Choke (electronics)

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A choke, with two 20 mH windings and rated to handle 2 A Common mode choke 2A with 20mH inductance.jpg
A choke, with two 20 mH windings and rated to handle 2 A

In electronics, a choke coil is an inductor used to block higher-frequency while passing lower-frequency of alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) in an electrical circuit. A choke usually consists of a coil of insulated wire often wound on a magnetic core, although some consist of a doughnut-shaped "bead" of ferrite material strung on a wire. The choke's impedance increases with frequency. Its low electrical resistance passes both AC and DC with little power loss, but its reactance limits the amount of AC passed.

Electronics physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter

Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. The identification of the electron in 1897, along with the invention of the vacuum tube, which could amplify and rectify small electrical signals, inaugurated the field of electronics and the electron age.

Inductor passive two-terminal electrical component that stores energy in its magnetic field

An inductor, also called a coil, choke, or reactor, is a passive two-terminal electrical component that stores energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through it. An inductor typically consists of an insulated wire wound into a coil around a core.

Alternating current electric voltage which periodically reverses direction; form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences; form of electrical energy that consumers typically use when they plug electric appliances into a wall socket

Alternating current (AC) is an electric current which periodically reverses direction, in contrast to direct current (DC) which flows only in one direction. Alternating current is the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences, and it is the form of electrical energy that consumers typically use when they plug kitchen appliances, televisions, fans and electric lamps into a wall socket. A common source of DC power is a battery cell in a flashlight. The abbreviations AC and DC are often used to mean simply alternating and direct, as when they modify current or voltage.


The name comes from blocking—"choking"—high frequencies while passing low frequencies. It is a functional name; the name "choke" is used if an inductor is used for blocking or decoupling higher frequencies, but is simply called an "inductor" if used in electronic filters or tuned circuits. Inductors designed for use as chokes are usually distinguished by not having the low-loss construction (high Q factor) required in inductors used in tuned circuits and filtering applications.

Electronic filter electronic circuit that removes unwanted components from the signal, or enhances wanted ones, or both

Electronic filters are circuits which perform signal processing functions, specifically to remove unwanted frequency components from the signal, to enhance wanted ones, or both. Electronic filters can be:

<i>Q</i> factor

In physics and engineering the quality factor or Q factor is a dimensionless parameter that describes how underdamped an oscillator or resonator is, and characterizes a resonator's bandwidth relative to its centre frequency. Higher Q indicates a lower rate of energy loss relative to the stored energy of the resonator; the oscillations die out more slowly. A pendulum suspended from a high-quality bearing, oscillating in air, has a high Q, while a pendulum immersed in oil has a low one. Resonators with high quality factors have low damping, so that they ring or vibrate longer.

Types and construction

An MF or HF radio choke for tenths of an ampere, and a ferrite bead VHF choke for several amperes. Two ferrite beads.jpg
An MF or HF radio choke for tenths of an ampere, and a ferrite bead VHF choke for several amperes.
A ferrite "bead" choke, consisting of a cylinder of ferrite encircling a computer power cord to block electronic noise. Ferrite bead no shell.jpg
A ferrite "bead" choke, consisting of a cylinder of ferrite encircling a computer power cord to block electronic noise.

Chokes are divided into two broad classes:

An audio frequency or audible frequency is a periodic vibration whose frequency is in the band audible to the average human. The SI unit of audio frequency is the hertz (Hz). It is the property of sound that most determines pitch.

Radio frequency (RF) is the oscillation rate of an alternating electric current or voltage or of a magnetic, electric or electromagnetic field or mechanical system in the frequency range from around twenty thousand times per second to around three hundred billion times per second. This is roughly between the upper limit of audio frequencies and the lower limit of infrared frequencies; these are the frequencies at which energy from an oscillating current can radiate off a conductor into space as radio waves. Different sources specify different upper and lower bounds for the frequency range.

Audio frequency choke

Audio frequency chokes (AFC) usually have ferromagnetic cores to increase their inductance. They are often constructed similarly to transformers, with laminated iron cores and an air gap. The iron core increases the inductance for a given volume of the core. Chokes were frequently used in the design of rectifier power supplies for vacuum tube equipment such as radio receivers or amplifiers. They are commonly found in direct current motor controllers to produce direct current (DC), where they were used in conjunction with large electrolytic capacitors to remove the voltage ripple (AC) at the output DC. A rectifier circuit designed for a choke-output filter may produce too much DC output voltage and subject the rectifier and filter capacitors to excessive in-rush and ripple currents if the inductor is removed. However, modern electrolytic capacitors with high ripple current ratings, and voltage regulators that remove more power supply ripple than chokes could, have eliminated heavy, bulky chokes from mains frequency power supplies. Smaller chokes are used in switching power supplies to remove the higher-frequency switching transients from the output and sometimes from feeding back into the mains input. They often have toroidal ferrite cores.

