Quantcast Counters - Page 37l blocking oscillator to produce trigger pulses which are a submultiple of the frequency of the pulses applied. In this case the circuit acts as a frequency divider. ">

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A counting circuit receives uniform pulses representing units to be counted. It provides a voltage that is proportional to the frequency of the units.

With slight modification, the counting circuit can be used with a blocking oscillator to produce trigger pulses which are a submultiple of the frequency of the pulses applied. In this case the circuit acts as a frequency divider.

The pulses applied to the counting circuit must be of the same time duration if accurate frequency division is to be made. Counting circuits are generally preceded by shaping circuits and limiting circuits (both discussed in this chapter) to ensure uniformity of amplitude and pulse width. Under those conditions, the pulse repetition frequency is the only variable and frequency variations may be measured.

Q.24 Name a common application of counting circuits.answer.gif (214 bytes)

Positive Counters

The POSITIVE-DIODE COUNTER circuit is used in timing or counting circuits in which the number of input pulses are represented by the output voltage. The output may indicate frequency, count the rpm of a shaft, or register a number of operations. The counter establishes a direct relationship between the input frequency and the average dc output voltage. As the input frequency increases, the output voltage also increases; conversely, as the input frequency decreases, the output voltage decreases. In effect, the positive counter counts the number of positive input pulses by producing an average dc output voltage proportional to the repetition frequency of the input signal. For accurate counting, the pulse repetition frequency must be the only variable parameter in the input signal. Therefore, careful shaping and limiting of the input signal is essential for you to ensure that the pulses are of uniform width and that the amplitude is constant. When properly filtered and smoothed, the dc output voltage of the counter may be used to operate a direct reading indicator.

Solid-state and electron-tube counters operate in manners similar to each other. The basic solid-state (diode) counter circuit is shown in view (A) of figure 4-43. Capacitor C1 is the input coupling capacitor. Resistor R1 is the load resistor across which the output voltage is developed. For the purpose of circuit discussion, assume that the input pulses (shown in view (B)) are of constant amplitude and time duration and that only the pulse repetition frequency changes. At time T0, the positive-going input pulse is applied to C1 and causes the anode of D2 to become positive. D2 conducts and current ic flows through R1 and D2 to charge C1. Current ic, develops an output voltage across R1, shown as eout.

Figure 4-43A. - Positive-diode counter and waveform.

Figure 4-43B. - Positive-diode counter and waveform.

The initial heavy flow of current produces a large voltage across R1 which tapers off exponentially as C1 charges. The charge on C1 is determined by the time constant of R1 and the conducting resistance of the diode times the capacitance of C1. For ease of explanation, assume that C1 is charged to the peak value before T1.

At T1 the input signal reverses polarity and becomes negative-going. Although the charge on capacitor C1 cannot change instantly, the applied negative voltage is equal to or greater than the charge on C1. This causes the anode of D2 to become negative and conduction ceases. When D2 stops conducting e out is at 0. C1 quickly discharges through D1 since its cathode is now negative with respect to ground. Between T1 and T2 the input pulse is again at the 0-volt level and D2 remains in a nonconducting state. Since the very short time constant provided by the conduction resistance of D1 and C1 is so much less than the long time constant offered by D2 and R1 during the conduction period, C1 is always completely discharged between pulses. Thus, for each input pulse, a precise level of charge is deposited on C1. For each charge of C1 an identical output pulse is produced by the flow of ic through R1. Since this current flow always occurs in the direction indicated by the solid arrow, the dc output voltage is positive.

At T2 the input signal again becomes positive and the cycle repeats. The time duration between pulses is the interval represented by the period between T1 and T2 or between T3 and T4. If the input-pulse frequency is reduced, these time periods become longer. On the other hand, if the frequency is increased, these time intervals become shorter. With shorter periods, more pulses occur in a given length of time and a higher average dc output voltage is produced; with longer periods, fewer pulses occur and a lower average dc output voltage is produced. Thus, the dc output is directly proportional to the repetition frequency of the input pulses. If the current and voltage are sufficiently large, a direct-reading meter can be used to indicate the count. If they are not large enough to actuate a meter directly, a dc amplifier may be added. In the latter case, a pi-type filter network is inserted at the output of R1 to absorb the instantaneous pulse variations and produce a smooth direct current for amplification.

From the preceding discussion, you should see that the voltage across the output varies in direct proportion to the input pulse repetition rate. Hence, if the repetition rate of the incoming pulses increases, the voltage across R1 also increases. For the circuit to function as a frequency counter, some method must be employed to use this frequency-to-voltage relationship to operate an indicator. The block diagram in view (A) of figure 4-44 represents one simple circuit which may be used to perform this function. In this circuit, the basic counter is fed into a low-pass filter and an amplifier with a meter that is calibrated in units of frequency.

Figure 4-44. - Basic frequency counter.

A typical schematic diagram is shown in view (B). The positive pulses from the counter are filtered by C2, R2, and C3. The positive dc voltage from the filter is applied to the input of amplifier A. This voltage increases with frequency; as a consequence, the current through the device increases. Since emitter or cathode current flows through M1, an increase in amplifier current causes an increase in meter deflection. The meter may be calibrated in units of time, frequency, revolutions per minute, or any function based upon the relationship of output voltage to input frequency.

Q.25 What establishes the value of the current that flows in the output of figure 4-43? answer.gif (214 bytes)
Q.26 What is the purpose of D1 in figure 4-43?answer.gif (214 bytes)

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