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CapacitanceMultiplierPowerSupply

ForClassAAmplifiers
Introduction
SinceIhaveprovidedtheschematicforJohnLLinsleyHood'sClassAamplifier,Ifelt
thatsomereadersmaywishtoexperimentwiththeconcept.Unfortunately,averylow
ripplepowersupplyisneededforallClassAamps,andthemostcommonsolutionisto
usearegulatedsupply.Abasiccircuitisprovidedinthearticle,butitisassumedthat
thebuilderknowsallthepitfalls.Thesuppliedschematicisinfactforacapacitance
multiplierfilter(notaregulator),butissomewhatlacking(Ifeel)andcanbeimproved
dramatically.
Whiletheperformanceofatrueregulatedsupplywillbeexcellent(ifproperlydesigned
andbuilt),thereareanumberofproblemsforahighcurrent,lowrippledesignif
regulatorsareused.Twoofthemainonesare:

Theregulatedoutputvoltagemustbelowerthanthelowestpossiblevoltagefrom
therectifier/filtercombinationincludingmainsripple.Thisdependson
transformerregulationandmainsvariations.
Thecircuitmustbecapableofdissipatingallexcessvoltagefromthe
rectifier/filteratthehighestpossiblemainsvoltage.

Forthesakeoftheexercise,assumethatwewantthefollowingspecifications:

OutputVoltage20Volts(+veandve)
OutputCurrent2.5Ampsmax.(1.25Ampsaverage)
MainsVoltage220VACnominal
260VACMaximum
200VACMinimum

Thesespecificationsaretypical,sinceEuropeuses220Vmains,Australiauses240V
thevoltagescaneasilybescaledfortheUS115Vmainssupplyandallaresubjectto
variations,bothlongandshortterm.
Wearenotactuallyallthatinterestedinthemainsinputvoltage,onlythepossible
variationsoftheoutputofthetransformer/rectifier/filtercombination.

Foraregulatedoutputof20Volts,weneedaminimuminputvoltageofabout23Volts,
sincemostregulatorcircuitshavea"dropout"voltage,belowwhichtheycannot
regulate.Thisvoltageistheabsoluteminimum,includingthemainsripplewhichwillbe
superimposedontheDC(SeeFig1).NotethatforallcalculationsIamassuming50Hz
mainssupply.Theresultswillbeslightlydifferentfor60Hz(asusedintheUS),butare
notsignificant.

Figure1BasicRectifier

Oncetheregulator'sinputvoltagedropsbelowthedropoutvoltage,regulationwill
naturallyfail,andripplewillappearattheoutput.Thiswilleventuallyfinditswaytoour
ears,causingmuchmutteringandcomplaining,andrudewordssurelycannotbefar
behind!

DesignConsiderationsRegulator
Wemustassumethatthetransformer/rectifier/filterwillhavearegulationintheorder
of10%(thisisfairlytypicalforafullwavebridgerectifier).Usingthenormal1.414RMS
topeakconversion(thesquarerootof2),plusafewassumptionsbasedonexperience,
wethereforehaveourminimumrequirement:

Transformeroutput(atnoload)16.3VRMS(eachsupply)plusdiodelosses
(0.65V)=17.6V(approx)
Assume0.3Ohmequivalentseriesresistanceintransformerandrectifierdiodes
Assumeafiltercapacitanceof4700uFasaninitialvalue

Thiswillprovideanoloadvoltageofabout23.5Voltsasexpected.Whenloadedto
about2.5Amps,thiswillchange:

Outputvoltagefallsto19.5VDC(average)
Ripplevoltageisjustover1VoltRMS(1.5Voltspeak,triangularwave)
Minimumoutputvoltageisnow19.51.5Vripple=18Volts.

(Thesefiguresweresimulated,butrealitywillbesuspiciouslyclose!)
Itcanbereadilyseenthatfarmorevoltageisneededtoensurethattheminimum
voltageof23Voltsismaintained.Itturnsout(againfrommytrustysimulator)thata
transformervoltageof22VRMSisneeded,whichprovidesanaverageDCof25.4
Volts,lessabout2Voltspeakripple.Closeenough.
Nowcomesthereallynastybit!Alloftheabovemustbethecaseatthelowestpossible
mainsvoltage.Forthesakeof(my)sanity,thisisassumedtobe200VAC,soatthe
aboveworstcasemaximumof260V,the22Voutputofthetransformerisnow28.6V.At
fullload(2.5A),thisyieldsaDCvoltageofnearly35Vaverage.
Sotheregulatorwillhaveaminimuminputvoltageof25.4Volts,andamaximumof
35V,sopowerdissipationwillbe:

6.75Wattsaverageatminimuminputvoltageand1.25Aaveragecurrent
18.75Wattsaverageatmaximuminputvoltage(alsoat1.25A)
Somewhereinbetweenfornominalmainssupplyvoltagesandoutputcurrent
variations.