Inductance electrical property

In electromagnetism and electronics, inductance describes the tendency of an electrical conductor, such as coil, to oppose a change in the electric current through it. The change in current induces a reverse electromotive force (voltage). When an electric current flows through a conductor, it creates a magnetic field around that conductor. A changing current, in turn, creates a changing magnetic field, the surface integral of which is known as magnetic flux. From Faraday's law of induction, any change in magnetic flux through a circuit induces an electromotive force (voltage) across that circuit, a phenomenon known as electromagnetic induction. Inductance is specifically defined as the ratio between this induced voltage and the rate of change of the current in the circuit

Vacuum tube Device that controls electric current between electrodes in an evacuated container

In electronics, a vacuum tube, an electron tube, or valve or, colloquially, a tube, is a device that controls electric current flow in a high vacuum between electrodes to which an electric potential difference has been applied.

Voltage regulator regulator, designed to automatically maintain a constant voltage level;may: use a simple feed-forward design or include negative feedback, use an electromechanical mechanism or electronic components

A voltage regulator is a system designed to automatically maintain a constant voltage level. A voltage regulator may use a simple feed-forward design or may include negative feedback. It may use an electromechanical mechanism, or electronic components. Depending on the design, it may be used to regulate one or more AC or DC voltages.

Some car audio hobbyists use choke coils with car audio systems (specifically in the wiring for a subwoofer, to remove high frequencies from the amplified signal).


A subwoofer is a woofer, or a complete loudspeaker, which is dedicated to the reproduction of low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass and sub-bass. The typical frequency range for a subwoofer is about 20–200 Hz for consumer products, below 100 Hz for professional live sound, and below 80 Hz in THX-approved systems. Subwoofers are intended to augment the low frequency range of loudspeakers that cover the higher frequency bands. While the term "subwoofer" technically only refers to the speaker driver, in common parlance, the term often refers to a subwoofer driver mounted in a speaker enclosure (cabinet), often with a built-in amplifier.

Radio frequency choke

Radio frequency chokes (RFC) often have iron powder or ferrite cores which increases inductance and overall operation. [1] They are often wound in complex patterns (basket winding) to reduce self-capacitance and proximity effect losses. Chokes for even higher frequencies have non-magnetic cores and low inductance.

Ferrite (magnet) ceramic materials, many of them magnetic

A ferrite is a ceramic material made by mixing and firing large proportions iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3, rust) blended with small proportions of one or more additional metallic elements, such as barium, manganese, nickel, and zinc. They are both electrically non-conductive, meaning that they are insulators, and ferrimagnetic, meaning they can easily be magnetized or attracted to a magnet. Ferrites can be divided into two families based on their resistance to being demagnetized (magnetic coercivity).

Basket winding

Basket winding is a winding method for electrical wire in a coil. The winding pattern is used for radio-frequency electronic components with many parallel wires, such as inductors and transformers. The winding pattern reduces the amount of wire running in adjacent, parallel turns. The wires in successive layers of a basket wound coil cross each other at large angles, as close to 90 degrees as possible, which reduces energy loss due to electrical cross-coupling between wires at radio frequencies.

Parasitic capacitance, or stray capacitance is an unavoidable and usually unwanted capacitance that exists between the parts of an electronic component or circuit simply because of their proximity to each other. When two electrical conductors at different voltages are close together, the electric field between them causes electric charge to be stored on them; this effect is parasitic capacitance. All actual circuit elements such as inductors, diodes, and transistors have internal capacitance, which can cause their behavior to depart from that of 'ideal' circuit elements. Additionally, there is always non-zero capacitance between any two conductors; this can be significant at higher frequencies with closely spaced conductors, such as wires or printed circuit board traces.

A modern form of choke used for eliminating digital RF noise from lines is the ferrite bead, a cylindrical or torus-shaped core of ferrite slipped over a wire. These are often seen on computer cables. A typical RF choke value could be 2 millihenries.

Common-mode choke

A typical common-mode choke configuration. The common mode currents, I1 and I2, flowing in the same direction through each of the choke windings, creates equal and in-phase magnetic fields which add together. This results in the choke presenting a high impedance to the common mode signal. Common-mode-choke.png
A typical common-mode choke configuration. The common mode currents, I1 and I2, flowing in the same direction through each of the choke windings, creates equal and in-phase magnetic fields which add together. This results in the choke presenting a high impedance to the common mode signal.

The common-mode (CM) choke, where two coils are wound on a single core, is useful for suppression of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) from power supply lines and for prevention of malfunctioning of power electronics device. It passes differential currents (equal but opposite), while blocking common-mode currents. [3] The magnetic flux produced by differential-mode (DM) currents in the core tend to cancel each other out since the windings are negative coupled. Thus, the choke presents little inductance or impedance to DM currents. Normally this also means that the core will not saturate for large DM currents and the maximum current rating is instead determined by the heating effect of the winding resistance. The CM currents, however, see a high impedance because of the combined inductance of the positive coupled windings.

