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A Motorola 68000-based computer with various TTL chips mounted on protoboards.

Transistor–transistor logic (TTL) is a class of digital circuits built from bipolar junction transistors (BJT) and resistors. It is called transistor–transistor logic because both the logic gating function (e.g., AND) and the amplifying function are performed by transistors (contrast this with RTL and DTL).

TTL is notable for being a widespread integrated circuit (IC) family used in many applications such as computers, industrial controls, test equipment and instrumentation, consumer electronics, synthesizers, etc. The designation TTL is sometimes used to mean TTL-compatible logic levels, even when not associated directly with TTL integrated circuits, for example as a label on the inputs and outputs of electronic instruments.[1]



A real-time clock built of TTL chips designed about 1979.

TTL was invented in 1961 by James L. Buie of TRW, "particularly suited to the newly developing integrated circuit design technology."[2] The first commercial integrated-circuit TTL devices were manufactured by Sylvania in 1963, called the Sylvania Universal High-Level Logic family (SUHL).[3] The Sylvania parts were used in the controls of the Phoenix missile.[3] TTL became popular with electronic systems designers after Texas Instruments introduced the 5400 series of ICs, with military temperature range, in 1964 and the later 7400 series, specified over a narrower range, in 1966.

The Texas Instruments 7400 family became an industry standard. Compatible parts were made by Motorola, AMD, Fairchild, Intel, Intersil, Signetics, Mullard, Siemens, SGS-Thomson and National Semiconductor,[4][5] and many other companies, even in the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union, GDR, Poland, Bulgaria).[citation needed] Not only did others make compatible TTL parts, but compatible parts were made using many other circuit technologies as well.

The term "TTL" is applied to many successive generations of bipolar logic, with gradual improvements in speed and power consumption over about two decades. The last widely available family[citation needed], 74AS/ALS Advanced Schottky, was introduced in 1985.[6] As of 2008, Texas Instruments continues to supply the more general-purpose chips in numerous obsolete technology families, albeit at increased prices. Typically, TTL chips integrate no more than a few hundred transistors each. Functions within a single package generally range from a few logic gates to a microprocessor bit-slice. TTL also became important because its low cost made digital techniques economically practical for tasks previously done by analog methods.[7]

The Kenbak-1, one of the first personal computers, used TTL for its CPU instead of a microprocessor chip, which was not available in 1971.[8] The 1973 Xerox Alto and 1981 Star workstations, which introduced the graphical user interface, used TTL circuits integrated at the level of ALUs and bitslices, respectively. Most computers used TTL-compatible logic between larger chips well into the 1990s. Until the advent of programmable logic, discrete bipolar logic was used to prototype and emulate microarchitectures under development.


In diode–transistor logic (DTL) gates, the p-n junctions of the diodes have considerable capacitances; so changing the logic level of an input connected to a diode requires considerable time and energy. The base of the output transistor in DTL and in resistor–transistor logic (RTL) as well accumulates a considerable charge that decreases slowly through the high-to-low input transition.


TTL with a simple output stage

Two-input TTL NAND gate with a simple output stage.

TTL eliminates the problems of the preceding RTL and DTL generations by using transistors in both the input and output stages. As shown in the schematic at right, the fundamental concept of TTL is to isolate the inputs by using the base-emitter junctions of a multiple-emitter transistor as diode switches, and to buffer the output by using a common emitter amplifier.

When all the inputs are held at high voltage (logical "1"), all the base-emitter junctions of the multiple-emitter transistor are cut-off; so the input voltage sources are disconnected and do not impact on the circuit (only small input currents flow since the transistor is in a reverse-active mode). The second transistor is driven by a constant current flowing through the base resistor and the forward-biased base–collector junction of the input transistor; so the output transistor turns "on" and the output voltage becomes low (logical "0"). If one (or more) of the input voltages becomes zero, the corresponding base-emitter junction of the multiple-emitter transistor connects in parallel to the two series-connected junctions (the base-collector junction of the multiple-emitter transistor and the base-emitter junction of the second transistor). The input base-emitter junction deprives all the base current of the output transistor (the current is steered from the base of the second transistor to the input source). The output transistor turns "off" and the output voltage becomes high (logical "1"). Note that during the transition the input transistor is briefly in its active region; so it draws a large current away from the base of the output stage transistor and thus quickly discharges its base. This is a critical advantage of TTL over DTL that speeds up the transition over a diode input structure.[9]