Notethattheabovefiguresareforthe1.25Aaverage,butpeakdissipation(at2.5A)will
bedouble,atabout37Wfortheworstcase.Thisisalotofheattodisposeof,andmust
becateredfor.Ishouldalsomentionthataminimumof200VACforanominal220Vis
probablyoptimistic(10%of220Vis22V)andinrealitywemayneedtocaterforeven
lowervoltages.Thismakestheequationevenworse!
Toaccommodatetheworstcase,theheatsinkforthepowersupplymustbecapableof
ensuringthemaximumdevicetemperatureisnotexceededatthehighestmainsvoltage
anticipated.Atno"normal"mainsvoltagemaytheregulatorcomeoutofregulation,or
severeripplewillappearattheoutput,degradingthesoundquality,andcausingaudible
hum(atdoublethemainsfrequency,andwithatriangularwaveshape,whichsounds
horrid).

CapacitanceMultiplierDesignConsiderations
Theonlyrealthingtoworryaboutisthedegreeoffilteringneeded!Wemustassume
thatatleast3Voltswillbelostacrossthecapacitancemultiplierfilter,toensurethatthe
DCinput(includingripplecomponent)alwaysexceedstheoutputvoltage.
Becausethereisnoregulation,thepoweramplifiermustbecapableofacceptingthe
voltagevariationsfromthemainseverystandardpoweramplifierinexistencedoes
thisquitehappilynow,soitisobviouslynotaproblem.Notethattheoutputpoweris
affected,butthishappenswithallamps,andcannotbeavoidedwithoutaregulator.
Wecannowdesignfornominalmainsvoltage(say220VAC),andwithverysimple
circuitry,provideafilterwhichwilldissipatenomorethanabout4Wattsinnormaluse
regardlessofmainsvoltage.Figure2showsthebasicconfigurationofacapacitance
multiplierfilter,wherethecapacitanceappearingatthebaseoftheoutputdeviceis
effectivelymultipliedbythegainofthedevicethusa1000uFcapacitorappears
(electrically)tobea1Farad(yes,1,000,000uF)cap,assumingagainof1000inthe
outputdevice.

Figure2Single(Basic)CapacitanceMultiplier

Onecouldsimplyuseapairof1Fcapsforadualsupply,butIhavenoticedadearthof
suchdevices(otherthanthe5V"Supercaps"usedformemorybackupincomputers).
Sincetheywillneedtoberatedatabout35V,andbecapableofconsiderableripple
current,Icannothelpbutfeelthatthisisnotaviableoption.
Bothmethodswillprovidearippleofwellunder5mVRMS,butthemultiplierhasthe
advantageofremovingthetriangularwaveformitisnotasinewave,buthasamuch
lowerharmoniccontentthanwouldbethecaseevenwitha1Fcapacitor.

Toobtainagainof1000foratransistor,weneedtouseaDarlingtoneitheran
encapsulatedDarlingtondevice,orapairof"ordinary"transistorsconnectedina
Darlingtonpair(SeeFigure3).Thelattermethodismypreferredoption,sinceitallows
greaterflexibilityinobtainingdevices,andwilloftenhavebetterperformance.

