Clipper and Clamper Circuits are different with respect to their operation, circuit diagrams, and their applications and in this article we, will cover Difference Between Clipper and Clamper w.r.t their Circuits, Operations, and their Applications.

Difference Between Clipper and Clamper

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The major difference between clipper and clamper circuit is that clipper is a limiting or wave shaping circuit which clips the positive or negative half of the output voltage while clamper is a circuit which changes the DC reference of the output voltage which means it shifts the DC level of output voltage. In terms of their working principle, Clipper and Clamper Circuit are the exact opposite of each other.

Another way to distinguish between Clipper and Clamper circuit is the output voltage waveform. A clipper circuit which clips the output waveform can achieve different waveform shapes, but the voltage obtained by the clamper circuit does not alter in shape.

  1. Clippers are used when we want to modify the amplitude voltage.  For example, if we want to generate a square wave from a sinusoidal signal we can use the clipper circuit.
  2. While clamper is used when we require multiples of the input voltage at the output. For example, the Clamper circuit is often utilized in the Voltage multipliers circuit.

Major differences Between Clipper and Clamper in the comparison chart.

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Clipper circuit or limiter circuit is used to clip off the amplitude of the applied signal either in a positive direction or in a negative direction depending on the circuit configuration. In Electronic applications, it is desirable that excessive voltage should not pass through the components as they may get damaged. Thus, a particular required value is obtained by clipping the amplitude of the applied signal using clipper circuit.

positive clipper circuit

General Diode Clipper

During Positive Half Cycle of Input

The clipper circuit down below is consists of an AC source, a resistor, and a Diode. When the positive half cycle is applied at the clipper circuit, the diode becomes forward biased. Hence, the output voltage obtained across the load will be equal to the voltage across the diode.

Clipper circuit

Please remember in case of Silicon Diode, the voltage drop across the diode will be 0.7 V while in case of Germanium diode the voltage drop across it will be 0.3 V. Thus, the output voltage obtained during the positive half cycle will be almost equal to the voltage drop across the diode.

Now you must have got the basic idea that how clipper works in real. In the above diagram, you can see that the input voltage had more amplitude, but the voltage obtained at the output is clipped and have less amplitude.

Read More: What is the Duty Cycle?

During the Negative Half of Input

When the negative half cycle of input is applied at the clipper circuit, the diode will become reversed biased, hence the diode will behave like an open switch and it will not conduct. Therefore, It is clear from the above diagram that during the negative half cycle of input, the output voltage will be almost the same as the input voltage.

Note: This was the example of Positive clipper which we discussed above. We can also create a negative clipper by just reversing the diode and polarities of the source.

Related Topic: Diode Clipper – Positive, Negative, Biased Clipper Working and Circuits.



Clamper is different from a clipper circuit because it does not clip the input signal, but it shifts the DC reference level either upward or downward. If you are using positive clamper it will shift the dc reference level in the upward, and if you are using the negative clamper it will shift the dc reference level in the downward as shown in the figure below.

Positive clamper circuit

General Clamper

A clamper circuit is shown below consists of an AC source, a capacitor, a diode, and a resistor. When the negative half cycle of input is applied at the clamper circuit, the diode becomes forward biased, and the capacitor starts to charger till its peak value.

Clamper circuit
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When the positive half of Input is applied in the clamper circuit, the diode becomes reverse biased and act as an open circuit. hence, the capacitor starts discharging, and the complete input Sinusoidal voltage waveform appears across the load resistor. Thus, the output voltage in this condition will be equal to the applied voltage+ capacitor voltage and due to that reason, they are preferably used for the application of voltage multiplication.

The input voltage was Vp and the output voltage obtained by the clamper circuit is 2vp. This was the example of Positive Clamper because you can see the waveform is shifted toward upward, we can also design a negative clamper by just reversing the diode. In that case, the output waveform will shift downwards.

Related Topic: Diode Clamper- Positive, Negative Clamper Working and Circuits

Key Differences

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  1. The main difference between a clipper and clamper w.r.t their function; the clipper limits the voltage by clipping the input amplitude while clamper shifts the dc level in upwards or downwards.
  2. The Second big difference between clipper and clamper is the use of energy storing element, A Clipper circuit does not require any capacitor for its operation while clamper circuit requires energy storing element for it operation, i.e. capacitor.
  3. Difference between clipper and clamper w.r.t their output waveform, the output waveform obtained from clipper circuit appears in the cut off or clipped off shape than that of input waveform, whereas output voltage obtained from a clamper circuit is just only shifted depending on the configuration of clamper it may be shifted in upward or it be shifted downward.
  4. The clipper is also known as a current Limiter, voltage limiter or amplitude limiter while clamper circuit is also considered as a voltage multiplier circuit.
  5. Clippers are used as Voltage or current limiter circuit.
  6. Clampers are used as voltage multipliers circuits.

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Clipper and Clamper both are formed from diode but they are almost opposite of each other with respect to their working, applications and construction in the article we learned that a diode clipper is a circuit which clips the positive output waveform or negative output waveform depending on circuit configuration, and the diode clamper is a circuit which shifts the dc reference of output waveform depending on circuit configuration.

Both are an electronic circuit formed from simple diode and battery source but the only difference is that clamper uses charge storing element capacitor. Clippers and clampers play an important rule in different electronic applications such as clipper is used for transient protection circuits, voltage limiting circuits, whereas clamper is used in sonars, radars, and voltage multipliers

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