It's just one of those things that you've just assumed to be true whenever I'm playing around with BJTs, but never actually got explicit confirmation from anybody. But, doesn't the formula I_c = hFE x I_b only determines the maximum current that can flow on the collector end? Say in the figure above, the collector current is
(9V - 0.2V)/1k ohm = 8.8mA
(5V - V_be)/1k ohm x 140 = 602mA (assuming hFE = 140)
Well is it??
I need this very simple assumption or else I've just plugged-in garbage in my calculation.