Simple Electrification Unit

The circuit is intended for carrying out harmless experiments with high-voltage pulses and functions in a similar way as an electrified fence generator. The p.r.f. (pulse repetition frequency) is determined by the time constant of network R1-C3 in the feedback loop of op amp IC1a: with values as specified, it is about 0.5 Hz. The stage following the op amp, IC1b, converts the rectangular signal into narrow pulses. Differentiating network R2-C4, in conjunction with the switching threshold of the Schmitt trigger inputs of IC1b, determines the pulse period, which here is about 1.5 ms. The output of IC1b is linked directly to the gate of thyristor THR1, so that this device is triggered by the pulses.

The requisite high voltage is generated with the aid of a small mains transformer, whose secondary winding is here used as the primary. This winding, in conjunction with C2, forms a resonant circuit. Capacitor C3 is charged to the supply voltage (12 V) via R3.When a pulse output by IC1b triggers the thyristor, the capacitor is discharged via the secondary winding. The energy stored in the capacitor is, however, not lost, but is stored in the magnetic field produced by the transformer when current flows through it. When the capacitor is discharged, the current ceases, whereupon the magnetic field collapses. This induces a counter e.m.f. in the transformer winding which opposes the voltage earlier applied to the transformer.

Circuit diagram:

Simple_Electrification_Unit_Circuit Diagram

Simple Electrification Unit Circuit Diagram

This means that the direction of the current remains the same. However, capacitor C2 is now charged in the opposite sense, so that the potential across it is negative. When the magnetic field of the transformer has returned the stored energy to the capacitor, the direction of the current reverses, and the negatively charged capacitor is discharged via D1 and the secondary winding of the transformer. As soon as the capacitor begins to be discharged, there is no current through the thyristor, which therefore switches off. When C2 is discharged further, diode D1 is reverse-biased, so that the current loop to the transformer is broken, whereupon the capacitor is charged to 12 V again via R3. At the next pulse from IC1b, this process repeats itself.

Since the transformer after each discharge of the capacitor at its primary induces not only a primary, but also a secondary voltage, each triggering of the thyristor causes two closely spaced voltage pulses of opposite polarity. These induced voltages at the secondary, that is, the 230 V, winding, of the transformer are, owing to the higher turns ratio, much higher than those at the primary side and may reach several hundred volts. However, since the energy stored in capacitor C2 is relatively small (the current drain is only about 2 mA), the output voltage cannot harm man or animal. It is sufficient, however, to cause a clearly discernible muscle convulsion.

Author: P. Lay - Copyright: Elektor Electronics

Automatic Water Tank Filler

This circuit has been very useful in filling a header tank for a reticulated water supply on a farm. Eight troughs are supplied in different paddocks where a lack of water would have serious consequences for the stock. In the past, the tank had been filled daily by a time clock which was not successful. During hot weather, the stock would empty the tank on a regular basis and then be without water for several hours or the tank would overflow and flood the area if the weather was wet and the cattle did not drink much.The circuit described has been used to maintain the level of water in the header tank within prescribed limits. It controls a 3HP submersible bore pump which has a high starting current, necessitating a solid-state relay sufficient to take the starting load. Two Darlington transistors, Q1 & Q3, in conjunction with Q2 & Q4, are connected to the upper and lower water sensors in the tank. Q2 & Q4 have a common 5.6kO load resistor and function as a NOR gate. The output of the NOR gate drives Q5 which activates relay RLY1.

Circuit Diagram:

automatic-water-tank-filler circuit diagram

Automatic Water Tank Filler Circuit Diagram

Initially, when the water level is low, both sensors will be open-circuit, the NOR gate output will be high and the relay will be turned on. This causes the normally closed (NC) contacts of the relay to open and disconnect the lower sensor. However, the upper sensor will still be open circuit and the NOR gate output will be high, keeping the relay closed. The normally open (NO) contact of the relay will be closed to operate the solid-state relay RLY2 to run the pump. This state continues until the water reaches the top sensor which will then drop the output from the NOR gate to 0V. The disables relay RLY1 and the pump is stopped. In practice the upper level sensor is just below the overflow from the tank and the lower sensor about half way up the tank. The sensor contacts are simply two stainless steel screws about 25mm apart and screwed through the poly tank walls. The wiring junctions on the side of the tank are protected by neutral-cure silicone sealant.

