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ET227 Transistor DC Current Gain Variation

A Squidwrench Weekly Doings being useful for short-attention-span projects, I measured the DC current gain for all five ET227 transistors. The test conditions fall far below the ET227’s 1 kV / 100 A ratings, but they’re roughly what the sewing machine motor controller calls for.

The transistors don’t even begin to turn on until IB gets over about 50 mA, because there’s a 13 Ω shunt resistor (as measured, for either polarity) between the base and emitter terminal:

Fuji ET227 - equivalent circuit

Fuji ET227 – equivalent circuit

In the ET227’s normal use, that resistor dumps the Miller effect charge injected from the collector (with the intent of improving the switching time), but you must ram nearly 70 mA into the resistor to get 900 mV at the base, so the actual transistor base current isn’t all that high for low collector currents. But you measure gain by dividing goes-outa by goes-inta, so that’s what I’ll do.

The ET227 needs something like IB = 30 A to switch 100 A at the collector, so a few dozen mA into that resistor rounds off to zilch for its usual driver circuit. FWIW, with IB = 30 A, VBE tops out at 2 V: the resistor carries 150 mA and dissipates 300 mW.

Anyhow, randomly labeling the transistors from A (on the heatsink) through E, then hitching them up to a 1.8 A bench supply with a 33 Ω resistor to the base terminal provided some readings at single-digit collector voltages.

For IB = 72 mA:

IB IC hFE
A 72 490 6.8
B 73 540 7.4
C 74 480 6.5
D 75 440 5.9
E 76 520 6.8

For IB = 108 mA, with one bumped-knob outlier:

IB IC hFE
A 108 1220 11.3
B 101 1190 11.8
C 108 1280 11.9
D 108 1170 10.8
E 108 1320 12.2

Although the gain around 1 A comes out slightly higher than while running the motor, it’s in the same ballpark. This is not a high-gain device: it’ll need a driver after the optoisolator to squeeze enough current through the collector.

Eks tried to unload a huge old Tek transistor curve tracer on me that would be ideal for this sort of thing. I’m still not tempted…

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