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PNP Transistor – How Does It Work?




The PNP transistor is a mystery to many. But it doesn’t have to be. If you want to design circuits with transistors, it’s really worth knowing about this type of transistor.

For example: Want to automatically turn on a light when it gets dark? The PNP transistor will make this easy for you.PNP Transistor – How Does It Work

In my article how transistors work, I explained how a standard NPN transistor works. If you haven’t already, I’d really urge you to read that article first.

If you understand the NPN transistor, it will make it easier to understand the PNP transistor. They work pretty much in the same way, with one major difference: The currents in the PNP transistor flow in the opposite directions of the currents in the NPN transistor.

Note: This topic is much easier with an understanding of current flow and voltages.

How PNP Transistors Work

The PNP transistor has the same leg names as the NPN:

  • Base
  • Emitter
  • Collector

A PNP transistor will “turn on” when you have a small current running from emitter to base of the transistor. When I say “turn on”, I mean that the transistor will open up a channel between emitter and collector. And this channel can carry a much larger current.PNP Transistor – How Does It-Work

To get current running from emitter to base, you need a voltage difference of about 0.7V. Since the current goes from emitter to base, the base needs to be 0.7V lower than the emitter.

For more detail: PNP Transistor – How Does It Work?

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