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(Some Guy)   Farking transistors, how do they work?   (lcamtuf.substack.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Bipolar junction transistor, P-n junction, Transistor, n-type dopant, Semiconductor, Diode, Field-effect transistor, p-type dopant  
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1092 clicks; posted to STEM » on 29 Nov 2022 at 7:25 PM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



45 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2022-11-29 3:56:49 PM  
That did not help
 
2022-11-29 3:57:34 PM  
"We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys."
 
2022-11-29 4:20:37 PM  
Despite [The integral nature of electronics], a firm grasp of electronics remains elusive for most.

I mean... Yeah? Unless you're designing or repairing electronics, you can easily skate by with "This button turns it on", but it's not like that's unique to electronics or any other field. That's why there are experts.
 
2022-11-29 5:20:51 PM  
I'll just stick with vacuum tubes, if they was good enough for my daddy's daddy...
 
2022-11-29 5:22:04 PM  
...a series of tubes...

media.tenor.comView Full Size
 
2022-11-29 6:00:56 PM  
(BJTs)

No thanks I'll just go with the lettuce on mine.

/hehehe jizz
 
2022-11-29 7:07:53 PM  

Lambskincoat: I'll just stick with vacuum tubes, if they was good enough for my daddy's daddy...


If you're making or replaying music, tubes sound better. Otherwise use whatever technology you can afford.
 
433 [TotalFark]
2022-11-29 7:27:08 PM  

dionysusaur: If you're making or replaying music, tubes sound better. Otherwise use whatever technology you can afford.


This might be a simple answer, but can a tube amp be built such that it generates odd-order harmonics?

I had a Marshall MOSFET head that I liked, but could never really wrap around and I think it was the odd-order harmonics that I couldn't ultimately enjoy.
 
2022-11-29 7:41:38 PM  
That was an awful lot of words to say "Farking Magic"

/It's the Magic Smoke inside the transistor that makes it work
//If you let the Magic Smoke out it stops working
 
2022-11-29 7:45:35 PM  

aleister_greynight: "We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys."


Now you tell me.
 
2022-11-29 7:48:36 PM  
I used to know.  I learned it in school and I didn't end up designing circuits after all.  Suffice it to say, they do things. I can't remember exactly how.  As long as the devices I use work, it's not my problem.
 
2022-11-29 7:54:51 PM  
This is something that is terrible to describe in words and makes a million times more sense in an animation. And you generally start with diodes and work your way up to transistors.
 
2022-11-29 8:04:28 PM  

maddog2030: That did not help


Yeah. It was TL;DR and when you have to discuss MOSFETs and such, that's the wrong way to discuss transistors.
 
2022-11-29 8:06:30 PM  

Russ1642: This is something that is terrible to describe in words and makes a million times more sense in an animation. And you generally start with diodes and work your way up to transistors.


I started drinking early and misread that in the most inappropriate way possible.
 
2022-11-29 8:09:43 PM  

Telephone Sanitizer Second Class: Russ1642: This is something that is terrible to describe in words and makes a million times more sense in an animation. And you generally start with diodes and work your way up to transistors.

I started drinking early and misread that in the most inappropriate way possible.


Which is standing up in a hammock.
 
2022-11-29 8:10:59 PM  
That's the sort of explanation that's written for people who don't need an explanation because they already know it.
 
2022-11-29 8:11:02 PM  
Still waiting for memristors to take over.
 
2022-11-29 8:34:50 PM  
If we ever get this transistor thingie figured out, we'll be one step closer to:
i.pinimg.comView Full Size
 
2022-11-29 8:36:56 PM  
I learned enough electronics to get a job, now I just know how to do the things I do. I feel like a musician who can't read music.
 
2022-11-29 8:47:42 PM  

dionysusaur: Lambskincoat: I'll just stick with vacuum tubes, if they was good enough for my daddy's daddy...

If you're making or replaying music, tubes sound better. Otherwise use whatever technology you can afford.


/looks over at the two PMT's on my desk.
//guess they are a bit nicer than SPAD's
 
2022-11-29 9:05:12 PM  

Telephone Sanitizer Second Class: aleister_greynight: "We'll be saying a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms everywhere and to everyone else out there, the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys."

Now you tell me.


Apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all.
 
2022-11-29 9:38:52 PM  

Dear Jerk: I learned enough electronics to get a job, now I just know how to do the things I do. I feel like a musician who can't read music.


I can relate to that. One 20 yr. career was repairing flight control computers. I was mediocre at analog, but pretty decent at digital. My next 20 yr. career was software. Now I am just trying to not be the guy with a blinking VCR. I can still fix things, but it takes a lot longer to understand schematics and do the math for analog.
 
