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Effect of external components tolerance on

Rishabh Sinha and Siva M, Freescale - May 07, 2015


Common Mode Rejection Ratio (CMRR) is one of the important parameters associated with ADCs
and Op Amp circuits. It plays important role in signal processing wherever the preciseness of the
signal is decisive. CMRR of the circuit not only depends on Device Under Test (DUT) but also on
external component tolerances. Higher is the tolerance, worse is CMRR. But better tolerance
components calls for the increased cost associated with it. In this article, the effect of external
components tolerance on CMRR is analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. Thus, if the CMRR
requirement of the circuit is known, this analysis would help in maintaining a healthy trade off
between the performance required and the cost invested.

CMRR definition

CMRR is defined as ratio of differential mode gain to common mode gain. This parameter represents
ability of the circuit to reject unwanted common signal relative to the desired difference signal. In
this article the basic differential Op Amp circuit is selected to explain the effect of external
components tolerance on CMRR. TINA-TITM simulation tool and THS4031 Op Amp are used to verify
the analysis [1].

Figure 1 : A basic differential amplifier circuit

There are two types of gains associated with differential circuit.

● Differential mode gain (Ad)

● Common mode gain (Ac)

The differential mode gain implies the amplification produced due to the difference of signals on the
terminals. An ideal Op Amp has an infinite differential gain. The common mode gain implies the
amplification produced due to the signal common to both terminals. An ideal Op Amp has zero
common mode gain.

In Figure 1, V1 and V2 can be expressed in terms of differential and common mode voltages

From the given circuit,

Comparing it with

From eq (2), if R1/R2 = R3/R4, the circuit would be giving a very high CMRR. This is the desired
matched configuration. However, the value of resistance is not always same as the mentioned value.
This deviation of resistance from the desired value is called tolerance.

Figure 2: Matched case gain (R1/R2=R3/R4) curves with respect to frequency

Figure 2 shows Differential gain, Common mode gain and CMRR trends for a unity gain and
matched resistor cases (R1/R2=R3/R4). In low frequency range, differential gain is at 0 dB so
common mode gain is the CMRR value. Thus a CMRR value basically depends on how much the Op
Amp suppresses the common mode signal.
CMRR measurement
CMRR measurement

Figure 3: Measurement circuit for CMRR

In Figure 3, since the input voltage to both the terminals of Op Amp are same for the upper part of
circuit, therefore Vd = 0. Thus, .This would give gain equal to Acm. For the lower part,


Considering the case where all the resistors used are of same value and tolerance, their
actual value may vary because of tolerance. Resistor value may vary from R (1-t) to R (1+t), were t
represents the tolerance of resistors in %. To verify the tolerance effect on differential Op Amp
circuit in Figure 2 only maximum and minimum values are taken for all the four resistors. This will
generate 16 (= 24) cases. Figure 4 shows CMRR variation with frequency for 1% resistor tolerance
for all the 16 cases. From Fig 4 it is clear that one can get a much lower CMRR than the capability of
the Op Amp in some cases due to the tolerance limitation of external components. Eq (3) is obtained
on minimising Eq (2) and substituting corresponding maximum and minimum resistor values. It
gives the worst case CMRR for a particular tolerance.

Table 1: Resistor Tolerance vs theoretical worst case measurable CMRR

Figure 4: CMRR variation for 16 configurations for 1% tolerance of resistors

Figure 5: Worst case CMRR variation for various tolerances

Figure 5 shows the variation of worst case CMRR for different tolerances. Figure 5 also
explains the importance of selecting optimum tolerance resistors, based on the CMRR requirement.
For instance, for the requirement of 50 dB CMRR for a particular task, from the Table 1 it is clear
that 0.1% tolerance is the optimum value. Worse than 0.1% may not give the required CMRR, better
than 0.1% will cost more so not economical to measure 50 dB CMRR.


The basic differential Op Amp circuit shows high CMRR in matched resistors configuration.
However, due to the mismatch caused by the tolerance of resistors, the worst case CMRR associated
with the circuit decreases. Having a quantitative analysis of circuit under test will help in
maintaining a trade-off to get the desired performance at a minimum cost.


1. Getting started with TINA-TITM: A Quick start guide, Texas instruments, Application report.