Real Ground and Virtual Ground Difference, Use, Example


Hey, today we are going to know about the concept of the virtual ground and real ground in an electronic circuit. In this article, you will find the difference between real ground and virtual ground, their uses, and examples. This is a very simple and important topic in electronic engineering, you must have a clear knowledge about it.


Real Ground in Electronic Circuit


Real ground means it physically exists or when the terminals are physically connected to the ground or earth to get the zero potential, then it is called real grounding.
Real ground refers to the reference voltage(generally zero potential) in any electrical or electronic circuit.

In a real grounding system, generally, all negative terminals are connected to the negative terminal of the power supply.


Example of Real Ground


Generally, all common electrical and electronic circuits use the Real Ground System. Here, you can see in the below figure an amplifier circuit is shown.

Real Ground example application


Here you can see, all negative terminals even the negative terminal of the power supply are connected together and they are physically connected to the ground or zero potential. This called Real ground.

Read Also: What is Vcc, Vss, Vdd, Vee in Electronics? Differences and Full Forms

Application and Use of Real Ground


1. Generally, all common electrical and electronics circuits use the Real grounding system.
2. When the neutral point of the electrical system physically connected to the earth or ground, then it is also called real ground.


Virtual Ground in Electronic Circuit


Virtual Ground refers to a point or node which not physically connected to the earth or ground but the voltage at that point or node is Zero. As the voltage at that point is zero like a ground potential, it is called virtual ground.

Virtual ground is a node that does not sink any current. Virtual ground point maintained at a steady reference potential(generally zero potential), without being connected directly to the actual reference potential.



Example of Virtual Ground


In some special electronic circuits, the virtual ground system is used.

Example 1: Resistor Divider Circuit

Here you can see in the below figure, a resistor divider circuit is shown.

Virtual Ground example application


Here you can see two resistors of the same value is connected in series, so when a voltage applied across the whole system, the same voltage drop will occur in both resistor so the voltage at the midpoint will be zero.
Example 2: OpAmp Circuit

When an OpAmp used with a feedback circuit, it trying to keep its two input terminals at the same potential.

Virtual Ground in OpAmp


Here, you can see in the above figure the non-inverting terminal is connected to the ground, so the voltage at the non-inverting terminal is zero. So, the OpAmp will try to keep the inverting terminal at zero potential also even it is not connected to the ground.



Application and Use of Virtual Ground


We can see the application of virtual ground in some special electronic circuits such as Operational Amplifier with Feedback circuit, resistor divider circuit, etc.


Difference between Real Ground and Virtual Ground


Real Ground
Virtual Ground
Terminals are physically connected to the earth or ground.
Terminals are not physically connected to earth or ground.
Terminals are connected to the negative terminal of the power supply.
Terminals may not be connected to the negative terminal of the power supply.
It has zero potential naturally.
Zero potential occurs at that point due to the circuit arrangement.
Example: Electrical Grounding system, common electronic circuits
Example: Resistor Divider Circuit, OpAmp Circuit


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Real Ground and Virtual Ground Difference, Use, Example Real Ground and Virtual Ground Difference, Use, Example Reviewed by ETechnoG on 1/30/2020 Rating: 5
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