TheFinalDesign
Thesimplecapacitancemultiplierfilterdescribedaboveisquitesatisfactoryasa
startingpoint,butitsfinaloperatingcharacteristicsaretoodependentonthegainofthe
outputtransistors.Whatisneededisacircuitwhoseperformanceisdeterminedby
resistorsandcapacitors,andwhichisrelativelyindependentofactivedevices(although
thesewillstillhaveanimpactonthedegreeoffilteringprovided).Wecanalsoimprove
theripplerejection,andthefinalcircuitforadualsupplyisshowninFigure3.This
circuitreducesrippletolessthan200uVwithtypicaldevices(160uVassimulated),and
dissipateslessthan4Wattsperoutputtransistorat1.25Acontinuousoperating
current.Itisunlikelythatyouwillachievethislowhumlevelinpractice,sincerealwire
hasresistance.However,withcarefullayoutyoushouldeasilybeabletokeepthe
outputhumandnoisetolessthan10mV,andthislevelismorethanacceptableforany
powerampapplication.
Bysplittingthecapacitancewithanadditionalresistor,wecreateasecondorderfilter
(12dB/octaverolloff),whichreducesthehummoreeffectively,andalsoremovesmore
ofthehigherorderharmonics(whichtendtomakea"hum"intoa"buzz"muchmore
audibleandobjectionable).Theresistortogroundstabilizesthecircuitagainst
variationsintransistorgain,butincreasesdissipationslightly.Thisisdonedeliberately
toensurethatthereissufficientvoltageacrossthemultipliertoallowforshortterm
variations.
The12kresistorshownmayneedtobeadjustedtosuityourtransistorsandsupply
voltage.Reducingthevalueincreasesdissipationintheoutputdevicesandlowers
outputvoltage.Itisunlikelythatanybenefitwillbeobtainedbyincreasingthisresistor,
otherthanincreasedhum(hardlyabenefit).

Figure3CompleteDualCapacitanceMultiplier

Thisisaneasydesigntobuild,butrequiresgreatcaretoensurethatripplecurrentsare
notsuperimposedontheoutputbecauseofbadgroundingorpowerwiringpractices.
Theschematicisdrawntoshowhowthegroundsofthevariouscomponentsshouldbe
interconnected,usinga"star"topology.Ifthisisnotfollowed,thenexcessivehumwill
betheresult.
Thepreviousdrawing(whichyoumayhavedownloadedorprinted)showedthebridge
outputnotdirectlyconnectedtothemainfiltercapacitorsthiswasnotmyoriginal
intention,andthecorrectmethodisshownabove.Normally,inaschematicdiagram
theideaistoshowtheconnections,ratherthanthephysicalcircuitlayout.Thisdiagram
isanexception,andthephysicallayoutshouldmatchtheschematic(inasmuchasthat
ispossible,atleast).
Notethatthetransformeriscentertapped,andrequiresequalvoltageoneachsidein
thiscase,somewherebetween18and22VAC.Itismostimportantthatthecentertap
isconnectedtothecommonofthetwoinputfiltercapacitors(4700uF),andthatthis
commonconnectionisasshortaspossible.Useofasolidcopperbartojointhecapsis
recommended.Likewise,asolidcopperdisk(orsquare)issuggestedforthecommon
ground,tiedascloselyaspossibletothecapacitorcentertap.Theresistanceofthe
mainearthconnectioniscriticaltoensureminimumhumattheoutput,anditcannotbe
toolow.

Becausethecircuitissosimple,aprintedcircuitboardisnotneeded,andall
componentscanbeconnectedwithsimplepointtopointwiring.Keepallleadsasshort
aspossible,withoutcompromisingthestargrounding.Forconvenience,thedriver
transistorsmaybemountedontheheatsink,whichdoesnotneedtobemassivea
sinkwithathermalresistanceofabout5degreesCperWatt(orbetter)shouldbequite
adequate(oneforeachoutputdevice).Rememberthatthelowerthethermal
resistance,thecoolereverythingwillrunthisimprovesreliability.
Increasingthecapacitance(especiallyattheinput)isrecommended,andIwould
suggest10,000uFastheidealinsteadofthe4700uFshown.Thiswillreducehumeven
further,andprovidegreaterstabilityagainstshorttermmainsvoltagechanges.
IncreasedoutputcapacitancewillhelpwhenpoweringClassABamplifiers,toaccount
fortheirsuddencurrentdemands.Idonotrecommendmorethan4,700uF,asthe
chargingcurrentwillbeveryhigh.
Althoughgenerictransistortypes(suchasthe2N3055)canbeused,itisbetterif
deviceswithsomewhatmorestablecharacteristics(fromonedevicetothenext)are
used.Plastic(T0220)devicesarefinefortheoutputasshown,butifhighervoltageor
currentisneededyoumighthavetouseTO3types.
Forthecomponents,Iwouldsuggestthefollowingasastartingpoint(orequivalents):

Output
Transistors
Drivers
Resistors
Diodes
Electors

TIP3055(TIP2955forthevesupply)

