Is this current source (or mirror)? How does it work?

by Chupacabras   Last Updated October 19, 2019 19:25 PM - source

I'm trying to understand this schematic of this differential probe:
enter image description here

There are several things I do not fully understand. One of them is this section:
enter image description here

I would guess it is a constant current source (or current mirror). Is my assumption correct?
How does it exactly work?

I understand that D3, R19, R18, Q2 form a current source (several milliamps). But I don't know what do the other 4 transistors do. Could anyone explain this to me?

Answers 1

R19-C20-D3-R18-Q2 form a current source.

The rest of the circuit is easier to understand by moving transistors around. The original schematic looks weird, presumably because the transistors are drawn as they are connected inside LM3406. It is simpler this way:

enter image description here

This is a Wilson current mirror with a ratio of 2:1 as it has two transistors in parallel on the output side.

The first current source around Q2 should output around 1.9mA, thus the mirror should output double that, around 3.8mA which then feeds differential pair U2B/U2C.

Now, why they chose this design is a more interesting question.

Apparently LM3406 is a LED driver and not a transistor array, so there must be an error in the part number... and I can't find a datasheet.

My guess would be that the Wilson mirror has a much higher output impedance than a single transistor current source, so its output current stays much more constant when collector voltage varies.

October 19, 2019 19:07 PM

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