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07-21-2009

Ultra-simple Voltage Probe

Detects 1.8 to 230 Volts DC or AC
Minimum parts counting.

Circuit diagram:

Parts:

D1

5 or 3mm. Red LED

D2

5 or 3mm. Green or Yellow LED

LP1

220V 6W Filament Lamp Bulb

P1

Red Probe

P2

Black Probe

Device purpose:

This circuit is not a novelty, but it proved so useful, simple and cheap that it is worth building.

When the positive (Red) probe is connected to a DC positive voltage and the Black probe to the negative, the Red LED will illuminate.
Reversing polarities the Green LED will illuminate.

Connecting the probes to an AC source both LEDs will go on.

The bulb limits the LEDs current to 40mA @ 220V AC and its filament starts illuminating from about 30V, shining more brightly as voltage increases.

Therefore, due to the bulb filament behavior, any voltage in the 1.8 to 230V range can be detected without changing component values.

Note:

  • A two colors LED (Red and Green) can be used in place of D1 & D2.
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