# Why does the use of Tristate-Buffer prevent exceeding the fan-out?

Why does the use of a Tristate-Buffer in digital-circuits prevent exceeding the fan-out of logic gates? The number of Logic Gates-inputs, that are connected to a single output is the same, as using no tristate-buffer.

For example: a logic that doesn't work, due to the high fan-out

and the same logic gate with an Buffer, so it works.

• Question is unclear and could do with a diagram; I think the answer you are looking for is the greater drive strengh of the buffer? – pjc50 Feb 11 '13 at 10:20
• you right, i am sorry. its due to fact that i'm no native english speaker. i'll give an example to my question, so i may become clear. – Toralf Westström Feb 11 '13 at 10:39
• i would post an image of the logic gate, but it says, i'm not allowed with an reputation below 10 :/ – Toralf Westström Feb 11 '13 at 10:49
• Upload it somewhere and put a link to it in a comment here, and one of the moderators will fix it. – pjc50 Feb 11 '13 at 10:50

It's not the fact that it's tri-state that makes the difference, it's the fact that it's a buffer. Buffers are generally designed to supply more current than a normal logic stage.

They still have a fanout limit; it's just a higher limit. What that limit is, you will have to learn from the datasheets for your logic family and your buffer.

A 74LS00 input can consume 20 uA pulled high, or 0.4ma pulled low. The 74LS00 gate can source 400 uA and sink 8 ma, 20x as much as the input current, so its fanout is 20.

But the 74LS240 driver can source 15ma and sink 24ma, so it can pull 60 TTL inputs low, and its fanout is therefore 60.

If one buffer isn't enough you can connect 2 or more in parallel (up to the normal fanout for your logic stage) each driving a different set of gates.

You might well ask why it can source 15ma instead of just 60 * 20ua = 1.2ma. That's because buffers also have to drive relatively long wires with high capacitance, and doing so at any speed takes current in both directions (pulling both high and low). If you need 15ma to drive the cable fast enough, you would also have to reduce the fanout (number of inputs it can pull low) or live with slightly lower speed.

You might also ask why I'm using a logic family about as old as Abba : that's because modern CMOS logic requires so little input current that any fanout number is likely to be in the thousands; other issues like the wire speed problem matter much more.

Fanout is still there in the background and shouldn't be totally forgotten, but any logic course that gives it much attention probably needs updating!