Clipping Circuit - Definition, Types, Series & Shunt Clippers

By Mohit Uniyal|Updated : August 26th, 2022

A Clipping Circuit plays a vital role in removing unwanted portions of the signal. In our daily life, we used to remove the unwanted portion of nails by using a nail cutter. This process of removing unwanted parts is known as clipping and the circuit is called a Clipping circuit. In a similar way, whenever we want to remove the unwanted portion (noise) from the signal that time we will use the electronic circuit accordingly to clip the noise.

Based on the requirement, we will use the respective clipping circuit. p-n junction diodes are having a lot of applications. Clippers are one of those applications. In this article, get an overview of the Clipping circuit and its classification.

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What is a Clipping Circuit?

An electronic circuit is said to be a clipping circuit if it removes part of the input signal based on the requirement. It is also known as a clipper, in short. A wave shaping circuit is said to be a clipper if it performs one of the following three operations.

  • Clips portion or entire positive half part of the input signal
  • Clips portion or entire negative half part of the input signal
  • Clips portions of both positive and negative half parts of the input signal

Types of Clippers in Clipping Circuit

In this article, we are focusing on one of the important applications of Diodes. i.e., clippers. Here, we are assuming all the diodes that we use in the circuit diagrams are ideal. Clippers can be classified based on the portion of the signal that is being clipped and placing of Diode in the circuit. Now, let us discuss the following types of clippers one by one.

  • Series Clippers
  • Shunt Clippers

Series Clippers in Clipping Circuit

A clipper is said to be a series clipper if the diode and resistor are connected in series with the input AC (voltage) signal and the output is taken across the resistor. Based on the position of the diode, we can clip either the positive half part or the negative half part of the input signal. Accordingly, we are having the following two types of series clippers.

  • Positive Series Clipper: A series clipper is said to be a positive series clipper if it clips the positive half part of the input signal. This circuit diagram and the corresponding input-output waveforms are shown in the following figures. There is no output or zero output during the positive half cycle of the input signal since the diode is reverse biased. Output is the same as that of input during the negative half cycle of the input signal since the diode is forward-biased.
    Positive Series Clipper

  • Negative Series Clipper: A series clipper is said to be a negative series clipper if it clips the negative half part of the input signal. This circuit diagram and the corresponding input-output waveforms are shown in the following figures. There is no output or zero output during the negative half cycle of the input signal since the diode is reverse biased. Output is the same as that of input during the positive half cycle of the input signal since the diode is forward-biased.
    Negative Series clipper

Shunt Clippers in Clipping circuit

A clipper is said to be a shunt clipper if the resistor and diode are connected in series with the input AC (voltage) signal and the output is taken across the diode. Based on the position of the diode, we can clip either the positive half part or the negative half part of the input signal. Accordingly, we are having the following two types of shunt clippers.

  • Positive Shunt Clipper: A shunt clipper is said to be a positive shunt clipper if it clips the positive half part of the input signal. This circuit diagram and the corresponding input-output waveforms are shown in the following figures. There is no output or zero output during the positive half cycle of the input signal since the diode is forward-biased. Output is the same as that of input during the negative half cycle of the input signal since the diode is reverse biased.
    Positive Shunt Clipper
  • Negative Shunt Clipper: A shunt clipper is said to be a negative shunt clipper if it clips the negative half part of the input signal. This circuit diagram and the corresponding input-output waveforms are shown in the following figures. There is no output or zero output during the negative half cycle of the input signal since the diode is forward-biased. Output is the same as that of input during the positive half cycle of the input signal since the diode is reverse biased.
    Negative Shunt Clipper
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FAQs on Clipping Circuit.

  • Clipping circuits are also known as clippers in short. We will use clippers in the applications, where we must eliminate the unwanted voltage spikes or amplitude of the noise. The main application of diode clipping is as a free-wheeling diode or flywheel. To protect the switching transistor from reverse voltage transients, we will connect the free-wheeling diode in parallel to an inductive load

  • Yes. Half wave rectifier produces only one portion of the input signal at the output. It produces no output or zero output for other portions of the input signal. Since the output waveform is a clipped version of the input waveform, we can say that the Half wave rectifier is an example of a clipping circuit.

  • If the portion of the positive half cycle or entire positive half cycle of the input waveform is clipped at the output, then it is known as positive clipping. The electronic circuit, which performs positive clipping is known as positive clipper circuit. Based on the diode position and from where we are taking the output in the circuit, we are having two types of positive clipping circuits. Those are positive series clipper & positive shunt clipper.

  • At normal operating frequencies, the diode present in the clipping circuits will perform the switching action (ON / OFF) very well. But at high operating frequencies, the capacitance of the diode will create the issue to get properly clipped waveform at the output. In this article, we assumed the diodes used in the circuits are ideal. But practically there will be some voltage drop across the diode. This will distort the signal. These are the disadvantages of clipping circuits.

  • If the portion of the negative half cycle or entire negative half cycle of the input waveform is clipped at the output, then it is known as negative clipping. The electronic circuit, which performs negative clipping is known as the negative clipper circuit. Based on the diode position and from where we are taking the output in the circuit, we are having two types of negative clipping circuits. Those are negative series clipper & negative shunt clipper.

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