Guides: Grounding Principles

In a previous blog on supply bypassing, I cautioned that poor bypassing could increase distortion of an amplifier. A reader, Walter, asked an interesting question… where should you connect the ground of a bypass capacitor to avoid problems?

This raises questions regarding proper grounding techniques. Wow. Big topic, but I may be able provide some insight with a couple of simple examples.

Figure 1 shows inverting and non-inverting amplifier stages with unintended, parasitic resistance or inductance in the ground connections (highlighted in red). The nodes A, B and C are all intended to be ground. But if current flows in parasitic ground impedances, these nodes will not be at the same potential. It is these parasitic ground impedances that can allow distorted ground currents to contaminate signals.

 

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