Source :

Speaker-Headphone Switch Circuit Diagram For Computers

If you need to use a headset with your PC, then you will know how frustrating it is continuously swapping over speaker and microphone cables. This is even worse if the PC is parked in a dark corner and the hard-to-read writing on the sound card sockets is covered in dust. This simple switch box eliminates all these problems. It sits on top of the desk and connects to the PC with stereo one-to-one cables.

On the rear of the box are sockets for the PC speaker and microphone connections and the existing speakers. On the front of the box are the sockets for the headset microphone and headphones, an input for an external microphone and two switches. One switch is used to direct the sound card output from the PC to either the existing speakers or the headphones.

Circuit diagram:


Speaker-Headphone SwitchCircuit Diagram

The second switch connects either the headset microphone or the external microphone to the input socket of the PC sound card. The switches used were 3 position 4 pole rotary switches with the last pole unused and adjusted for 2-position operation. All sockets were stereo 3.5mm types. This multiple switching arrangement is very flexible and is especially handy if you want to use an external microphone while monitoring with headphones. The ground wire as well as the left and right wires are all switched to prevent noise that could otherwise be induced into the microphone input through joining separate earths. For the same reason, a plastic case is used so that the earths of the sockets are not shorted together as would happen with a metal case. You will require two additional short stereo extension cables to connect the box to the PC.

Author: Leon Williams - Copyright: Silicon Chip Electronics

One second Audible Clock Circuit

Accurate, finger-operated portable unit, 3 - 12V Battery supply

This accurate one-pulse-per-second clock is made with a few common parts and driven from a 50 or 60 Hertz mains supply but with no direct connection to it. A beep or metronome-like click and/or a visible flash, will beat the one-second time and can be useful in many applications in which some sort of time-delay counting in seconds is desirable. The circuit is formed by a CMos 4024 counter/divider chip and 3 diodes, arranged to divide the frequency of the input signal at pin #1 by 50 (or 60, see Notes). The input impedance at pin #1 is very hight, so simply touching the pin (or a short track or piece of wire connected to it) is usually enough to provide the necessary input signal. Another way to provide an input signal consists in a piece of wire wrapped several times around any convenient mains cable or transformer. No other connection is necessary.

Circuit diagram :

One second Audible Clock Circuit diagram

One second Audible Clock Circuit Diagram


R1 = 10K
R2 = 47.K
R3 = 100R
C1 = 1nF-63V
C2 = 10µF-25V
C3 = 100nF-63V
D1 = 1N4148
D2 = 1N4148
D3 = 1N4148
D4 = LED-(Optional, any shape and color, see Notes)
D5 = 1N4148-75V 150mA Diode (Optional, see Notes)
Q1 = BC337-45V 800mA NPN Transistor
IC1 = 4024-7 stage ripple counter IC
BZ1 = Piezo sounder (incorporating 3KHz oscillator)
SPKR = 8 Ohm, 40 - 50mm diameter Loudspeaker (Optional, see Notes)
SW1 = SPST Toggle or Slide Switch (Optional, see Notes)
B1 = 3 to 12V Battery (See Notes)


  • To allow precise circuit operation in places where the mains supply frequency is rated at 60Hz, the circuit must be modified as follows: disconnect the Cathode of D1 from pin #11 of IC1 and connect it to pin #9. Add a further 1N4148 diode, connecting its Anode to R1 and the Cathode to pin #6 of IC1: that's all!
  • The circuit will work fine with battery voltages in the 3 -12V range.
  • The visual display, formed by D4 and R3 is optional. Please note that R3 value shown in the Parts list is suited to low battery voltages. If 9V or higher voltages are used, change its value to 1K.
  • If a metronome-like click is needed, R2 and BZ1 must be omitted and substituted by the circuit shown enclosed in dashed lines, right-side of the diagram.
  • Stand-by current drawing is negligible, so SW1 can be omitted.