CM chokes are commonly used in industrial, electrical and telecommunications applications to remove or decrease noise and related electromagnetic interference. [4]

CM choke with DM current Slionnnnnn1.jpg
CM choke with DM current

Near magnetic field emission reduction

When the CM choke is conducting CM current, most of the magnetic flux generated by the windings is confined with the inductor core because of its high permeability. In this case, the leakage flux, which is also the near magnetic field emission of the CM choke is low. However, the DM current flowing through the windings will generate high emitted near magnetic field since the windings are negative coupled in this case. To reduce the near magnetic field emission, a twisted winding structure can be applied to the CM choke.

A balanced twisted windings CM choke Wiki1dsdfq2.png
A balanced twisted windings CM choke
The prototype of the balanced twisted winding CM choke 4ffffss123.jpg
The prototype of the balanced twisted winding CM choke

The difference between the balanced twisted windings CM choke and conventional balanced two winding CM choke is that the windings interact in the center of the core open window. When it is conducting CM current, the balanced twisted winding CM inductor can provide identical CM inductance as the conventional CM inductor. When it is conducting DM current, the equivalent current loops will generate inversed direction magnetic fields in space so that they tend to cancel each other.

The equivalent current loops and the magnetic fields generated Wiki2asfasdasd.png
The equivalent current loops and the magnetic fields generated
Measurement for near magnetic field emission

We need to conduct a current to the inductor and use a probe to measure the near field emission. First, a signal generator, serving as a voltage source, is connected to an amplifier. The output of the amplifier is then connected to the inductor under measurement. To monitor and control the current flowing through the inductor, a current clamp is clamped around the conducting wire. Next, an oscilloscope is connected to the current clamp to measure the current waveform. A probe is then used to measure the flux in the air. Another spectrum analyzer is connected to the probe to collect the data.

Measurement experiment set up Fivasdsa2233.jpg
Measurement experiment set up

See also

Related Research Articles

Electromagnetic coil electrical component

An electromagnetic coil is an electrical conductor such as a wire in the shape of a coil, spiral or helix. Electromagnetic coils are used in electrical engineering, in applications where electric currents interact with magnetic fields, in devices such as electric motors, generators, inductors, electromagnets, transformers, and sensor coils. Either an electric current is passed through the wire of the coil to generate a magnetic field, or conversely an external time-varying magnetic field through the interior of the coil generates an EMF (voltage) in the conductor.

Transformer electrical artefact that transfers energy through electromagnetic induction

A transformer is a static electrical device that transfers electrical energy between two or more circuits. A varying current in one coil of the transformer produces a varying magnetic flux, which, in turn, induces a varying electromotive force across a second coil wound around the same core. Electrical energy can be transferred between the two coils, without a metallic connection between the two circuits. Faraday's law of induction discovered in 1831 described the induced voltage effect in any coil due to changing magnetic flux encircled by the coil.

Rectifier AC-DC conversion device; electrical device that converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, to direct current (DC), which flows in only one direction

A rectifier is an electrical device that converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, to direct current (DC), which flows in only one direction.

Switched-mode power supply electronic power supply that incorporates a switching regulator

A switched-mode power supply is an electronic power supply that incorporates a switching regulator to convert electrical power efficiently. Like other power supplies, an SMPS transfers power from a DC or AC source to DC loads, such as a personal computer, while converting voltage and current characteristics. Unlike a linear power supply, the pass transistor of a switching-mode supply continually switches between low-dissipation, full-on and full-off states, and spends very little time in the high dissipation transitions, which minimizes wasted energy. Ideally, a switched-mode power supply dissipates no power. Voltage regulation is achieved by varying the ratio of on-to-off time. In contrast, a linear power supply regulates the output voltage by continually dissipating power in the pass transistor. This higher power conversion efficiency is an important advantage of a switched-mode power supply. Switched-mode power supplies may also be substantially smaller and lighter than a linear supply due to the smaller transformer size and weight.


A balun is an electrical device that converts between a balanced signal and an unbalanced signal. A balun can take many forms and may include devices that also transform impedances but need not do so. Transformer baluns can also be used to connect lines of differing impedance. Sometimes, in the case of transformer baluns, they use magnetic coupling but need not do so. Common-mode chokes are also used as baluns and work by eliminating, rather than ignoring, common mode signals.

The Ćuk converter is a type of DC/DC converter that has an output voltage magnitude that is either greater than or less than the input voltage magnitude. It is essentially a boost converter followed by a buck converter with a capacitor to couple the energy.