TTL with a "totem-pole" output stage

Standard TTL NAND with a "totem-pole" output stage, one of four in 7400

The second schematic adds to this a "totem-pole" ("push-pull") output consisting of the two n-p-n transistors V3 and V4, the "lifting" diode V5 and the current-limiting resistor R3. It is driven by applying the same current steering idea (depriving the current of a voltage-stable element by connecting in parallel another voltage-stable element with lower threshold voltage). When V2 is "off", V4 is "off" as well and V3 operates in active regime as a voltage follower producing high output voltage (logical "1"). When V2 is "on", it activates V4, driving low voltage (logical "0") to the output. V2 and V4 collector–emitter junctions connect V4 base-emitter junction in parallel to the series-connected V3 base-emitter and V5 anode-cathode junctions. V3 base current is deprived; the transistor turns "off" and it does not impact on the output. The strength of the gate may be increased without proportionally affecting the power consumption by removing the pull-up and pull-down resistors from the output stage.[10][11]

Interfacing problems

As the preceding DTL, at low input voltage (logical "0") the TTL input behaves as a simple resistor type current source passing a current through the input source (the lower output transistor V4 of the previous stage or some other kind of input source). The magnitude of this current is about 1.1 mA for a standard TTL gate and does not depend on the number of the parallel connected inputs (base-emitter junctions) belonging to one IC. The input source has to be low-resistive enough (< 800 Ω) so that the flowing current creates only a negligible voltage drop (< 0.8 V) across it. At high input voltage (logical "1"), when the input transistor operates in a reverse-active mode, the TTL input acts as a transistor current sink "pulling" a small current from the upper transistor V3 of the previous stage (DTL does not consume current in this case). The magnitude of the current now is about 40 μA for a standard TTL gate and it is proportional to the number of the parallel connected inputs (collector-emitter junctions) of one IC. As with all bipolar logic, a small current must be drawn from a TTL input to ensure proper logic levels. The total current drawn must be within the capacities of the preceding stage, which limits the number of nodes that can be connected (the fanout).

All standardized common TTL circuits operate with a 5-volt power supply. A TTL input signal is defined as "low" when between 0 V and 0.8 V with respect to the ground terminal, and "high" when between 2.2 V and 5 V[12] (precise logic levels vary slightly between sub-types). TTL outputs are typically restricted to narrower limits of between 0 V and 0.4 V for a "low" and between 2.6 V and 5 V for a "high", providing 0.4V of noise immunity. Standardization of the TTL levels was so ubiquitous that complex circuit boards often contained TTL chips made by many different manufacturers selected for availability and cost, compatibility being assured; two circuit board units off the same assembly line on different successive days or weeks might have a different mix of brands of chips in the same positions on the board; repair was possible with chips manufactured years (sometimes over a decade) later than original components. Within usefully broad limits, logic gates could be treated as ideal Boolean devices without concern for electrical limitations.


Like most integrated circuits of the period 1965–1990, TTL devices were usually packaged in through-hole, dual in-line packages with between 14 and 24 lead wires, usually made of epoxy plastic (PDIP) or sometimes of ceramic (CDIP). Beam-lead chip dice without packages were made for assembly into larger arrays as hybrid integrated circuits. Parts for military and aerospace applications were packaged in flat packs, a form of surface-mount package, with leads suitable for welding or soldering to printed circuit boards. Today, many TTL-compatible devices are available in surface-mount packages, which are available in a wider array of types than through-hole packages.

TTL is particularly well suited to integrated circuits because the inputs of a gate may all be integrated into a single base region to form a multiple-emitter transistor. Such a highly customized part might increase the cost of a circuit where each transistor is in a separate package, but, by combining several small on-chip components into one larger device, it conversely reduces the cost of implementation on an IC.