Source :

Comparator Based Crystal Oscillator

Although a simple crystal oscillator may be built from one comparator of an LT1720/LT1721, this will suffer from a number of inherent shortcomings and design problems. Although the LT1720/LT1721 will give the correct logic output when one input is outside the common mode range, additional delays may occur when it is so operated, opening the possibility of spurious operating modes. Therefore, the DC bias voltages at the inputs have to be set near the center of the LT1720/LT1721’s common mode range and a resistor is required to attenuate the feedback to the non-inverting input. Unfortunately, although the output duty cycle for this circuit is roughly 50%, it is affected by resistor tolerances and, to a lesser extent, by comparator offsets and timings.
Comparator Based Crystal Oscillator
If a 50% duty cycle is required, the circuit shown here creates a pair of complementary outputs with a forced 50% duty cycle. Crystals are narrow-band elements, so the feedback to the non-inverting input is a filtered analogue version of the square-wave output. The crystal’s path provides resonant positive feedback and stable oscillation occurs. Changing the non-inverting reference level can vary the duty cycle. The 2k-680Ω resistor pair sets a bias point at the comparator + (Comparator IC1a) and – (Comparator IC1b) input. At the complementary input of each comparator, the 2k-1.8k-0.1µF path sets up an appropriate DC average level based on the output.
IC1b creates a complementary output to IC1a by comparing the same two nodes with the opposite input. IC2 compares band-limited versions of the outputs and biases IC1a’s negative input. IC1a’s only degree of freedom to respond is variation of pulse width; hence the outputs are forced to 50% duty cycle. The circuit operates from 2.7V to 6V. When ‘scoping the oscillator output signal, a slight dependence on comparator loading, will be noted, so equal and resistive loading should be used in critical applications. The circuit works well because of the two matched delays and rail-to-rail outputs of the LT1720.

Compact High-Performance 12V 20W Stereo Amplifier

Amplifiers which run from 12V DC generally don’t put out much power and they are usually not hifi as well. But this little stereo amplifier ticks the power and low distortion boxes. With a 14.4V supply, it will deliver 20 watts per channel into 4-ohm loads at clipping while harmonic distortion at lower power levels is typically less than 0.03%. This is an ideal project for anyone wanting a compact stereo amplifier that can run from a 12V battery. It could be just the ticket for buskers who want a small but gutsy amplifier which will run from an SLA battery or it could used anywhere that 12V DC is available – in cars, recreational vehicles, remote houses with 12V DC power or where ever.


20W Stereo Audio Amplifier

Because it runs from DC, it will be an ideal beginner’s or schoolie’s project, with no 240VAC power supply to worry about. You can run it from a 12V battery or a DC plugpack. But while it may be compact and simple to build, there is no need to apologise for “just average” performance. In listening tests from a range of compact discs, we were very impressed with the sound quality. Long-time readers might recall that we presented a similar 12V power amplifier design back in May 2001. It was a similar configuration to this one but it is now completely over-shadowed by the much lower distortion and greatly improved signal-to-noise ratio of this new design. In fact, let’s be honest: the previous unit is not a patch on this new design. It used two TDA1519A ICs which resulted in distortion figures above 1% virtually across the board and a signal-to-noise ratio of only -69dB unweighted.

20W Stereo Amplifier Circuit 20W Stereo Amplifier Circuit

However, by using the TDA­7377 power amplifier IC and making some other improvements, the THD (total harmonic distortion) of the new design is about 50 times better than the older unit (see performance graphs for details). The bottom line is that the THD under typical conditions is around just 0.03% or less. It is also able to deliver more output power due to the improved output transistors in the new power amplifier IC. In addition, its idle power consumption is low – not much more than 1W. As a result, if you don’t push it too hard it will run cool and won’t drain the battery too quickly. And because the IC has self-protection circuitry, it’s just about indestructible. It will self-limit or shut down if it overheats and the outputs are deactivated if they are shorted.

