Power

Transistor Circuit:

Used to control a high-current DC load such as a DC motor or an incandescent light from a microcontroller. Microcontrollers can only output a very small amount of current from their output pins. These pins are meant to send control signals, not to act as power supplies. The most common way to control another direct current device from a microcontroller is to use a transistor. Transistors allow you to control the flow of a high-current circuit from a low-current source. It acts as an electronic switch. This an NPN-type transistor called a TIP120.

tip120

The datasheet for it can be found here. It’s designed for switching high-current loads. It has three connections, the base, the collector, and the emitter. The base is connected to the microcontroller’s output. The high-current load (i.e. the motor or light) is attached to its power source, and then to the collector of the transistor. The emitter of the transistor is connected to ground.

Attach a DC motor/lamp/heating pad or other high current device to the collector of the transistor. Most motors will require more amperage than the microcontroller can supply, so you will need to add a separate power supply as well. If your motor runs on around 9V, you could use a 9V battery. A 5V motor might run on 4 AA batteries. a 12V motor may need a 12V wall wart, or a 12V battery. The ground of the motor power supply should connect to the ground of the microcontroller, on the breadboard.

npnpowertransistorflora_bb

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