RC Filters. Series Resonance and
Quality Factor. Matching. Soldering.
Review the following sections in your text:
1. Section 3.1 – Complex Numbers.
2. Section 3.2 – Exponential Function.
3. Section 3.3 – Phasors.
4. Section 3.4 – Impedance. RC Filters
The sinusoidal steady state (aka time harmonic) is an extremely
useful domain to work in. This is especially true for linear,
Advantages of sinusoidal steady state:
• Impedance can be used,
• Circuit analysis is simpler,
• Characterize filters, etc.
Let’s consider two examples. Both involve series connections of
a resistor and a capacitor.
(1) Low pass filter
As the frequency of the input sinusoidal voltage changes, the
magnitude (and phase) of the output voltage changes.
A low pass filter is used in the NorCal 40A near the transmitter
output (which is also the receiver input). This low pass filter is
called the Harmonic Filter, but it is not constructed from R and
C elements. It uses L and C elements instead (see Ch. 5).
From the above circuit
With ? = RC, then
Now, the cutoff frequency ?c of a low- (or high-) pass filter occurs when
This is also called the half-power frequency, for obvious
reasons. From the denominator of (3.74), we see that ?c is
Note these two special regions of operation for the low-pass
(a) Low f, where f<< fc . From (3.74), V ?Vi ,
(b) High f, where f<< fc . From (3.74), V ?Vi/j??.
The frequency response of this filter is shown below
There are no high pass filters in the NorCal 40A, to the best of
my knowledge. From the above circuit, we can easily determine that
In the two special regions of operation for the high-pass filter:
(a) Low f, where f << fc , V ? j??Vi ,
(b) High f, where f<< fc , V ?Vi . Series Resonant Circuits
In addition to the low pass filter, another very common type of
filter in communications electronics is the bandpass filter. (The
opposite is the bandstop, or “notch,” filter.)
The series RLC circuit in Fig. 3.6 is one example of a bandpass
In the frequency domain (sinusoidal steady state)
In the denominator X =? L ?1/?C is the sum of the (signed)
reactances in the circuit. Notice that at
(i) low f, X is large due to the capacitive reactance,
(ii) high f, X is again large, but now due to the inductive
In either case, V in (1) will be small due to this large impedance.
However, in-between these extremes X can be small. In fact, X
becomes zero at the special frequency ?0 = 2? f0 , which we can find as
This frequency f0 is called the resonant frequency
At the resonant frequency f0, from (1) we find that
Note that this is true regardless of R. (Interesting.)
Away from f0, X increases and V drops. There are two
frequencies on either side of f0 where the reactance magnitude
X equals the resistance R in the circuit. These frequencies fu
and fl are the upper and lower half-power frequencies, as shown
in the figure above.
The ratio of the reactance of L or C at the resonance frequency
to the resistance in a series resonant circuit is called the Quality
Factor Qs (see p. 60 of the text):
Also, as we’ve discussed in a previous lecture,
That is, Q is the ratio of the resonant frequency divided by the 3-
dB frequency bandwidth.
A series RLC circuit is used as the RF Filter in the NorCal 40A.
(See Fig. 1.13 and the circuit on the front flap.) You’ll start the
construction of this filter in Prob. 8. Recall that in a superhet
receiver, the Q of this filter doesn’t need to be all that large to
reject the VFO image (see Figs. 1.11 and 1.12).
The Q of discrete RLC circuits is typically less than 100.
Remarkably, the Q of quartz crystals is on the order of 100,000.
This is the “unloaded” Q, meaning the crystal is not connected
to other circuit components. Reactive-Element Voltages in Resonant Circuits
It is very interesting to examine the voltages across reactive
elements in a resonant circuit near the resonance frequency. For
the sake of this investigation, we’ll again look at a series
The voltage across the capacitor is
At the resonance frequency ? =?0 the sum of the L and C impedances are
J?0 L +1 j?0 C = 0
Substituting this into (7) gives
Using the definition of Qs in (6) for this series resonant circuit,
(8) can be expressed as
Vc| ? =-jQsVin
In a resonant circuit with 1 s Q > , we can see from (9) that the
voltage across the capacitor will be larger than the input voltage!
In a high-Q circuit, this voltage can become very large.
Consequently, the reactive components in high-Q circuits must
be selected to withstand this voltage without damage.
We can use (9) as an alternative definition of Q. That is, Qs is
the ratio of the capacitor and source voltage magnitudes at the
resonant frequency. Further, since
VL| ?=- Vc| ?
then Qs is also the ratio of the inductor and source voltage
magnitudes at the resonant frequency. Lastly, it is curious to note that because of (10), V1 in the above circuit equals zero at the resonant frequency Matching Networks
As mentioned on p. 66 of the text, it is useful to design
amplifiers with low output impedance. Why? Consider this
Now, note that if R s<< RL , then
Very interesting. We see here that if the “output” resistance (the
“look back” resistance) is small wrt the load, then the output
power is inversely proportional to RL.
What’s the consequence of this? If Pout = 1 W with RL = 50 ?,
for example, then we would expect to increase Pout to 10 W by
lowering RL to 5 ?. This would only be true if Rs<<5 ?.
A matching network is used to transform an impedance from
one value to another. One use of such a network would be to
lower the impedance seen by an amplifier for increased output
Matching networks have many applications, many of which
revolve around impedance matching.
A simple L-matching network is shown in
This network is used in Prob. 14 for impedance matching
between the IF Filter and Product Detector.
A disadvantage to this type of matching network is that is
narrow banded. That is, it works well only within a small
frequency band centered at the design frequency of the matching
In Prob. 7, you will develop important equations that allow you
to transform a two-element parallel circuit to an equivalent
series one. You will use this later in the course.
As discussed in Prob. 7, you can use Q as a tool in this
derivation. (Actually, I did not approach the problem this way,
though the Q’s will end up being equal.) Soldering and Desoldering Tips
o Use the Weller soldering stations located in EP 338.
o Adjust the soldering station to 700 ºF. Wait for a flashing
red LED before soldering.
o The iron is very hot! Be careful.
o Place the PCB in the Panavise. Solder on the bottom of the
o To solder:
o Touch the tip of the soldering iron simultaneously to
the pad on the PCB and the component lead. Wait a
second or two, then touch solder to the connections.
The solder is thin, so you may need to melt a ¼ inch
section or so.
o Remove the solder.
o Leave the iron to heat the joint for a moment or two.
o Remove the iron.
o The solder joint should be relatively shiny.
O Run the soldering tip across the wet sponge to clean it up.
O Don’t leave the iron on for more than a few minutes. It will
warm up quickly when you turn it back on.
o To desolder with braid, turn the board over to view the
bottom. Place the braid over the joint and heat with the
iron. The solder will be “soaked” up by the braid. Use
needle nose pliers on the other side of the board to loosen
the component. This takes practice. Trim off used braid
with side cutters. (You can also use a desoldering pump.)
o Wash hands when finished to remove lead from your