Circuit diagram:


20W Stereo Amplifier Circuit Diagram

With a 12V supply, the largest voltage swing a conventional solid-state power amplifier can generate is ±6V. This results in a meagre 4.5W RMS into 4O and 2.25W RMS into 8O, without considering losses in the output transistors. Even if the DC supply is around 14.4V (the maximum that can normally be expected from a 12V car battery), that only brings the power figures up to 6.48W and 3.24W for 4O and 8O loads respectively – still not really enough. There are three common solutions to this problem. The first is to boost the supply voltage using a switchmode DC converter. This greatly increases the cost and complexity of the amplifier but it is one way of getting a lot of power from a 12V supply. However, we wanted to keep this project simple and that rules out this technique.

Parts layout:

Parts layout 20w-stereo-amplifier

There are variations on the boosting method, such as the class H architecture used in the TDA1562Q IC featured in the Portapal PA Amplifier (SILICON CHIP, February 2003). It is able to achieve 40W/channel but with >0.1% THD. In that case, the amplifier output itself provides the switching for a charge pump. The second method is to lower the speaker impedance. Some car speakers have an impedance as low as 2O, which allows twice as much power to be delivered at the same supply voltage. However, we don’t want to restrict this amplifier to 2O loudspeakers.

Author: Nicholas Vinen - Copyright: Silicon Chip

A 12V Car Charger For ASUS Eee Notebook

The ASUS Eee is a fantastic ultra-portable notebook with almost everything required for geeks (and nothing that isn’t). Plus it features fantastic build quality and is very well priced. If you live in New Zealand you can get them from DSE; at the time of writing they are the exclusive supplier. I worked out it’s the same cost as importing one once you include all the duties and tax, plus you get the advantage of a proper NZ-style mains charger. Anyway, being so small I thought it would be nice to be able to carry this around in the car. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a car charger available anywhere at the time so I decided to tackle the problem myself. As a bonus this provides an opportunity for an external high-capacity battery.

asus eee 701

Commercial Equivalent:

I thought at this stage it would be worth noting that a commercial car charger is now available for less than it cost me to build this from Expansys and is available in most countries (select your location on their site). It outputs 9.5v from 10-18v in at up to 2.5A. I’d actually recommend it over the design here is it seems to perform better at lower voltages (that one works down to 10V). However I have kept this page up as a reference for those who enjoy tinkering.


The charger included with the Eee is rated at 9.5v, 2.315A. There isn’t a fixed voltage regulator available for this exact voltage, so the circuit needed to be designed around an adjustable regulator. I decided to design the charger around the LM2576 “Simple Switcher” IC from National Semiconductor. There are tons of ICs like this available, many of which are a bit more efficient, however I selected this one because it is readily available and relatively cheap. It also has a lower drop-out voltage (~2V) than many other chips I looked at which is important when powering the device from a car or 12v SLA battery.

eee_car_charger_circuit d

This circuit could have used a standard three pin regulator IC such as the LM317, however most types require an external transistor when handling so much current and not to mention the fact that they are very inefficient; they draw the same amount of current from the input as the load and the difference in power is dissipated as heat. The main problem with using the LM2576 is the fact it needs quite a large inductor due to its somewhat low switching frequency. The inductor I used is made by Pulse Engineering, part number PE92108KNL. I’d prefer a smaller one, however I couldn’t find one capable of supplying the required current that I could purchase in single units. Besides the PE92108KNL is apparently designed specifically to work with the LM257x series.


The circuit also includes a low voltage cut-out based on a 9.1v Zener diode and BC337 transistor that will shut down the regulator if the input voltage is below 11.5V. This prevents unstable operation of the regulator at lower input voltages, and also helps prevent accidental flattening of the supply battery. Substituting this transistor for similar type may affect the cut-out voltage; the Vbe of the transistor should be 1.2v.All of the components used should be pretty readily available in most areas. I got everything from Farnell. Jaycar also sells everything except the inductor. Make sure you specify high temperature, low ESR capacitors as these help result in more stable operation and better efficiency of the charger.


