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4.2.1: Theory Overview

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    Thévenin’s Theorem for DC circuits states that any two port linear network may be replaced by a single voltage source with an appropriate internal resistance. The Thévenin equivalent will produce the same load current and voltage as the original circuit to any load. Consequently, if many different loads or subcircuits are under consideration, using a Thévenin equivalent may prove to be a quicker analysis route than “reinventing the wheel” each time.

    The Thévenin voltage is found by determining the open circuit output voltage. The Thévenin resistance is found by replacing any DC sources with their internal resistances and determining the resulting combined resistance as seen from the two ports using standard series-parallel analysis techniques. In the laboratory, the Thévenin resistance may be found using an ohmmeter (again, replacing the sources with their internal resistances) or by using the matched load technique. The matched load technique involves replacing the load with a variable resistance and then adjusting it until the load voltage is precisely one half of the unloaded voltage. This would imply that the other half of the voltage must be dropped across the equivalent Thévenin resistance, and as the Thévenin circuit is a simple series loop then the two resistances must be equal as they have identical currents and voltages.

    4.2.1: Theory Overview is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by James M. Fiore.

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