Comparison with other logic families

TTL devices consume substantially more power than equivalent CMOS devices at rest, but power consumption does not increase with clock speed as rapidly as for CMOS devices [13]. Compared to contemporary ECL circuits, TTL uses less power and has easier design rules but is substantially slower. Designers can combine ECL and TTL devices in the same system to achieve best overall performance and economy, but level-shifting devices are required between the two logic families. TTL is less sensitive to damage from electrostatic discharge than early CMOS devices.

Due to the output structure of TTL devices, the output impedance is asymmetrical between the high and low state, making them unsuitable for driving transmission lines. This drawback is usually overcome by buffering the outputs with special line-driver devices where signals need to be sent through cables. ECL, by virtue of its symmetric low-impedance output structure, does not have this drawback.

The TTL "totem-pole" output structure often has a momentary overlap when both the upper and lower transistors are conducting, resulting in a substantial pulse of current drawn from the supply. These pulses can couple in unexpected ways between multiple integrated circuit packages, resulting in reduced noise margin and lower performance. TTL systems usually have a decoupling capacitor for every one or two IC packages, so that a current pulse from one chip does not momentarily reduce the supply voltage to the others.

Several manufacturers now supply CMOS logic equivalents with TTL-compatible input and output levels, usually bearing part numbers similar to the equivalent TTL component and with the same pinouts. For example, the 74HCT00 series provides many drop-in replacements for bipolar 7400 series parts, but uses CMOS technology.


Successive generations of technology produced compatible parts with improved power consumption or switching speed, or both. Although vendors uniformly marketed these various product lines as TTL with Schottky diodes, some of the underlying circuits, such as used in the LS family, could rather be considered DTL.[14]

Variations of and successors to the basic TTL family, which has a typical gate propagation delay of 10ns and a power dissipation of 10 mW per gate, for a power-delay product (PDP) or switching energy of about 100 pJ, include:

  • Low-power TTL (L), which traded switching speed (33ns) for a reduction in power consumption (1 mW) (now essentially replaced by CMOS logic)
  • High-speed TTL (H), with faster switching than standard TTL (6ns) but significantly higher power dissipation (22 mW)
  • Schottky TTL (S), introduced in 1969, which used Schottky diode clamps at gate inputs to prevent charge storage and improve switching time. These gates operated more quickly (3ns) but had higher power dissipation (19 mW)
  • Low-power Schottky TTL (LS) — used the higher resistance values of low-power TTL and the Schottky diodes to provide a good combination of speed (9.5ns) and reduced power consumption (2 mW), and PDP of about 20 pJ. Probably the most common type of TTL, these were used as glue logic in microcomputers, essentially replacing the former H, L, and S sub-families.
  • Fast (F) and Advanced-Schottky (AS) variants of LS from Fairchild and TI, respectively, circa 1985, with "Miller-killer" circuits to speed up the low-to-high transition. These families achieved PDPs of 10 pJ and 4 pJ, respectively, the lowest of all the TTL families.
  • Most manufacturers offer commercial and extended temperature ranges: for example Texas Instruments 7400 series parts are rated from 0 to 70°C, and 5400 series devices over the military-specification temperature range of −55 to +125°C.
  • Radiation-hardened devices are offered for space applications
  • Special quality levels and high-reliability parts are available for military and aerospace applications.
  • Low-voltage TTL (LVTTL) for 3.3-volt power supplies and memory interfacing.

Inverters as analog amplifiers

While designed for use with logic-level digital signals, a TTL inverter can be biased to be used as an analog amplifier. Such amplifiers may be useful in instruments that must convert analog signals to the digital domain but would not ordinarily be used where analog amplification is the primary purpose. [15] TTL inverters can also be used in crystal oscillators where their analog amplification ability is significant in analysis of oscillator performance.


Before the advent of VLSI devices, TTL integrated circuits were a standard method of construction for the processors of mini-computer and mainframe processors; such as the DEC VAX and Data General Eclipse, and for equipment such as machine tool numerical controls, printers and video display terminals. As microprocessors became more functional, TTL devices became important for "glue logic" applications, such as fast bus drivers on a motherboard, which tie together the function blocks realized in VLSI elements.