Unfortunately the end result is a charger that is slightly bulkier than I would really like. I attempted to fit this inside an old mobile phone charger case so the whole thing could hang out of the cigarette lighter, however I ran into trouble making the circuit stable enough and dissipating all the heat. Due to the high current involved compared to a mobile phone charger the components are much bulkier so it’s pretty tricky to get all to fit! If I do get it finished I’ll add an update.

Parts List:

  • 2x 10k resistor (R1 & R4)
  • 2x 22k resistor (R2 & R3)
  • 1x 1.5k resistor (R5)
  • 1x 120μF 25v electrolytic capacitor (C1)
  • 1x 2200μF 16v electrolytic capacitor (C2)
  • 1x 1N5822 Schottky diode (or equivalent)
  • 1x 9.1v 0.5W Zener diode
  • 1x BC337 NPN transistor
  • 1x LM2576T-ADJ IC
  • 1x 100uH, 3A inductor (e.g. Pulse PE92108KNL)
  • 25°C/W or better minature heatsink (e.g. Thermalloy 6073)
  • Cigarette lighter plug with 3A fuse and 2.1mm DC plug (e.g. DSE P1692)
  • 2.1mm DC chassis mount socket
  • 1.7mm x 4.75mm (ID x OD) DC plug and cable
  • Small plastic enclosure

Building It:

Make yourself a PCB using the template below (600dpi). I simply laser print (or photocopy) the design onto OHP transparency sheet and then transfer the toner onto a blank PCB using a standard clothes iron. Any missing spots can be touched up with a permanent marker before etching. This is quick, usually results in pretty tidy boards and hardly costs a thing. There is a tutorial on a variation of this method at


Install the components on the PCB and triple check the layout before soldering. It is much easier to start with the low profile components such as resistors and diodes, then install the larger components after-wards. Don’t forget the wire link; this is shows as a red line on the layout guide above. Remember to smear a small amount of heatsink compound on the regulator tab before mounting the heatsink.


For a case I used a small plastic enclosure from DSE, part H2840, as it was all the local store had in stock that was remotely suitable. The PCB is designed to fit into this particular case, however any small box should be suitable. If you have a dead laptop charger lying about it might be worth ripping the guts out of that and salvaging the case. If your enclosure is different you may need to modify the design to suit, so I have provided the schematic and PCB design files for download. They were created using Eagle. The Eee uses a standard 1.7mm DC power connector with a positive tip.



Connect the circuit to a 12v supply. If you use a car or lead acid battery ensure you have a 3A fuse fitted in line with the circuit before connecting it, just in case. Use your multimeter to check that the circuit outputs about 9.45v with no load. Connect a 12V, 21W lamp (e.g. old brake lamp from a car) or similar load across the output and check that the voltage doesn’t vary much. You should now be able to connect your Eee. The circuit design should be good for up to 2.5A, so there is plenty of margin for the Eee to fully function and charge its own battery off this supply.


SLA Battery Carry-bag:

Jaycar have a really cool carry bag with a shoulder strap designed to perfectly fit a 12v 7AH sealed lead acid battery. The bag features a fused cigarette lighter socket and is the perfect compliment to this charger. It works well with the Eee and provides hours of extra use. The shoulder strap means it’s not too bothersome to carry about and the charger circuit itself zips up neatly inside the bag. The under-voltage cut-off means the battery will never run completely flat, and the Eee will simply cut over to its internal battery once the SLA runs out. I got my SLA battery from Rexel as they are much cheaper (approx NZ$18 including GST last time I bought one) and they don’t sit as long on the shelf as many other suppliers.

inside_bag-charger l


This circuit is intended for people who have had experience in constructing electronic projects before. The circuit design and build process are provided simply as a reference for other people to use and I take no responsibility for how they are used. If you proceed with building and/or using this design you do so entirely at your own risk. You are free to use the content on this page as you wish, however I do ask that you include a link or reference back to this page if you distribute or publish any of the content to others.

