Quantcast Resonant circuits as filter circuits communications, and the various other electronic fields throughout the Navy. As you have seen, by making the capacitance or inductance variable, the frequency at which a circuit will resonate can be controlled. ">

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The principle of series- or parallel-resonant circuits have many applications in radio, television, communications, and the various other electronic fields throughout the Navy. As you have seen, by making the capacitance or inductance variable, the frequency at which a circuit will resonate can be controlled.

In addition to station selecting or tuning, resonant circuits can separate currents of certain frequencies from those of other frequencies.

Circuits in which resonant circuits are used to do this are called FILTER


If we can select the proper values of resistors, inductors, or capacitors, a FILTER NETWORK, or "frequency selector," can be produced which offers little opposition to one frequency, while BLOCKING or ATTENUATING other frequencies. A filter network can also be designed that will "pass" a band of frequencies and "reject" all other frequencies.

Most electronic circuits require the use of filters in one form or another. You have already studied several in modules 6, 7, and 8 of the NEETS.

One example of a filter being applied is in a rectifier circuit. As you know, an alternating voltage is changed by the rectifier to a direct current. However, the d.c. voltage is not pure; it is still pulsating and fluctuating. In other words, the signal still has an a.c. component in addition to the d.c. voltage. By feeding the signal through simple filter networks, the a.c. component is reduced. The remaining d.c. is as pure as the designers require.

Bypass capacitors, which you have already studied, are part of filter networks that, in effect, bypass, or shunt, unwanted a.c. components to ground.


Several times in this chapter, we have discussed "ideal" or theoretically perfect circuits. In each case, you found that resistance kept our circuits from being perfect. You also found that low resistance in tuners was better than high resistance. Now you will learn about a factor that, in effect, measures just how close to perfect a tuner or tuner component can be. This same factor affects BANDWIDTH and SELECTIVITY. It can be used in figuring voltage across a coil or capacitor in a series-resonant circuit and the amount of circulating (tank) current in a parallel-resonant circuit. This factor is very important and useful to designers. Technicians should have some knowledge of the factor because it affects so many things. The factor is known as Q. Some say it stands for quality (or merit). The higher the Q, the better the circuit; the lower the losses (I2R), the closer the circuit is to being perfect.

Having studied the first part of this chapter, you should not be surprised to learn that resistance (R) has a great effect on this figure of merit or quality.

Q Is a Ratio

Q is really very simple to understand if you think back to the tuned-circuit principles just covered. Inductance and capacitance are in all tuners. Resistance is an impurity that causes losses. Therefore, components that provide the reactance with a minimum of resistance are "purer" (more perfect) than those with higher resistance. The actual measure of this purity, merit, or quality must include the two basic quantities, X and R.

The ratio

does the job for us. Let's take a look at it and see just why it measures quality.

First, if a perfect circuit has zero resistance, then our ratio should give a very high value of Q to reflect the high quality of the circuit. Does it?

Assume any value for X and a zero value for R.


Remember, any value divided by zero equals infinity. Thus, our ratio is infinitely high for a theoretically perfect circuit.

With components of higher resistance, the Q is reduced. Dividing by a larger number always yields a smaller quantity. Thus, lower quality components produce a lower Q. Q, then, is a direct and accurate measure of the quality of an LC circuit.

Q is just a ratio. It is always just a number - no units. The higher the number, the "better" the circuit. Later as you get into more practical circuits, you may find that low Q may be desirable to provide certain characteristics. For now, consider that higher is better.

Because capacitors have much, much less resistance in them than inductors, the Q of a circuit is very often expressed as the Q of the coil or:

The answer you get from using this formula is very near correct for most purposes. Basically, the Q of a capacitor is so high that it does not limit the Q of the circuit in any practical way. For that reason, the technician may ignore it.

The Q of a Coil

Q is a feature that is designed into a coil. When the coil is used within the frequency range for which it is designed, Q is relatively constant. In this sense, it is a physical characteristic.

Inductance is a result of the physical makeup of a coil - number of turns, core, type of winding, etc. Inductance governs reactance at a given frequency. Resistance is inherent in the length, size, and material of the wire. Therefore, the Q of a coil is mostly dependent on physical characteristics.

Values of Q that are in the hundreds are very practical and often found in typical equipment.

Application of Q

For the most part, Q is the concern of designers, not technicians. Therefore, the chances of you having to figure the Q of a coil are remote. However, it is important for you to know some circuit relationships that are affected by Q.

Q Relationships in Series Circuits

Q can be used to determine the "gain" of series-resonant circuits. Gain refers to the fact that at resonance, the voltage drop across the reactances are greater than the applied voltage. Remember, when we applied Ohm's law in a series-resonant circuit, it gave us the following characteristics:

Low impedance, high current. High current; high voltage across the comparatively high reactances.

This high voltage is usable where little power is required, such as in driving the grid of a vacuum tube or the gate of a field effect transistor (F.E.T.). The gain of a properly designed series-resonant circuit may be as great or greater than the amplification within the amplifier itself. The gain is a function of Q, as shown in the following example:

If the Q of the coil were 100, then the gain would be 100; that is, the voltage of the coil would be 100 times that of the input voltage to the series circuit.

Resistance affects the resonance curve of a series circuit in two ways - the lower the resistance, the higher the current; also, the lower the resistance, the sharper the curve. Because low resistance causes high Q, these two facts are usually expressed as functions of Q. That is, the higher the Q, the higher and sharper the curve and the more selective the circuit.

The lower the Q (because of higher resistance), the lower the current curve; therefore, the broader the curve, the less selective the circuit. A summary of the major characteristics of series RLC-circuits at resonance is given in table 1-1.

Table 1-1. - Major Characteristics of Series RLC Circuits at Resonance

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 X 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.

Table 1-2. - Major Characteristics of Parallel RLC Circuits at Resonance

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.

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