In direct-current circuit theory, Norton's theorem (aka Mayer–Norton theorem) is a simplification that can be applied to networks made of linear time-invariant resistances, voltage sources, and current sources. At a pair of terminals of the network, it can be replaced by a current source and a single resistor in parallel.
The Norton equivalent circuit is used to represent any network of linear sources and impedances at a given frequency.
Norton's theorem and its dual, Thévenin's theorem, are widely used for circuit analysis simplification and to study circuit's initial-condition and steady-state response.
To find the equivalent, the Norton current Ino is calculated as the current flowing at the terminals into a short circuit (zero resistance between A and B). This is Ino. The Norton resistance Rno is found by calculating the output voltage produced with no resistance connected at the terminals; equivalently, this is the resistance between the terminals with all (independent) voltage sources short-circuited and independent current sources open-circuited. This is equivalent to calculating the Thevenin resistance.
- When there are dependent sources, the more general method must be used. The voltage at the terminals is calculated for an injection of a 1Amp test current at the terminals. This voltage divided by the 1 A current is the Norton impedance Rno. This method must be used if the circuit contains dependent sources, but it can be used in all cases even when there are no dependent sources.
Example of a Norton equivalent circuit
In the example, the total current Itotal is given by:
The current through the load is then, using the current divider rule:
And the equivalent resistance looking back into the circuit is:
So the equivalent circuit is a 3.75 mA current source in parallel with a 2 kΩ resistor.
Conversion to a Thévenin equivalent
A Norton equivalent circuit is related to the Thévenin equivalent by the equations:
The passive circuit equivalent of "Norton's theorem" in queuing theory is called the Chandy Herzog Woo theorem. In a reversible queueing system, it is often possible to replace an uninteresting subset of queues by a single (FCFS or PS) queue with an appropriately chosen service rate.
- Ohm's Law
- Millman's theorem
- Source transformation
- Superposition theorem
- Thévenin's theorem
- Maximum power transfer theorem
- Extra element theorem
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