How to build Low Power Op-Amp - Audio Amp (50 milliwatt)

August 6, 2010 - category: Audio amplifier


The example below illustrates using an op-amp as an audio amplifier for a simple intercom. A small 8 ohm speaker is used as a microphone which is coupled to the op-amp input through a 0.1uF capacitor. The speaker is sensitive to low frequencies and the small value capacitor serves to attenuate the lower tones and produce a better overall response. You can experiment with different value capacitors to improve the response for various speakers. The op-amp voltage gain is determined by the ratio of the feedback resistor to the series input resistor which is around one thousand in this case (1 Meg / 1K). The non-inverting input (pin 3) to the op-amp is biased at 50% of the supply voltage (4.5 volts) by a couple 1K resistors connected across the supply. Since both inputs will be equal when the op-amp is operating within it's linear range, the voltage at the inverting input (pin 2) and the emitter of the buffer transistor (2N3053) will also be 4.5 volts. The voltage change at the emitter of the transistor will be around +/- 2 volts for a 2 millivolt change at the input (junction of 0.1 cap and 1K resistor) which produces a current change of about 2/33 = 60 mA through the 33 ohm emitter resistor and the speaker output. The peak output speaker power is about I^2 * R or .06 ^2 * 8 = 28 milliwatts. The 100 resistor and 47uF capacitor are used to isolate the op-amp from the power supply and reduce the possibility of oscillation. An additional 22uF cap is used at the non-inverting input to further stabilize operation. These parts may not be needed in such a low power circuit but it's a good idea to decouple the power supply to avoid unwanted feedback. The circuit draws about 1.2 watts from a 9 volt source and is not very efficient but fairly simple to put together. The circuit was tested using a couple 4 inch speakers located a few feet apart (to reduce feedback) and a small pocket transistor radio placed on top of the speaker/microphone as an audio source.

Circuit diagram

Circuit diagram

circuit from http://www.bowdenshobbycircuits.info/opamp.htm#intercom.gif

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