 Source: Marlborough Wi-Fi

Hybrid Headphone Amplifier

Potentially, headphone listening can be technically superior since room reflections are eliminated and the intimate contact between transducer and ear mean that only tiny amounts of power are required. The small power requirement means that transducers can be operated at a small fraction of their full excursion capabilities thus reducing THD and other non-linear distortions. This design of a dedicated headphones amplifier is potentially controversial in that it has unity voltage gain and employs valves and transistors in the same design.

Normal headphones have an impedance of 32R per channel. The usual standard line output of 775 mV to which all quality equipment aspires will generate a power of U2 / R = 0.7752 / 32 = 18 mW per channel across a headphone of this impedance. An examination of available headphones at well known high street emporiums revealed that the sensitivity varied from 96 dB to 103db/mW! So, in practice the circuit will only require unity gain to reach deafening levels. As a unity gain design is required it is quite possible to employ a low distortion output stage.

The obvious choice is an emitter follower. This has nearly unity gain combined with a large amount of local feedback. Unfortunately the output impedance of an emitter follower is dependent upon the source impedance. With a volume control, or even with different signal sources this will vary and could produce small but audible changes in sound quality. To prevent this, the output stage is driven by a cathode follower,based around an ECC82 valve (US equivalent: 12AU7).

This device, as opposed to a transistor configuration, enables the output stage to be driven with a constant value, low impedance. In other words, the signal from the low impedance point is used to drive the high impedance of the output stage, a situation which promotes low overall THD. At the modest output powers required of the circuit, the only sensible choice is a Class A circuit. In this case the much vaunted single-ended output stage is employed and that comprises of T3 and constant current source T1-T2.

Circuit diagram:

The constant current is set by the Vbe voltage of T1 applied across R5 With its value of 22R, the current is set at 27 mA. T3 is used in the emitter follower mode with high input impedance and low output impedance. Indeed the main problem of using a valve at low voltages is that it’s fairly difficult to get any real current drain. In order to prevent distortion the output stage shouldn’t be allowed to load the valve. This is down to the choice of output device. A BC517 is used for T3 because of its high current gain, 30,000 at 2 mA! Since we have a low impedance output stage, the load may be capacitively coupled via C4.

Some purists may baulk at the idea of using an electrolytic for this job but he fact remains that distortion generated by capacitive coupling is at least two orders of magnitude lower than transformer coupling. The rest of the circuitry is used to condition the various voltages used by the circuit. In order to obtain a linear output the valve grid needs to be biased at half the supply voltage. This is the function of the voltage divider R4 and R2. Input signals are coupled into the circuit via C1 and R1.

R1, connected between the voltage divider and V1’s grid defines the input impedance of the circuit. C1 has sufficiently large a value to ensure response down to 2 Hz. Although the circuit does a good job of rejecting line noise on its own due to the high impedance of V1’s anode and T3’s collector current, it needs a little help to obtain a silent background in the absence of signal. The ‘help’ is in the form of the capacitance multiplier circuit built around T5. Another BC517 is used here to avoid loading of the filter comprising R7 and C5. In principle the capacitance of C5 is multiplied by the gain of T5.

In practice the smooth dc applied to T5’s base appears at low impedance at its emitter. An important added advantage is that the supply voltage is applied slowly on powering up. This is of course due to the time taken to fully charge C5 via R7. No trace of hum or ripple can be seen here on the ‘scope. C2 is used to ensure stability at RF. The DC supply is also used to run the valve heater. The ECC82 has an advantage here in that its heater can be connected for operate from 12.6 V.

To run it T4 is used as a series pass element. Base voltage is obtained from the emitter of T5. T4 has very low output impedance, about 160 mR and this helps to prevent extraneous signals being picked up from the heater wiring. Connecting the transistor base to C5 also lets the valve heater warm up gently. A couple of volts only are lost across T4 and although the device runs warm it doesn’t require a heat-sink.
Author: Jeff Macaulay - Copyright: Elektor Electronics

Automotive LED Timing Light

A useful timing strobe can be constructed using high-brightness LEDs and a few common components. Ignition pulses from the number 1 cylinder high-tension lead are used to trigger the circuit via a home-made inductive pickup. Transistors Q1 & Q2 buffer and amplify the pulses from the pickup, which then drive the inputs of three Schmitt-trigger inverters (IC1a, IC1c & IC1f). Each positive pulse at the inverter inputs causes a low pulse at their outputs, forward-biasing D2 and immediately discharging the 6.8nF capacitor. When the capacitor is discharged, the inputs of the second bank of three inverters (IC1b, IC1d & IC1e) see a logic low level, so their outputs go high, driving Q3 into conduction and powering the LED array. After the pulse ends, the IC1a, IC1c & IC1f inverter outputs return high, reverse biasing D2.