2022-11-29 9:44:14 PM  
Quartz.
Toilet paper tube
Copper wire
Nut
Bolt
Cardboard
 
2022-11-29 9:46:14 PM  
It's just a material that's generally an electrical insulator unless a strong enough electric field is nearby, in which case it stops being as much of an insulator and let's electricity flow more easily.
 
2022-11-29 9:48:46 PM  
Suppose there's a backyard party at max capacity where everyone has just enough personal space. However, in the nature of having a good time, everyone tries to get just a little extra personal space, and the party overflows its assigned borders into the adjacent backyard. This causes the few people who have been pushed out to realize they need to get back inside, and they push hard to return, but the gentle force of the many partiers inside adds up and doesn't want to let them back in.

The effect here is that if you are trying to get out of the party, you're going to be stopped by the returners, but if you're trying to get into the backyard from outside, you don't have any space available to enter, and no one can move.

Now, if you try to get more people into the party from inside the house, it's not going to work because the backyard's full and there's no way to mingle and get a drink, and the party won't expand because of the border trying so hard to return, no matter how hard you cajole them.

But if you start trying to get people into the party from outside the backyard, and you push hard enough, you can make the people in the backyard not want to party anymore and they leave through the front door, making space enough that a flow of people can come from outside, get a drink and mingle before they leave through the front door and are replaced by more people from outside.

That's a diode.
 
2022-11-29 9:51:11 PM  

Dear Jerk: I learned enough electronics to get a job, now I just know how to do the things I do. I feel like a musician who can't read music.


You say that like it's a bad thing, but here's a short list of musicians who fall into that category:

Jimi Hendrix
Stevie Wonder
Danny Elfman
Bob Dylan
Aretha Franklin
Prince
Eric Clapton
Elvis Presley
Eddie Van Halen
Michael Jackson
Paul McCartney
Bob Dylan
Taylor Swift
 
2022-11-29 10:08:57 PM  
vudukungfu:

Quartz Galena.
Toilet paper tube
Copper wire
Nut
Bolt
Cardboard


You forgot safety pin for the point junction, a thin strip of soft iron for the tuning bar, and a crystal earpiece.

/ Made one so I could listen to the Dr. Demento show late at night.
 
2022-11-29 10:09:16 PM  
They work well enough that I should give up chasing the bleeding edge and go earn some easy cheddar on that shiatty Graviton project or some such nonsense while coasting towards retirement.

/my pedal is the metal
 
2022-11-29 10:37:26 PM  

maxheck: vudukungfu:

Quartz Galena.
Toilet paper tube
Copper wire
Nut
Bolt
Cardboard

You forgot safety pin for the point junction, a thin strip of soft iron for the tuning bar, and a crystal earpiece.


And a clip to attach to a water pipe for an earth ground.

/gotta complete the circuit
//nobody ever checks the grounds
///
 
2022-11-29 10:58:53 PM  
Well, it all starts with crystal field theory which tells us how to predict band energy levels...
 
2022-11-29 11:16:38 PM  

Russ1642: This is something that is terrible to describe in words and makes a million times more sense in an animation. And you generally start with diodes and work your way up to transistors.


It's dildos all the way dow......oh, diodes, nvmn
 
2022-11-29 11:29:05 PM  
What is my favorite 311 album for $500, Alex.
 
2022-11-30 12:14:17 AM  

Al Tsheimers: Dear Jerk: I learned enough electronics to get a job, now I just know how to do the things I do. I feel like a musician who can't read music.

I can relate to that. One 20 yr. career was repairing flight control computers. I was mediocre at analog, but pretty decent at digital. My next 20 yr. career was software. Now I am just trying to not be the guy with a blinking VCR. I can still fix things, but it takes a lot longer to understand schematics and do the math for analog.


I get paid quite well to reverse engineer and fix old hardware: try to explain this process does take a fair bit of effort to a lot of people.

(Hi end scientific instrument...so rather exotic electronics)

The software component, is always the difficult part of the equation: or more to the point of how the software model works with the hardware.

Old engine management computers are fun tho...
 
2022-11-30 1:48:38 AM  
Magnets.

They use magnets.

/MSEE specializing in semiconductor design
//never once worked designing chips
///rockets were cooler
 
2022-11-30 5:40:36 AM  
At its simplest: transistors use a small voltage to regulate a bigger voltage. That's how they amplify: a small voltage from, say, a phono cartridge, goes to one of three legs of the transistor. A larger voltage sits on another leg of the transistor, but is dammed, basically, and can't go out on its own. When the small voltage comes in, it opens the dam on the larger voltage, and both voltages flow down the third, drainage leg to the speaker.

In ICs and logic circuits, transistors are arrayed into all types of crazy configurations to form gates and things that, when combined in the billions, ultimately allow you to view cat videos on the internet.
 
