Dr. Ahmed G. Abo-Khalil

Electrical Engineering Department

Class-B amplifiers

Class-B amplifiers

Class-B amplifiers only amplify half of the input wave cycle, thus creating a large amount of distortion, but their efficiency is greatly improved and is much better than class A. Class-B amplifiers are also favoured in battery-operated devices, such as transistor radios. Class B has a maximum theoretical efficiency of π/4. (≈ 78.5%) This is because the amplifying element is switched off altogether half of the time, and so cannot dissipate power. A single class-B element is rarely found in practice, though it has been used for driving the loudspeaker in the early IBM Personal Computers with beeps, and it can be used in RF power amplifier where the distortion levels are less important. However, class C is more commonly used for this.

A practical circuit using class-B elements is the push–pull stage, such as the very simplified complementary pair arrangement shown below. Here, complementary or quasi-complementary devices are each used for amplifying the opposite halves of the input signal, which is then recombined at the output. This arrangement gives excellent efficiency, but can suffer from the drawback that there is a small mismatch in the cross-over region – at the "joins" between the two halves of the signal, as one output device has to take over supplying power exactly as the other finishes. This is called crossover distortion. An improvement is to bias the devices so they are not completely off when they're not in use. This approach is called class AB operation.

To obtain output at full input cycle,push-pull configuration is used,that is two active device are used wherein each conducts for opposite half cycle and the combined operation provides full cycle of the output signal. Class B amplifiers offer higher efficiency than class A amplifier using a single active device.

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