Practical capacitors and inductors as used in electric circuits are not ideal components with only capacitance or inductance. However, they can be treated, to a very good degree of approximation, as being ideal capacitors and inductors in series with a resistance; this resistance is defined as the equivalent series resistance (ESR). If not otherwise specified, the ESR is always an AC resistance measured at specified frequencies, 100 kHz for switched-mode power supply components, 120 Hz for linear power-supply components, and at the self-resonant frequency for general-application components. Audio components may report "Q factor", incorporating ESR among other things, at 1000 Hz.

A DC-to-DC converter is an electronic circuit or electromechanical device that converts a source of direct current (DC) from one voltage level to another. It is a type of electric power converter. Power levels range from very low to very high.

Flyback transformer

A flyback transformer (FBT), also called a line output transformer (LOPT), is a special type of electrical transformer. It was initially designed to generate high voltage sawtooth signals at a relatively high frequency. In modern applications, it is used extensively in switched-mode power supplies for both low (3 V) and high voltage supplies.

A magnetic core is a piece of magnetic material with a high magnetic permeability used to confine and guide magnetic fields in electrical, electromechanical and magnetic devices such as electromagnets, transformers, electric motors, generators, inductors, magnetic recording heads, and magnetic assemblies. It is made of ferromagnetic metal such as iron, or ferrimagnetic compounds such as ferrites. The high permeability, relative to the surrounding air, causes the magnetic field lines to be concentrated in the core material. The magnetic field is often created by a current-carrying coil of wire around the core.

Inrush current

Inrush current, input surge current, or switch-on surge is the maximal instantaneous input current drawn by an electrical device when first turned on. Alternating-current electric motors and transformers may draw several times their normal full-load current when first energized, for a few cycles of the input waveform. Power converters also often have inrush currents much higher than their steady-state currents, due to the charging current of the input capacitance. The selection of overcurrent-protection devices such as fuses and circuit breakers is made more complicated when high inrush currents must be tolerated. The overcurrent protection must react quickly to overload or short-circuit faults but must not interrupt the circuit when the inrush current flows.

Blocking oscillator

A blocking oscillator is a simple configuration of discrete electronic components which can produce a free-running signal, requiring only a resistor, a transformer, and one amplifying element. The name is derived from the fact that the transistor is cut-off or "blocked" for most of the duty-cycle, producing periodic pulses. The non-sinusoidal output is not suitable for use as a radio-frequency local oscillator, but it can serve as a timing generator, to power lights, LEDs, Elwire, or small neon indicators. The simple tones are also sufficient for applications such as alarms or a Morse code practice device. Some cameras use a blocking oscillator to strobe the flash prior to a shot to reduce the red-eye effect.


A braid-breaker is a filter that prevents television interference (TVI). In many cases of TVI, caused by a high field strength of a nearby high frequency (HF) transmitter, the aerial down lead plugged into the back of the TV acts as a longwire antenna or as a simple vertical element. The radio frequency (RF) current flowing through the tuner of the TV tends to generate harmonics which then spoil the viewing.

Ripple in electronics is the residual periodic variation of the DC voltage within a power supply which has been derived from an alternating current (AC) source. This ripple is due to incomplete suppression of the alternating waveform after rectification. Ripple voltage originates as the output of a rectifier or from generation and commutation of DC power.

Flyback converter

The flyback converter is used in both AC/DC and DC/DC conversion with galvanic isolation between the input and any outputs. The flyback converter is a buck-boost converter with the inductor split to form a transformer, so that the voltage ratios are multiplied with an additional advantage of isolation. When driving for example a plasma lamp or a voltage multiplier the rectifying diode of the boost converter is left out and the device is called a flyback transformer.

A bias tee is a three-port network used for setting the DC bias point of some electronic components without disturbing other components. The bias tee is a diplexer. The low-frequency port is used to set the bias; the high-frequency port passes the radio-frequency signals but blocks the biasing levels; the combined port connects to the device, which sees both the bias and RF. It is called a tee because the 3 ports are often arranged in the shape of a T.

An induction heater is a key piece of equipment used in all forms of induction heating. Typically an induction heater operates at either medium frequency (MF) or radio frequency (RF) ranges.

Transformer types

A variety of types of electrical transformer are made for different purposes. Despite their design differences, the various types employ the same basic principle as discovered in 1831 by Michael Faraday, and share several key functional parts.

Sheath current filter

Sheath current filters are electronic components that can prevent noise signals travelling in the sheath of sheathed cables, which can cause interference. Using sheath current filters, ground loops causing mains hum and high frequency common-mode signals can be prevented.


  1. "Types of Inductors in Electronics". Lifewire. Retrieved 2018-03-14.
  2. "Understanding Common Mode Noise". Pulse. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  4. Dull, Bill. "Differential Mode vs. Common Mode Chokes" . Retrieved 2018-03-14.

Further reading