Why Use Thevenin Equivalent Circuits?
Whenever you need to predict how something is going to behave you don't
need to analyze things down to the lowest possible level. For example,
when current flows in a resistor, you don't need to know what happens to
every atom in the resistor. That ability to describe what happens to a
large number of atoms in the resistor by using a macromodel for the resistor
is convenient. Electrical engineers often think at different levels of
an amplifier circuit or a digital logic circuit the designer uses a macromodel
for the resistors, transistors, capacitors and other components and doesn't
worry about what happens inside those components.
a logic chip the designer uses a macromodel for the gates in the logic
circuits, and doesn't worry about the transistors, etc. that comprise the
innards of the logic circuits.
a computer, the designer uses a macromodel for the logic chips and doesn't
worry about the gates inside the chips.
Goals Of This Lesson
What do you want to know about Thevenin and
Norton equivalent circuits.
We can visualize a hierarchy, with
Computer networks composed
Computers composed of
various kinds of integrated circuit chips, etc.,
Integrated circuit chips
composed of gates and other logic circuits,
Logic circuits composed
of transistors, resistors and other electronic components,
Transistors composed of
atoms of semiconductor material,
Atoms composed of protons,
Protons composed of quarks.
this hierarchy, if you are an engineer designing a computer network you
may want to take into account characteristics of the components one level
up or down at most. You probably wouldn't want to worry about every transistor
in a computer network - not in a million years, which is probably the time
it would take you to do the analysis.
When you want to use different components you often need to use macromodels
of the components you use. You do that because you don't always need to
have totally detailed knowledge of what goes on inside the component.
Equivalent Circuits- or TECs - are macromodels that are used to
model electrical sources. Those sources are as diverse as batteries, stereo
amplifiers and microwave transmitters. In this lesson we will develop TEC
models of sources and learn how to use them in larger circuits.
What Phenomena Does A TEC Explain?
A Thevenin Equivalent Circuit is used to explain some of the things that
happen when you use sources. One good example is what happens if you start
a car with your headlights on. If you have ever done that you probably
noticed that the lights of the car dim when you start the car with them
Obviously, something happens that causes the voltage across the headlights
to change. The battery is not an ideal voltage source since that dimming
occurs whenever the starter motor draws a lot of current from the battery.
If the battery were an ideal source, the voltage would never change and
the headlights would never dim. In this lesson, we will examine Thevenin
Equivalent Circuit - TEC - models for nonideal sources. Those models can
be used to predict the sort of voltage decrease that the battery exhibits
under heavy load current.
Does a TEC explain this phenomenon? Actually, nothing can explain this
phenomenon because it doesn't exist. It violates the laws of physics -
i.e. light travels in a straight line. However, although the light beam
doesn't droop, the voltage of a nonideal source, like a battery, often
droops when current is drawn - the car lights don't droop! They just get
What Is A Thevenin Equivalent Circuit?
The Thevenin Equivalent Circuit is an electrical model composed of two
components shown below.