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Clipping Detector Circuit

  1. Apr 16, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I am building an audio equalizer as a project for class, consisting of a summing amplifier with variable gain for the bass, midrange, and treble frequencies. I also have the option to include a clipping/overload detector, though I have already chosen parameters that will not allow the output to go over 2 volts, given a maximum 3V input.

    [edit] To clarify, I've already built the equalizer; I'm just trying to implement the clipping detector.

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Could I implement this with a transistor, and if so, how? One of the stipulations of the assignment is also to use as few and as simple components as possible, so is there a solution comprised of solely R(L)C components?

    I'm not really sure how to calculate the values at which current in a transistor are switched, so if I could get some pointers that would be helpful. Thanks!
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 19, 2009 #2


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    Well, since this is homework, I'll just give you a hint: what is the definition of clipping (relative to your power rails) and how might you use, say, a comparator or op-amp to detect this?
  4. Apr 20, 2009 #3
    Ah...wonder why I didn't see that before...

  5. Apr 20, 2009 #4


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    Experience. Also, TA'ing a senior, build-yourself-some-electronics lab. Actually, I forgot a point. What's the likelihood that your signal will exceed your supply rails? How would you go about getting the comparator / op-amp to trigger at a voltage a little less (maybe a lot less, depending on your expected maximum output voltage) than your supply rail?
  6. Apr 20, 2009 #5
    Since the output is never more than around 2V, very little chance, as my rails are set to 12 and -12 Vcc. If it did, I could just make a voltage divider by running a resistor with an appropriate value to ground, right?
  7. Apr 21, 2009 #6


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    That's correct, and is basically how most of these circuits works. They get fancier by doing things like noise rejection, triggering only if it clips for a certain interval, dynamic threshold setting, etc.
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