2022-11-30 5:53:05 AM  

433: dionysusaur: If you're making or replaying music, tubes sound better. Otherwise use whatever technology you can afford.

This might be a simple answer, but can a tube amp be built such that it generates odd-order harmonics?

I had a Marshall MOSFET head that I liked, but could never really wrap around and I think it was the odd-order harmonics that I couldn't ultimately enjoy.


The problem with solid state distortion isn't odd vs. even harmonics. It's the non-integer overtones you get hitting that hard knee when overdriven.
If you have the budget, I'd be looking at the Ceriatone OTS mini.
 
2022-11-30 8:13:10 AM  
I've read "How Transistors Work" articles a dozen times over as many years. I understand the words, but it still doesn't make anything clear. All I know is I have to make sure I use a PNP or NPN, depending on what the schematic calls for. I won't be designing my own semiconductors any time soon.
 
2022-11-30 8:47:17 AM  

My Sober Alt: I used to know.  I learned it in school and I didn't end up designing circuits after all.  Suffice it to say, they do things. I can't remember exactly how.  As long as the devices I use work, it's not my problem.


Cliff's Notes version: A small current controls a larger one.
 
2022-11-30 8:48:35 AM  

sensitive yet dangerous: At its simplest: transistors use a small voltage to regulate a bigger voltage. That's how they amplify: a small voltage from, say, a phono cartridge, goes to one of three legs of the transistor. A larger voltage sits on another leg of the transistor, but is dammed, basically, and can't go out on its own. When the small voltage comes in, it opens the dam on the larger voltage, and both voltages flow down the third, drainage leg to the speaker.

In ICs and logic circuits, transistors are arrayed into all types of crazy configurations to form gates and things that, when combined in the billions, ultimately allow you to view cat videos on the internet.


Nope. Transistors are current operated devices. FETs use voltage to control current.
 
2022-11-30 9:16:17 AM  
You control lightning and shove it through rocks. Got it. Wizard.
 
2022-11-30 9:58:05 AM  
I so really wanted to understand this.. <sigh>
 
2022-11-30 11:02:12 AM  

amigafin: You control lightning and shove it through rocks. Got it. Wizard.


Very specific rocks, so Science!
 
2022-11-30 12:45:57 PM  

gizmo62: I so really wanted to understand this.. <sigh>


Start here: Transistors, How do they work? - YouTube

If that's not deep enough go here: Lecture Videos | Introduction to Solid State Chemistry | Materials Science and Engineering | MIT OpenCourseWare

If you paid close attention in high school chemistry you can jump to lectures 15 and 16. 15 defines band gaps and 16 covers engineering band gaps to create N and P type semiconductors.
 
2022-11-30 1:32:17 PM  

Flowery Twats: sensitive yet dangerous: At its simplest: transistors use a small voltage to regulate a bigger voltage. That's how they amplify: a small voltage from, say, a phono cartridge, goes to one of three legs of the transistor. A larger voltage sits on another leg of the transistor, but is dammed, basically, and can't go out on its own. When the small voltage comes in, it opens the dam on the larger voltage, and both voltages flow down the third, drainage leg to the speaker.

In ICs and logic circuits, transistors are arrayed into all types of crazy configurations to form gates and things that, when combined in the billions, ultimately allow you to view cat videos on the internet.

Nope. Transistors are current operated devices. FETs use voltage to control current.


I see I have fallen victim to the classic voltage/current mixup. Hate when that happens. You can tell I'm not an EE by trade.

Irredisregardless, it's the same principle, just substitute current for voltage in my original post. At its most basic, in a transistor a small input controls the flow of a larger output.
 
2022-11-30 4:55:31 PM  

covfefe: Suppose there's a backyard party at max capacity where everyone has just enough personal space. However, in the nature of having a good time, everyone tries to get just a little extra personal space, and the party overflows its assigned borders into the adjacent backyard. This causes the few people who have been pushed out to realize they need to get back inside, and they push hard to return, but the gentle force of the many partiers inside adds up and doesn't want to let them back in.

The effect here is that if you are trying to get out of the party, you're going to be stopped by the returners, but if you're trying to get into the backyard from outside, you don't have any space available to enter, and no one can move.

Now, if you try to get more people into the party from inside the house, it's not going to work because the backyard's full and there's no way to mingle and get a drink, and the party won't expand because of the border trying so hard to return, no matter how hard you cajole them.

But if you start trying to get people into the party from outside the backyard, and you push hard enough, you can make the people in the backyard not want to party anymore and they leave through the front door, making space enough that a flow of people can come from outside, get a drink and mingle before they leave through the front door and are replaced by more people from outside.

That's a diode.


If you put a bouncer at the door does that make it an SCR?
 
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