Editor's Note: In 2007, we published a four-part series on bypass capacitors and decoupling that was very popular with the design audience (links below). Now, one of the authors of Part 4, Kendall Castor-Perry, extends the series with six more sections which explore interactions between supply and capacitor, capacitor materials, and simulation models. This very practical extension blends theory and measurements, and its lessons not only will improve your knowledge but help you minimize problems, some of which can be very subtle and difficult to diagnose and solve.
For various reasons, they are presented to you as linked pdf files, one per week, with the corresponding section links added in successive weeks.
And a big "congratulations" to you if you have gone through all five preceding sections of Part 5 (and any of Parts 1 through 4); you are on the last lap. You've invested a lot of time that will hopefully have a big payback!:
Part 5.1: "The regulators interaction with capacitors": The interaction between the power-supply regulator and the decoupling (bypass) capacitor is explained. In addition, the overall impedance seen by the IC, including capacitors, PCB traces, and voltage regulator is assessed; click here
Part 5.2: "Ring the changes, change the rings": Ringing and other voltage transient effects examined with a small test-current step, as well as effect of capacitor dielectric, click here
Part 5.3: "Some gain, some pain": How coupling affects, and bleeds through, to op amp output; click here
Part 5.4: "Don't get into a macromuddle": Inaccurate op-amp simulation macromodels can lead to misleading results on the effect of bypass capacitors in decoupling applications, click here
Part 5.5: "When Harry regulator met Sally op amp": Examine the signal chain from op amp to load, and the interaction of load current, power supply, and amplifier output, click here
Part 5.6: "Steering in the right direction": Validated simulations and macromodels provide an approach to proper selection of bypass decoupling capacitors in op-amp and other circuits, click here
You can read the previous parts by clicking on the corresponding link:
Part 1: "Choosing and Using Bypass Capacitors," click here
Part 2: "Choosing and Using Bypass Capacitors," click here
Part 3: "Choosing and Using Bypass Capacitors,"click here
Part 4: "Know the sometimes-surprising interactions in modelling a capacitor-bypass network," click
About the author Kendall Castor-Perry has been practicing the electronic arts for over three decades, having designed industrial instrumentation, communications systems and audio circuits. He spends much of his time helping people to solve complex signal-path problems with both empathy and rigor.
Wait a minute. Let’s see if I understand this. (Here I’m channeling you, the puzzled reader, after you’ve grabbed me in the coffee break of a Filter Wizard lecture morning). The frequency of the nth harmonic of a sinusoid is n times that of the fundamental. The nth harmonic distortion is defined as the ratio of the amplitude of the nth harmonic to the amplitude of the fundamental. So the 1st harmonic distortion is… the ratio of the amplitude of the fundamental to the amplitude of the fundamental and that’s… unity. I. Do. Not. Understand.
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