FJ Series

At the time the 7400 series was being made, some European manufacturers (that traditionally followed the Pro Electron naming convention) such as Philips/Mullard produced a series of TTL integrated circuits with part names beginning FJ, for example:

  • FJH101 (=7430) Single 8-input NAND gate
  • FJH131 (=7400) Quadruple 2-input NAND gate
  • FJH181 (=7454N or J) 2+2+2+2 input AND-OR-NOT gate

The DTL counterparts were the FC series (e.g. FCH111 was a single 8-input NAND gate, mostly the numbers did not match the FJ series) and the MOS chips were the FD series.

Captive manufacture

At least one manufacturer, IBM, produced non-compatible TTL circuits for its own use; IBM used the technology in the IBM System/38, IBM 4300, and IBM 3081.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Eren, H., 2003.
  2. ^ Buie, J., 1966.
  3. ^ a b The Computer History Museum, 2007.
  4. ^ Engineering Staff, 1973.
  5. ^ L.W. Turner,(ed), Electronics Engineer's Reference Book, 4th ed. Newnes-Butterworth, London 1976 ISBN 0 408 00168
  6. ^ Texas Instruments, 1985
  7. ^ Lancaster, 1975, preface.
  8. ^ Klein, 2008.
  9. ^ Millman 1979 pg. 147.
  10. ^ Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL), 2005, p. 1.
  11. ^ Tala, 2006.
  12. ^ TTL standard logic level, n.d.
  13. ^ Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill, The Art of Electronics 2nd Ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1989 ISBN 0-521-37095-7 page 970 ...CMOS devices consume power proportional to ther switching frequency...At their maximum operating frequency they may use more power than equivalent bipolar TTL devices.
  14. ^ Ayers, n.d.
  15. ^ Wobschall, 1987, pp. 209-211.
  16. ^ Pittler, Powers, and Schnabel 1982, 5


External links

Simple English

Transistor–Transistor Logic (TTL) is a class of digital circuits built from transistors, and resistors. It is called transistor–transistor logic because the logic function (e.g., AND) and amplification is performed by transistors. There are a lot of integrated circuit with TTL technology. They are used in many applications such as computers, industrial controls, test equipment and instrumentation, synthesizers, etc.

= Series Type


  • Bipolar
    • 74 - the "standard TTL" logic family (long obsolete) had no letters between the "74" and the specific part number.
    • 74L - Low power (compared to the original TTL logic family), very slow (rendered obsolete by the LS-series)
    • H - High speed (rendered obsolete by the S-series, used in 1970s era computers)
    • S - Schottky (obsolete)
    • LS - Low Power Schottky
    • AS - Advanced Schottky
    • ALS - Advanced Low Power Schottky
    • F - Fast (faster than normal Schottky, similar to AS)
  • CMOS
    • C - CMOS 4-15V operation similar to 4000 series
    • HC - High speed CMOS, similar performance to LS, 12nS
    • HCT - High speed, compatible logic levels to bipolar parts
    • AC - Advanced CMOS, performance generally between S and F
    • AHC - Advanced High-Speed CMOS, three times as fast as HC
    • ALVC - Low voltage - 1.65 to 3.3V, tpd 2nS
    • AUC - Low voltage - 0.8 to 2.7V, tpd<1.9nS@1.8V
    • FC - Fast CMOS, performance similar to F
    • LCX - CMOS with 3V supply and 5V tolerant inputs
    • LVC - Low voltage - 1.65 to 3.3V and 5V tolerant inputs, tpd<5.5nS@3.3V, tpd<9nS@2.5V
    • LVQ - Low voltage - 3.3V
    • LVX - Low voltage - 3.3V with 5V tolerant inputs
    • VHC - Very High Speed CMOS - 'S' performance in CMOS technology and power
    • G - Super high speeds at more than 1 GHz, 1.65V to 3.3V and 5V tolerant inputs, tpd 1nS (Produced by Potato Semiconductor)
  • BiCMOS
    • BCT - BiCMOS, TTL compatible input thresholds, used for buffers
    • ABT - Advanced BiCMOS, TTL compatible input thresholds, faster than ACT and BCT


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