Circuit diagram:

However, it takes some time for the 6.8nF capacitor to charge to the logic high threshold voltage of the inverters’ inputs, effectively stretching the initial pulse width and lighting the LEDs for the required amount of time. The pickup can be salvaged from an old Xenon timing light or made up from a "C" type ferrite or powered iron core large enough to fit around a HT lead. Some experimentation will be required to determine the number of turns required to achieve reliable triggering. About 100 turns of light-gauge wire proved sufficient on the prototype. A cleat is used to close the magnetic path around the lead and is held in place with a large battery clip. Miniature screened microphone cable can be used to connect the pickup to the circuit, to prevent interference from other sources.
Author: K. J. Benic - Copyright: Silicon Chip Electronics

Crossover For Subwoofer

The crossover network is intended for use when an existing audio installation is to be extended by the addition of a subwoofer. Often, this additional loudspeaker is one that has been lying around for some time. If its frequency response extends down far enough, all is well and good, but a filter is then needed to cut off any frequencies above, say, 150 Hz. Often, a subwoofer network is an active filter, but here this would necessitate an additional power supply. The present network is a passive one, designed so that the speaker signal of the existing system can be used as the input signal.

Circuit diagram:

Since the bass information is present in both (stereo) loudspeakers, the signal for the sub woofer can simply be tapped from one of them. The network is a 1st order low-pass filter with variable input (P1) and presettable cut-off frequency (P2). The signal from the loudspeaker is applied to terminal ‘LSP’. Voltage divider R1-R2-P1 is designed for use with the output signal of an average output amplifier of around d 50 W. The crossover frequency of the network may be varied between 50 Hz and 160 Hz with P2. The values of R3, P2, and C1, are calculated on the assumption that the subwoofer amplifier to be connected to K1 has a standard input resistance of 47 kΩ.

If this figure is lower, the value of C1 will need to be increased slightly. It is advisable to open the volume of the subwoofer amplifier fully and adjust the sound level with P1. This ensures that the input of the subwoofer amplifier cannot be overloaded or damaged. Make sure that the ground of the loudspeaker signal line is linked to the ground of the subwoofer amplifier. If phase reversal is required, this is best done by reversing the wires to the subwoofer. If notwithstanding the above additional protection is desired at the input of the subwoofer amplifier, this is best effected by ‘overload protection ’ elsewhere in this site.
Author: T. Giesberts
Copyright: Elektor Electronics

Simple Hybrid Audio Amplifier

The debate still goes on as to which are better, valves or transistors. We don’t intend to get involved in that argument here. But if you can’t make your mind up, you should try out this simple amplifier. This amplifier uses a valve as a pre-amplifier and a MOSFET in the output stage. The strong negative feedback makes the frequency response as flat as a pancake. In the prototype of the amplifier we’ve also tried a few alternative components.

For example, the BUZ11 can be replaced by an IRFZ34N and an ECC83 can be used instead of the ECC88. In that case the anode voltage should be reduced slightly to 155 V. The ECC83 (or its US equivalent the 12AX7) requires 2 x 6.3 V for the filament supply and there is no screen between the two triodes, normally connected to pin 9. This pin is now connected to the common of the two filaments.

The filaments are connected to ground via R5. If you’re keeping an eye on the quality, you should at least use MKT types for coupling capacitors C1, C4 and C7. Better still are MKP capacitors. For C8 you should have a look at Panasonic’s range of audio grade electrolytics. P1 is used to set the amount of negative feedback. The larger the negative feedback is, the flatter the frequency response will be, but the smaller the overall gain becomes.

