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07-21-2009

Energy Leak Detector

High sensitivity, portable temperature comparator detects draughts around doors, windows, etc.

Circuit diagram:

Energy Leak Detector

Parts:

 

22K Linear Potentiometer (See Notes)

R2

15K @ 20°C n.t.c. Thermistor (See Notes)

R3

10K ¼W Resistor

R4, R5, R7, R9

22K ¼W Resistors

R6

220K ¼W Resistor

R8

5K ½W Trimmer Cermet

R10

680R ¼W Resistor

C1

47µF 63V Electrolytic Capacitor

D1

5mm. Red LED

D2

5mm. Green LED

IC1

TL061 Low current BIFET Op-Amp

IC2

LM393 Dual Voltage Comparator IC

P1

SPST Pushbutton

B1

9V PP3 Battery

 

Clip for PP3 Battery

Comments:

This sensitive circuit is basically a comparator, detecting very slight temperature changes in respect to the ambient temperature. It was primarily intended to detect draughts around doors and windows that cause energy leaks but can be used in many other ways, when a sensitive temperature change detector is needed.

Two LEDs are used to signal if the temperature change is pointing above (Red LED) or below (Green LED) the ambient temperature.

Circuit operation:

IC1 acts as a bridge detector and amplifier: its output voltage raises when temperature increases and vice-versa. This happens because the n.t.c. resistor R2 reduces its resistance value as temperature increases and vice-versa, therefore unbalancing the bridge formed by R1, R2, R4, R5.

IC2A and IC2B form a window comparator and R8 is the sensitivity control.

Before starting a measurement the circuit must be balanced by means of R1 in order to obtain that both LEDs are off. If R8 is set to zero resistance the circuit sensitivity will be at maximum and one of the LEDs will illuminate when a very slight difference in temperature will be detected. As R8 value is increased the circuit sensitivity will decrease.

Notes:

  • The Thermistor value can be chosen in the 10K - 22K @ 20°C range.
  • R1 value should be about twice the Thermistor value @ 20°C, so using a 22K Thermistor a 47K potentiometer should be used.
  • To ensure fast detection of temperature changes, the use of a Thermistor having the case as small as possible is recommended.
  • If only one LED is needed to show a change in temperature, no matter if raising or decreasing, D2 can be omitted and pin #1 of IC2B must be connected to pin #7 of IC2A.

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