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2/26/2017 DesigningJFETAudioPreAmplifiers

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DesignGuidelinesforJFETAudioPreamplifierCircuits
ByMikeMartell
N1HFX


TheJunctionFieldEffectTransistor(JFET)
offersveryhighinputimpedancealongwithvery
lownoisefigures.Itisverysuitablefor
extremelylowlevelaudioapplicationsasin
audiopreamplifiers.TheJFETismore
expensivethanconventionalbipolartransistors
butofferssuperioroverallperformance.Unlike
bipolartransistors,currentcanflowthroughthe
drainandsourceinanydirectionequally.Often
thedrainandsourcecanbereversedinacircuit
withalmostnoeffectoncircuitoperation.

Transconductance

TheabilityofaJFETtoamplifyisdescribedastransconductanceandismerelythechangein
draincurrentdividedbythechangeingatevoltage.ItisindicatedasMhosorSiemensandis
typically2.5mmhosto7.5mmhosfortheMPF102transistor.Becauseofthehighinputimpedance,
thegateisconsideredanopencircuitanddrawsnopowerfromthesource.Althoughvoltagegain
appearslowinaJFET,powergainisalmostinfinite.

DrainCharacteristics

Eventhoughnovoltageappearsatthegate,asubstantialamountofcurrentwillflowfromthedrain
tothesource.Infact,theJFETdoesnotactuallyturnoffuntilthegategoesseveralvoltsnegative.
ThiszerogatevoltagecurrentthroughthedraintothesourceishowthebiasissetintheJFET.
ResistorR3,whichislistedintheabovediagram,merelysetstheinputimpedanceandinsures
zerovoltsappearsacrossthegatewithnosignal.ResistorR3doesalmostnothingfortheactual
biasingvoltagesofthecircuit.Whenthegatevoltagegoespositive,draincurrentwillincreaseuntil
theminimumdraintosourceresistanceisobtainedandisindicatedbelow:

MinimumRds(on)orOnStateResistance

Theabovevaluecanbedeterminedbyreadingspecificationsheetsfortheselectedtransistor.In
caseswhereitisnotknown,itissafetoassumeitiszero.Theotherimportantcharacteristicisthe
absolutemaximumdraincurrent.Listedbelowareabsolutemaximumdraincurrentsforsome
commonNchanneltransistors:

MPF10220ma
2N381922ma
2N441615ma

WhendesigningaJFETcircuit,itishighlyrecommendedtopreventtheabsolutemaximumcurrent
frombeingexceededunderanyconditions.Indesigncalculations.neverusemorethan75%ofthe
maximumdraincurrentasspecifiedbythemanufacturer.

JFETDesignExample1

Forthefirstdesignexample,wewilluseanMPF102transistorwithaVccof12volts.Wewillallow
nomorethan5maofdraincurrentunderanycircumstances.ForresistorR3,thegateresistor,we
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2/26/2017 DesigningJFETAudioPreAmplifiers

willuse1Megforaveryhighimpedanceacrossthegate.Thegateresistorisnormallyanywhere
from1Megto100K.ThehighervaluesallowtheJFETtoamplifyveryweaksignalsbutrequire
measurestopreventoscillations.Thelowervaluesenhancestabilitybuttendtodecreasegain.
Sometimesthevalueofthisresistorneedstobeadjustedforimpedancematchingdependingon
thetypeofsignalsourceinvolved.Becausewewillonlyallow5maofcurrentthroughthedrainto
source,wewillcalculatethetotalresistanceforresistorsR1andR2.WewillassumetheMinimum
Rds(on)tobezero.

Vcc=12
MinimumRds(on)=0
Ids=5ma

(Vcc(MinimumRds(on)*Ids))/Ids=TotalResistanceofR1andR2
(12(0*.005))/.005=2400ohms

TocalculateR2,wemustselectthedesiredvoltagedropacrossthisresistor.itisnormallyset
between20to30%ofVcc.ForthisexamplewewillsetR2to25%ofthesupplyvoltage(minusany
voltagedroppedacrossthedrainandsource)asfollows:

R2=.25*TotalResistanceofR1andR2
R2=.25*2400=600ohms(neareststandardvalueis560ohms)
R2=560ohms

R1cannowbeeasilycalculatedbysubtractingR2fromthetotalresistanceasfollows:

R1=TotalResistanceR2
R1=2400600=1800ohms

Topreventoscillationsa10ohmresistor
anda100ufcapacitorwereaddedtoisolate
thecircuitfromthepowersupply.A.1uf
capacitorwasusedforinputcouplinganda
4.7ufcapacitorwasusedforoutput
coupling.Slightlylargerorsmallercapacitor
valueswillalsogiveacceptableresults.The
optional4.7ufcapacitorwhichbypassesR2
isusedtoobtainthemaximumamountof
gainthetransistorwilldeliver.Theaddition
ofthiscapacitormayintroduceasmall
amountofunwantedwhitenoiseandshould
onlybeusedwhenanabsolutelyquiet
preamplifierisnotrequired.

JFETDesignExample2

Intheseconddesignexample,wewilluseanMPF102transistortoaddanadditionalstageof
amplificationtoourcircuit.Wewillmakethefollowingassumptions:

R3=1Meg
Vcc=12
MinimumRds(on)=0
Ids=7ma

(Vcc(MinimumRds(on)*Ids))/Ids=TotalresistanceofR1andR2
(12(0*.007))/.007=1714ohms

WewillassumeR2tohave25%ofthesupplyvoltage.

R2=.25*TotalofR1andR2
R2=.25*1714=429ohms(use470)
R2=470

R1=TotalResistanceR2
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R1=1714429=1285ohms(use1200)
R1=1200ohms

A4.7ufcapacitorwasusedforinputcoupling
anda10ufcapacitorwasusedforoutput
coupling.Slightlylargerorsmallercapacitor
valueswillalsogiveacceptableresults.The
optional10ufcapacitorwhichbypassesR2
isusedtoobtainthemaximumamountof
gainthetransistorwilldeliver.


ByputtingourtwocircuitstogetherwenowhaveatwotransistorJFETaudiopreamplifierwith
excellentgainandverylowdistortion.A10Klevelcontrolwasaddedtocompletethepreamplifier
circuit.Ifyoudecidetousea2N3819beawarethatthepinoutisdifferentthanotherJFET
transistors


DEN1HFX

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