The LM386 is a power amplifier designed for use in low voltage consumer applications. The gain is internally set to 20 to keep external part count low, but the addition of an external resistor and capacitor between pins 1 and 8 will increase the gain to any value from 20 to 200.
The inputs are ground referenced while the output automatically biases to one-half the supply voltage. The quiescent power drain is only 24 milliwatts when operating from a 6 volt supply, making the LM386 ideal for battery operation.
- Battery operation
- Minimum external parts
- Wide supply voltage range: 4V–12V or 5V–18V
- Low quiescent current drain: 4mA
- Voltage gains from 20 to 200
- Ground referenced input
- Self-centering output quiescent voltage
- Low distortion: 0.2% (AV = 20, VS = 6V, RL = 8W, PO =
125mW, f = 1kHz)
- Available in 8 pin MSOP package
- AM-FM radio amplifiers
- Portable tape player amplifiers
- TV sound systems
- Line drivers
- Ultrasonic drivers
- Small servo drivers
- Power converters
Applications HintsGAIN CONTROL
To make the LM386 a more versatile amplifier, two pins (1 and 8) are provided for gain control. With pins 1 and 8 open the 1.35 kW resistor sets the gain at 20 (26 dB). If a capacitor is put from pin 1 to 8, bypassing the 1.35 kW resistor, the gain will go up to 200 (46 dB). If a resistor is placed in series with the capacitor, the gain can be set to any value from 20 to 200. Gain control can also be done by capacitively coupling a resistor (or FET) from pin 1 to ground. Additional external components can be placed in parallel with the internal feedback resistors to tailor the gain and frequency response for individual applications. For example, we can compensate poor speaker bass response by frequency shaping the feedback path. This is done with a series RC from pin 1 to 5 (paralleling the internal 15 kW resistor). For 6 dB effective bass boost: R . 15 kW, the lowest value for good stable operation is R = 10 kW if pin 8 is open. If pins 1 and 8 are bypassed then R as low as 2 kW can be used. This restriction is because the amplifier is only compensated for closed-loop gains greater than 9.
The schematic shows that both inputs are biased to ground with a 50 kW resistor. The base current of the input transistors is about 250 nA, so the inputs are at about 12.5 mV when left open. If the dc source resistance driving the LM386 is higher than 250 kW it will contribute very little additional offset (about 2.5 mV at the input, 50 mV at the output). If the dc source resistance is less than 10 kW, then shorting the unused input to ground will keep the offset low (about 2.5 mV at the input, 50 mV at the output). For dc source resistances between these values we can eliminate excess offset by putting a resistor from the unused input to ground, equal in value to the dc source resistance. Of course all offset problems are eliminated if the input is capacitively coupled.
When using the LM386 with higher gains (bypassing the 1.35 kW resistor between pins 1 and 8) it is necessary to bypass the unused input, preventing degradation of gain and possible instabilities. This is done with a 0.1 μF capacitor or a short to ground depending on the dc source resistance on the driven input.
Pin Out Diagram
Pin 2 : Input (-)
Pin 3 : Input (+)
Pin 4 : GND
Pin 5 : VOUT
Pin 6 : Vs
Pin 7 : BYPASS
Pin 8 : GAIN