BD139(BD140forthevesupply)
1/4Wmetalfilmforallresistors
1N4001orsimilar
Nosuggestions,butmakesurethattheiroperatingvoltagewillnotbe
exceeded,andobservepolarity.(Bypassingwithpolyesterisnotreally
necessary,butifitmakesyoufeelbetter,doit)
Bridge
20to35AAmpbridgeisrecommended.Thisisoverkill,butpeakcurrents
rectifier
arehigh,especiallywithlargevaluecapacitors.Alsoensuresminimum
diodelossesatnormalcurrents.
Transformer Useatoroidal.Power(VA)ratingforsupplyasshownshouldbeas
requiredfortheamplifier.Adual20WClassAampwillideallyhavea
minimumtransformerratingof200VA5timestheamplifierpower.(Note
thatVAissometimesincorrectlyquotedinwatts).Primaryvoltageis
naturallydependentuponwhereyoulive.

Matchingtheoutputanddrivertransistorsisnotbenecessary,butwillresultin
marginallyimprovedperformanceifdone.Usedeviceswiththehighestgainpossiblefor
bestresults.
Tousetheabovecircuitinsingleendedmode,thetransformerwillneedonlyasingle
winding(orparalleledsidingsifthisispossible).Simplywirethetransformerandbridge
asshowninFigure2,andleaveoffthenegativemultipliercircuit(i.e.everythingbelow
thecommongroundpoint).

UsingACapacitanceMultiplierFilterWithClassABAmps
NotethatthiscircuitisquitesuitableforClassABamplifiers,butsincetheircurrent
requirementsvarysowidelyaddinga(much?)largercapacitancetotheoutput,isa
must.Thediodeisrecommendedasshowntopreventthepossibilityofreversebiasing
(anddestroying)thetransistor(s)whenpowerisremoved.
Thebenefitsofsuchfilteringaresubtle,butworththeeffort.Manypowerampsarenow
builtwithtrulymassivecapacitanceaftertherectifier.Thisreduceshumwhichis
introducedintothesignalduringloudpassages.Intheory,thisisinaudiblebutifso,
whydoampswithverylargecapacitorbanksalwaysseemtosoundbetter?(Orsothe
reviewerskeeptellingus.)IfyouaredesirousoftryingthiscircuitwithaClassABamp,I
wouldstronglyrecommendthattheinputtooutputvoltagedifferentialbeincreased
(reducethe12kresistortodothis),oryouareunlikelytobepleasedwiththeresult.
Foroptimumperformance(dependingonoutputvoltage,thecurrentvariation,etc),I
wouldsuggestthatadifferentialof6Vto10VshouldbeOK,dependinguponthepower
oftheamp.Dissipationwillneedtobecalculated(ormeasured),andrememberthat
ClassABampscan(anddo)createpeakcurrentswhichcanbeveryhighindeed.For
the20V(nominal)supplyshown,peakcurrentintoan8ohmloadis2.5A(whichwas
thedesigngoalinthefirstplace),butifthevoltageisincreased,peakcurrentsincrease
inproportion.
Asanexample,considera100Wamp(8ohms).Peakcurrentintoaresistiveloadis
about3.6A,butwhendrivenintoatypicalspeakerload(whoseimpedancedipsto(say)
3ohms),thepeakcurrentwillbe9.6A.
Thisisnotmerespeculation,butharshrealitysuchpeakcurrentsarequitecommon
oneofthereasonsmanymanufacturersquotethepeakoutputcurrentoftheiramps.
Thesespecs.canbeashighas40Amps(fora100Wunit),whichisprobablyoverkill,
butshouldberemembered.

Itmustberememberedthatthiscircuitactsinamannerverysimilartoaregulatorjust
withouttheregulation.Iftheoutputcurrentishighlytransientinnature,thecircuitwill
allowhumtopassiftheinputvoltagesuddenlydropsduetoincreasedload(inthe
samewayaregulatorwill).
Alsonotethatthesupplyvoltagetothepoweramp(s)willbemodulatedbythe
instantaneouscurrentdrainoftheamp(whichhappenswith"conventional"supplies
too).Maintainingavoltagedifferentialsufficienttoaccommodatethesevariationsis
imperative.

Iqbal uddin Khan


92-321-9207460
Iqbalsound@yahoo.com
http://asia.groups.yahoo.com/group/Engineers_Electronics_Pakistan/