Q Relationships in a Parallel-Resonant Circuit
There is no voltage gain in a parallel-resonant circuit because voltage is the same across all parts of a parallel circuit. However, Q helps give us a measure of the current that circulates in the tank.
Again, if the Q were 100, the circulating current would be 100 times the value of the line current. This may help explain why some of the wire sizes are very large in high-power amplifying circuits.
The impedance curve of a parallel-resonant circuit is also affected by the Q of the circuit in a manner similar to the current curve of a series circuit. The Q of the circuit determines how much the impedance is increased across the parallel-LC circuit. (Z = Q ´ XL)
The higher the Q, the greater the impedance at resonance and the sharper the curve. The lower the Q, the lower impedance at resonance; therefore, the broader the curve, the less selective the circuit. The major characteristics of parallel-RLC circuits at resonance are given in table 1-2.
Summary of Q
The ratio that is called Q is a measure of the quality of resonant circuits and circuit components. Basically, the value of Q is an inverse function of electrical power dissipated through circuit resistance. Q is the ratio of the power stored in the reactive components to the power dissipated in the resistance. That is, high power loss is low Q; low power loss is high Q.
Circuit designers provide the proper Q. As a technician, you should know what can change Q and what quantities in a circuit are affected by such a change.
If circuit Q is low, the gain of the circuit at resonance is relatively small. The circuit does not discriminate sharply (reject the unwanted frequencies) between the resonant frequency and the frequencies on either side of resonance, as shown by the curve in figure 1-12, view (A). The range of frequencies included between the two frequencies (426.4 kHz and 483.6 kHz in this example) at which the current drops to 70 percent of its maximum value at resonance is called the BANDWIDTH of the circuit.
It is often necessary to state the band of frequencies that a circuit will pass. The following standard has been set up: the limiting frequencies are those at either side of resonance at which the curve falls to a point of .707 (approximately 70 percent) of the maximum value. This point is called the HALF-POWER point. Note that in figure 1-12, the series-resonant circuit has two half-power points, one above and one below the resonant frequency point. The two points are designated upper frequency cutoff (fco) and lower frequency cutoff (fco) or simply f1 and f2. The range of frequencies between these two points comprises the bandwidth. Views (A) and (B) of figure 1-12 illustrate the bandwidths for low- and high-Q resonant circuits. The bandwidth may be determined by use of the following formulas:
If Q equals 7.95 for the low-Q circuit as in view (A) of figure 1-12, we can check our original calculation of the bandwidth.
The Q of the circuit can be determined by transposing the formula for bandwidth to:
To find the Q of the circuit using the information found in the last example problem:
Q-12. What is the relationship of the coil to the resistance of a circuit with high "Q"?
Q-13. What is the band of frequencies called that is included between the two points at which current falls to 70 percent of its maximum value in a resonant circuit?
In many practical applications of complex circuits, various combinations of direct, low-frequency, audio-frequency, and radio-frequency currents may exist. It is frequently necessary to have a means for separating these component currents at any desired point. An electrical device for accomplishing this separation is called a FILTER.
A filter circuit consists of inductance, capacitance, and resistance used singularly or in combination, depending upon the purpose. It may be designed so that it will separate alternating current from direct current, or so that it will separate alternating current of one frequency (or a band of frequencies) from other alternating currents of different frequencies.
The use of resistance by itself in filter circuits does not provide any filtering action, because it opposes the flow of any current regardless of its frequency. What it does, when connected in series or parallel with an inductor or capacitor, is to decrease the "sharpness," or selectivity, of the filter. Hence, in some particular application, resistance might be used in conjunction with inductance or capacitance to provide filtering action over a wider band of frequencies.
Filter circuits may be divided into four general types: LOW-PASS, HIGH-PASS, BANDPASS, AND BAND-REJECT filters.
Electronic circuits often have currents of different frequencies. The reason is that a source produces current with the same frequency as the applied voltage. As an example, the a.c. signal input to an audio amplifier can have high- and low-audio frequencies; the input to an rf amplifier can have a wide range of radio frequencies.
In such applications where the current has different frequency components, it is usually necessary for the filter either to accept or reject one frequency or a group of frequencies. The electronic filter that can pass on the higher-frequency components to a load or to the next circuit is known as a HIGH-PASS filter. A LOW-PASS filter can be used to pass on lower-frequency components.
