which have slight differences in how they are used in a circuit. A bipolar transistor has terminals labeled base, collector, and emitter. A small current at the base terminal (that is, flowing from the base to the emitter) can control or switch a much larger current between the collector and emitter terminals. Transistors are semiconductors that are used as amplifiers or electronic switches. Transistors are made in either one of two standard types, NPN or PNP, which refer to the configuration of the layers of the semiconductor materials that are used to manufacture the transistor. Transistors have three connections -- the base, the emitter and the collector. For an NPN transistor, the transistor is turned on when the base is at high relative to the emitter. The PNP transistor is turned on when the base is low relative to the emitter. Transistors can be tested with a multi meter, which can verify a transistor is working correctly and also help to identify its connections. (1) Label the pins of the transistor to be tested as 1, 2 and 3, working from left to right. This is used as a guide for test purposes only. These are not the actual connections. (2) Using the diode test setting on a digital multi meter, connect the positive red and negative black probes to the pins of the transistor in the following order, and record the output from the multi meter.

1 Positive - 2 Negative 3 Positive - 1 Negative 2 Positive - 1 Negative 2 Positive - 3 Negative 1 Positive - 3 Negative 3 Positive - 2 Negative Each of the three connections is being tested, with each test performed with the leads connected both ways round. The multi meter will either show "OL," indicating an open circuit, or will show a voltage reading, indicating the forward voltage of the transistor junction. (3) Analyze the results. When the tests have been completed, output similar to the following will be seen: 1 Positive - 2 Negative - OL 3 Positive - 1 Negative - OL 2 Positive - 1 Negative - OL 2 Positive - 3 Negative - 0.635 1 Positive - 3 Negative - 0.675 volts volts 3 Positive - 2 Negative - OL The only positive readings are for wires 1 and 3, and 2 and 3. The emitter-base junction always has the higher reading -- 0.665 volts in the example -- and the base-collector junction has the lower reading, here 0.635 volts. (4) Identify the pins. Find the pin that is common to both readings. In Step 3 that is pin 3. This is the transistor base pin, which means that pin 1 is the emitter and pin 2 is the collector. As the voltage readings were obtained when pin 3, the base, was connected to the negative probe, the transistor type is PNP. If the base was connected to the positive probe when voltage readings were obtained, the transistor type is NPN.

Material Required
Ohmmeter 1 NPN silicon transistor MPSA20 (417-801) 1 PNP transistor x29A829 (417-201) or 2N3906 (417-874) NOTE: Many digital and electronic meters now provide a diode check mode, indicated by a diode symbol. In which, a constant current source instead of a constant voltage source is sometimes provided. A silicon diode will indicate between 0.5 and 0.7 VF. A germanium diode should indicate between 0.2 and 0.4 VF. In some cases, a diode is indicated, but the meter will measure ohms. This meter position is designed to measure the forward and reverse resistances of a diode. If you are not sure how the function on your meter works, check the meters owner manual.

Procedure
1. Locate the NPN transistor and hold it (flat side up) as shown in Figure E6-1A. The transistors emitter (E) lead will be to the left, the base (B) lead will be in the middle, and the collector (C) will be on the right side. Spread the leads apart, as shown, so that you will be able to connect your ohmmeter leads to them without

shorting them together. Notice that an additional outline drawing of the transistor (as viewed from the bottom) is shown in Figure E6-1B. Manufacturers generally provide this type of outline drawing in the transistors data sheet to help in identifying the transistors emitter, base, and collector leads.

Figure E6-1 Locating the base, emitter, and collector leads of the NPN transistor (2N3904) 2. Now you will use your ohmmeter to measure the forward resistance of the transistors emitter-base and collector-base junctions. To do this you should use the ohmmeters R x 10 or R x 100 ranges (the range setting will depend on your particular meter). Connect the ohmmeters positive test lead (this lead is usually red) to the transistors base lead as shown in Figure E6-2A. Then alternately connect the ohmmeters negative test lead (usually black) to the transistors emitter and collector leads. Note the forward resistance across each junction and record the two readings in the spaces provided in Figure E6-2B. Notice that the positive lead must be connected to the P-type base while the negative test lead is connected to the N-type emitter or collector.

0 8 ________________________________________________________________________ Figure E6-2 Checking the forward resistance pf each junction in an NPN transistor

3. Now, you will use your ohmmeter to measure the reverse resistance of the transistors emitter-base and collector-base junctions. Use the ohmmeters R x 10k or R x 100k range. This time connect the ohmmeters negative test lead to the base, and alternately connect the positive test lead to the emitter and collector, as shown in Figure E6-3A. Note the reverse resistance across each junction and record your readings in the spaces provided in Figure E6-3B.

Figure E6-3 Checking the reverse resistance pf each junction in an NPN transistor

4. Locate your PNP transistor and note whether you received a type X29A829 (417-201) or a type 2N3906 (417-874). Then position it as shown in figure E6-4A. Notice the location of the emitter, base, and collector leads. The leads are identified in the outline drawing shown in Figure E6-4B. Spread the leads as shown, this will allow room to make the meter connections without shorting the leads together.
X29A829 (417-201) 2N3906 (417-874)

Figure E6-4 The PNP transistor 5. Now you will use your ohmmeter to measure the forward resistance of the transistors emitter-base and collector-base junctions. Use the ohmmeters R x 10 or R x 100 ranges. Alternately connect the ohmmeters test lead as show in Figure E6-5A and record your forward resistance readings in the spaces provided in Figure E6-5B. Notice that the negative test lead must be connected to the N-type base while the positive test lead is connected to the P-type emitter or collector. This forward biases the emitter-base junction and reverse biases the base-collector junction.
X29A829 (417-201) 2N3906 (417-874)

Figure E6-5 Circuit for testing the forward resistance of a PNP transistor (K-020 C8550C) 6. Now you will use your ohmmeter to measure the reverse resistance of the transistors emitter-base and collector-base junctions. Use the ohmmeters R x 10K or R x 100K range but this time connects the ohmmeters test leads as shown in Figure E66A. Record your reverse resistance readings in the spaces provided in Figure E6-6B.
X29A829 (417-201) 2N3906 (417-874)

Figure E6-6 Circuit for testing the reverse resistance of a PNP transistor

7. Select either of the transistors that you used in the previous steps and without looking to see if it is the NPN or PNP type place the transistor as shown in Figure E6-7, on your work surface. Assume that the leads are numbered 1,2, and 3 counting from left to right. 8. With your ohmmeter set to the R x 10k scale connect the meter as shown in Figure E6-7. Record your measurements in the space provided in Figure E6-7. If your readings are extremely high, list them in the table as high. If the readings are mid scale or below you may list them as either low or the actual reading. Measure the 6 combinations shown in the figure and record the readings for each measurement. NPN (2N3904)

0 0 6 6 0 0

Figure E6-7 Chart for recording data form step 8 9. Now use the other transistor and repeat steps 7 and 8. Record your readings in the space provided in Figure E6-8. PNP (K-020 C8550C)

6 0 0 0 0 6
Figure E6-8 Chart for recording data form step 9

Discussion
Using the ohm meter, we can determine the transistor if it is PNP or NPN transistor. On our experiment we learn on how to use the transistor and determine the resistance within. Transistor has three pins the BASE, COLLECTOR and the EMITTER. Not all cases that our base is on the middle, some are in the left or right side.

Conclusion
We therefore conclude that in every transistor there must be different resistance within it. We conclude also that when it is in forward direction the collector must be higher than the emitter and when it is in reverse direction the collector must be lower than the emitter.