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The LM386N-1 LM386-Operational amplifier.jpg
The LM386N-1

The LM386 is an integrated circuit containing a low voltage audio power amplifier. [1] It is suitable for battery-powered devices such as radios, guitar amplifiers, and hobby electronics projects. The IC consists of an 8 pin dual in-line package (DIP-8) and can output 0.25 to 1 watts of power depending on the model using a 9-volt power supply.

Integrated circuit electronic circuit manufactured by lithography; set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, cheaper, and faster than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.


It was released on 08/26/1983. [2]


There are three different models of the LM386 that have slightly different specifications, outlined below.

Chip NameMin VoltageMax VoltageMinimum Output PowerTypical Output PowerLoad Impedance
LM386N-14 volts12 volts250 mW 325 mW8 ohms
LM386N-34 volts12 volts500 mW 700 mW8 ohms
LM386N-45 volts18 volts700 mW 1000 mW32 ohms

The LM386 was invented by Ernie Leroy Long at Motorola in 1969. It was originally for part of a fuel injection system for a Ford Car.[ citation needed ]

Almost identical versions of the device are available from Unisonic (Unisonic Technologies Co. or UTC) as the LM386 [3] and the New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. (JRC) [4] as the NJM386 [5] and NJM386B. [6]

The JRC devices are also available in a single-in-line package. [7]

JRC devices, marked as 386 JRC, are sometimes misleadingly referred to as the JRC386.

SPICE simulation models

Although National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments (who bought Nat Semi in 2011 [8] ) do not provide an official SPICE model for the LM386, there are two independently developed models freely available:

SPICE is a general-purpose, open-source analog electronic circuit simulator. It is a program used in integrated circuit and board-level design to check the integrity of circuit designs and to predict circuit behavior.

Usage in guitar amplifiers

Usage in amateur radio

The LM386 is very commonly used in the audio amplifier of low power QRP amateur radio rigs, like the Pixie.

See also

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  1. "Data Sheet (National Semiconductor)" (PDF). Texas Instruments. 2000. Retrieved 4 Nov 2013.
  2. https://e2e.ti.com/support/amplifiers/audio_amplifiers/f/6/p/574359/2107031#2107031
  3. "Data Sheet (Unisonic Technologies Co.)" (PDF). Unisonic Technologies Co. 2014. Retrieved 2 Sep 2015.
  4. "Data Sheet (New Japan Radio Co. Ltd.)" (PDF). New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. Retrieved 29 Aug 2015.
  5. "Data Sheet (New Japan Radio Co. Ltd.)" (PDF). New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. Retrieved 29 Aug 2015.
  6. "Data Sheet (New Japan Radio Co. Ltd.)" (PDF). New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. Retrieved 2 Sep 2015.
  7. "Single-in-line package outline drawing (New Japan Radio Co. Ltd.)" (PDF). New Japan Radio Co. Ltd. Retrieved 2 Sep 2015.
  8. "Texas Instruments completes acquisition of National Semiconductor".
  9. "LM386 audio amp Spice model?".
  10. "The EasyEDA Tesseract Guitar Practice Amp simulation files".
  11. "Tesseract Guitar Practice Amp".
  12. "Little Gem amps at runoffgroove".
  13. "Ruby amp at runoffgroove".