Before discussing filters further, we will review and apply some basic principles of the frequency- response characteristics of the capacitor and the inductor. Recall the basic formula for capacitive reactance and inductive reactance:
Assume any given value of L and C. If we increase the applied frequency, XC decreases and XL increases. If we increase the frequency enough, the capacitor acts as a short and the inductor acts as an open. Of course, the opposite is also true. Decreasing frequency causes XC to increase and XL to decrease. Here again, if we make a large enough change, XC acts as an open and XL acts as a short. Figure 1-13 gives a pictorial representation of these two basic components and how they respond to low and high frequencies.
Figure 1-13.—Effect of frequency on capacitive and inductive reactance.
If we apply these same principles to simple circuits, such as the ones in figure 1-14, they affect input signals as shown. For example, in view (A) of the figure, a low frequency is blocked by the capacitor which acts as an open and at a high frequency the capacitor acts as a short. By studying the figure, it is easy to see how the various components will react in different configurations with a change in frequency.
As mentioned before, high-pass and low-pass filters pass the specific frequencies for which circuits are designed.
There can be a great deal of confusion when talking about high-pass, low-pass, discrimination, attenuation, and frequency cutoff, unless the terms are clearly understood. Since these terms are used widely throughout electronics texts and references, you should have a clear understanding before proceeding further.
- · HIGH-PASS FILTER. A high-pass filter passes on a majority of the high frequencies to the next circuit and rejects or attenuates the lower frequencies. Sometimes it is called a low-frequency discriminator or low-frequency attenuator.
- · LOW-PASS FILTER. A low-pass filter passes on a majority of the low frequencies to the next circuit and rejects or attenuates the higher frequencies. Sometimes it is called a high-frequency discriminator or high-frequency attenuator.
- · DISCRIMINATION. The ability of the filter circuit to distinguish between high and low frequencies and to eliminate or reject the unwanted frequencies.
- · ATTENUATION. The ability of the filter circuit to reduce the amplitude of the unwanted frequencies below the level of the desired output frequency.
- · FREQUENCY CUTOFF (fco). The frequency at which the filter circuit changes from the point of rejecting the unwanted frequencies to the point of passing the desired frequency; OR the point at which the filter circuit changes from the point of passing the desired frequency to the point of rejecting the undesired frequencies.
A low-pass filter passes all currents having a frequency below a specified frequency, while opposing all currents having a frequency above this specified frequency. This action is illustrated in its ideal form in view (A) of figure 1-15. At frequency cutoff, known as fc the current decreases from maximum to zero. At all frequencies above fc the filter presents infinite opposition and there is no current. However, this sharp division between no opposition and full opposition is impossible to attain. A more practical graph of the current is shown in view (B), where the filter gradually builds up opposition as the cutoff frequency
(f) is approached. Notice that the filter cannot completely block current above the cutoff frequency.
View (A) of figure 1-16 shows the electrical construction of a low-pass filter with an inductor inserted in series with one side of a line carrying both low and high frequencies. The opposition offered by the reactance will be small at the lower frequencies and great at the higher frequencies. In order to divert the undesired high frequencies back to the source, a capacitor must be added across the line to bypass the higher frequencies around the load, as shown in view (B).
The capacitance of the capacitor must be such that its reactance will offer little opposition to frequencies above a definite value, and great opposition to frequencies below this value. By combining the series inductance and bypass capacitance, as shown in view (C), the simplest type of low-pass filter is obtained. At point P, a much higher opposition is offered to the low frequencies by the capacitor than by the inductor, and most of the low-frequency current takes the path of least opposition. On the other hand,
the least amount of opposition is offered to the high frequencies by the capacitor, and most of the high- frequency energy returns to the source through the capacitor.
A high-pass filter circuit passes all currents having a frequency higher than a specified frequency, while opposing all currents having a frequency lower than its specified frequency. This is illustrated in figure 1-17. A capacitor that is used in series with the source of both high and low frequencies, as shown in view (A) of figure 1-18, will respond differently to high-frequency, low-frequency, and direct currents. It will offer little opposition to the passage of high-frequency currents, great opposition to the passage of low-frequency currents, and completely block direct currents. The value of the capacitor must be chosen so that it allows the passage of all currents having frequencies above the desired value, and opposes those having frequencies below the desired value. Then, in order to shunt the undesired low-frequency currents back to the source, an inductor is used, as shown in view (B). This inductor must have a value that will allow it to pass currents having frequencies below the frequency cutoff point, and reject currents having frequencies above the frequency cutoff point, thus forcing them to pass through the capacitor. By combining inductance and capacitance, as shown in view (C), you obtain the simplest type of high-pass filter. At point P most of the high-frequency energy is passed on to the load by the capacitor, and most of the low-frequency energy is shunted back to the source through the inductor.