Capacitor Self-Resonance
Introduction to the Operational Amplifier
By: John Getty
Laboratory Director
Engineering Dept.
University of Denver
Denver, CO
Become familiar with the operational amplifier (OP AMP), and gain experience using this
device in electric circuits.
Equipment Required:
• 1 - Agilent 34401A Digital Multimeter
• 1 - Agilent E3631A Power Supply
• 1 - Protoboard
• 2 - 10-kΩ Resistors
• 1 - 33-kΩ Resistor
• 1 - 10-kΩ Potentiometer
• 1 - 741 OP AMP
Read Sections 4-4 and 4-5 on OP AMPs in the textbook*. Review Procedure 1 in the lab
exercise “Introduction to the Transistor” which describes handling precautions for
semiconductor devices. Use these precautions when handling OP AMPs.
1. Prepare the power supplies
a. Configure the ±VCC supplies.
1. The schematic of Fig. 1 shows a standard ±VCC configuration for OP AMPs. The
schematic symbols for a battery are used in this schematic to remind us that these
supplies need to be a constant DC voltage. They are not signal sources.
The Agilent E3631A power supply provides two variable supplies with a
common ground and a variable low voltage supply.
As shown in Fig. 1, the jack labeled “COM” between the VCC supplies is connected
to circuit ground.
2. Adjust the output so the +VCC and –VCC are equal — but opposite in sign — at 15 V.
1) Configure the signal source.
1. Connect the ±VCC to the potentiometer as shown in Fig. 2. This will provide a
variable-output DC signal source from –VCC to +VCC, for input to the OP AMP
2. Check the signal source circuit to ensure that it provides the range of voltages
desired. The voltmeter should be connected to the center terminal of the
potentiometer and the common ground between ±VCC.
c. The way in which the power supplies are connected to each other, and to the
potentiometer, produces four nodes, +VCC, -VCC, Vin and ground (GND) or reference.
To reduce the risk of connecting the wrong voltage level to your OP AMP, you may
want to label each point on the protoboard with its appropriate voltage: Vin, +VCC, -VCC,
GND. Turn the power supply on and verify that the voltage at each of these points
matches your labels. Record actual values for +VCC and -VCC, and the range of
voltages produced by the signal source circuit, at the node labeled Vin in Fig. 2.
d. Turn the output of the power supply off. —
1) Connect the OP AMP
a. Study the chip layout of Fig. 3. The standard procedure on DIP (dual in-line package)
“chips” is to identify pin 1 with a notch in the end of the chip package. The notch
always separates pin 1 from the last pin on the chip. In the case of the 741, the notch
is between pins 1 and 8.
Pin 2 is the inverting input, vN. Pin 3 is the non-inverting input, vP and the amplifier
output, vO is at pin 6. These three pins are the three terminals that normally appear in
an OP AMP circuit schematic diagram. Even though the ±VCC connections must be
completed for the OP AMP to work, they usually are omitted from the circuit schematic
to improve clarity.
The null offset pins (1 and 5) provide a way to eliminate any “offset” in the output
voltage of the amplifier. The offset voltage (usually denoted by Vos) is an artifact of the
integrated circuit. The offset voltage is additive with vO (pin 6 in this case), can be
either positive or negative and is normally less than 10 mV. Because the off-set
voltage is so small, in most cases we can ignore the contribution Vos makes to VO and
we leave the null offset pins open.
Pin 8, labeled “NC”, has no connection to the internal circuitry of the 741, and is not
b. The goal here is to connect the circuit shown in Fig. 4. This is an easy task . . . if
you’ve done this before! For this lab we’ll walk through how we will actually wire up
an OP AMP.
Figure 5 represents a first step in transferring our circuit schematic of Figure 4 into a
real circuit. This figure shows all the elements we will use to implement the circuit of
Figure 4.
d. Figure 6 translates the schematic of Figure 5 into a mechanical representation (or
pseudo-schematic) showing the physical lay out of the circuit and the connections on the
e. Although we won’t go through this level of detail in future lab write-ups, it is useful for you to
draw a pseudo-schematic in your lab journal before actually trying to wire your circuit.
3. The inverting amplifier
Carefully measure the values of the resistors that will be used in the circuit of Fig. 4. Use
these measured values to compute the circuit gain, K. With the power supply output off,
construct the inverting OP AMP circuit using Fig. 6 as a guide. Check the circuit carefully.
Turn on the power supply. Adjust the 10 kΩ potentiometer to achieve a Vin of 1 V. Measure
Vin and Vout and verify that the actual Vout = KVin. If Vout is correct, your amplifier circuit is
probably working correctly, and you may proceed. If the measured Vout is different than KVin by
more than 10%, you probably have an error in the circuit. Troubleshoot the circuit until it is
operating properly.
a. Create a table in your lab journal with four columns labeled VIN, KVIN (the theoretical output
voltage), VOUT (the actual output), and percent error. Leave enough room to record 21 rows
of data. Turn on the power supply output and for a Vin of about -10 V, carefully measure Vin
and Vout. Increment Vin by 1 volt, and repeat the measurements. Collect data in this
manner 19 more times, incrementing Vin by 1 V after each measurement until Vin = +10 V.
For each line of data, compute and record KVin and the error between KVin and Vout.
b. At Vin = 2 volts, accurately measure and record Vin, +VCC, -VCC, vP and vN. If measured using
a sensitive voltage scale, a very small difference in vP and vN can be measured. Measure
and record the voltage difference ∆vP-N.
c. Turn off the power supply output. Without removing the OP-AMP, disassemble the circuit
of Fig. 6.
4. The non-inverting amplifier
a. Calculate and record the expected gain for the circuit of Fig. 7.
b. You will use the source circuit of Fig. 2 to provide Vin for the non-inverting amplifier of Fig.
7. Draw a circuit diagram similar to Fig. 5 for the schematic of Fig. 7. You may want to
draw a pseudo-schematic similar to Fig. 6 for this circuit.
c. Connect the circuit of Fig. 7, using your pseudo-schematic as a guide. Test the circuit by
verifying that Vout is equal to KVin. If not, troubleshoot the circuit until it is operating properly.
d. Create a table for recording the Vin, KVin, Vout and % error. Starting at a Vin of –10 V, make
21 measurements of Vin and Vout, incrementing Vin by 1 V after each measurement. Fill in
the remaining two columns of the table with the needed calculated values.
For the inverting amplifier circuit, plot Vout, KVin, and error vs. Vin in your journal (three plots
superimposed onto the same graph). Repeat for the non-inverting amplifier circuit. On
each graph, draw a vertical line at the transition between the saturated and active regions
of operation for these amplifier circuits. Label the mode of operation for each of these
regions. Measure the slope of the curve in the active region. How well does the slope
agree with the theoretical gain computed from the measured values of the circuit elements?
For the active regions for both circuits, discuss the possible sources of any error between
Vout and KVin.
Roland E. Thomas and Albert J. Rosa, The Analysis and Design of Linear Circuits, Prentice Hall, (New Jersey,
These experiments have been submitted by third parties and Agilent has not tested any of the experiments. You will undertake any of
the experiments solely at your own risk. Agilent is providing these experiments solely as an informational facility and without review.
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