Circuit diagram:
Simple Hybrid Audio Amplifier Circuit Diagram

With P2 you can set the quiescent current through T2. We have chosen a fairly high current of 1.3 A, making the output stage work in Class A mode. This does generate a relatively large amount of heat, so you should use a large heatsink for T2 with a thermal coefficient of 1 K/W or better. For L1 we connected two secondary windings in series from a 2x18V/225 VA toroidal transformer.

The resulting inductance of 150 mH was quite a bit more than the recommended 50 mH. However, with an output power of 1 W the amplifier had difficulty reproducing signals below 160 Hz. The distortion rose to as much as 9% for a signal of 20 Hz at 100 mW. To properly reproduce low-frequency signals the amplifier needs a much larger coil with an iron core and an air gap. This prevents the core from saturating when a large DC current flows through the coil.

Parts layout:

Such a core may be found in obsolete equipment, such as old video recorders. A suitable core consists of welded E and I sections. These transformers can be converted to the required inductor as follows: cut through the welding, remove the windings, add 250 to 300 windings of 0.8 mm enamelled copper wire, firmly fix the E and I sections back together with a piece of paper in between as isolation.

The concepts used in this circuit lend themselves very well to some experimentation. The number of supply voltages can be a bit of a problem to start with. For this reason we have designed a power supply especially for use with this amplifier (Quad power supply for hybrid amp). This can of course just as easily be used with other amplifiers. The supply uses a cascade stage to output an unstabilised voltage of 170 V for the SRPP (single rail push pull) stage (V1).

PCB layout:

During initial measurements we found that the ripple on this supply was responsible for a severe hum at the output of the amplifier. To get round this problem we designed a separate voltage regulator (High-voltage regulator with short circuit protection), which can cope with these high voltages. If you use a separate transformer for the filament supply you can try and see if the circuit works without R5. During the testing we used a DC voltage for the filament supply. Although you may not suspect it from the test measurements (see table), this amplifier doesn’t sound bad.

In fact, it is easily better than many consumer amplifiers. The output power is fairly limited, but is still enough to let your neighbours enjoy the music as well. It is possible to make the amplifier more powerful, in which case we recommend that you use more than one MOSFET in the output stage. The inductor also needs to be made beefier. Since this is a Class A amplifier, the supply needs to be able to output the required current, which becomes much greater at higher output powers. The efficiency of the amplifier is a bit over 30%.
Author: Frans Janssens - Copyright: Elektor Electronics

Video Tracer For Trouble-Shooting

This circuit was designed as an aid to installers and maintainers of video systems. It is basically a video sync separator (IC1) followed by a LED and buzzer driver (IC2, Q1 & Q2). In use, the device is connected to a video cable and if there is video present, the LED will flash at about 10Hz. If there is no video, the LED flashes briefly every couple of seconds. A buzzer can also be switched in to provide an audible indication. The buzzer is particularly useful when tracing cabling faults or trying to find a correct cable amongst many, where it is difficult to keep an eye on the LED.

Another use for the buzzer option is to provide a video fault indication. For example, it could be inserted in bridging mode, with switch S1 in high impedance mode (position 2) across a video line and set to alarm when there is no video present. If someone pulls out a cable or the video source is powered off, the alarm would sound. IC1 is a standard LM1881 video sync separator circuit and 75Ω termination can be switched in or out with switch S1a. The other pole of the switch, S1b, turns on the power. The composite sync output at pin 1 is low with no video input and it pulses high when composite sync is detected.

Circuit diagram:

These pulses charge a 100nF capacitor via diode D1. When there is no video at the input, oscillator IC2b is enabled and provides a short pulse every couple of seconds to flash the LED. The duty cycle is altered by including D2, so that the discharge time for the 10μF capacitor is much shorter than the charge time. The short LED pulse is used as a power-on indicator drawing minimal average current. When video is present at the input, IC2b is disabled and IC2d is enabled. The output of IC2d provides a 10Hz square wave signal to flash the LED. The buzzer is controlled by switch S2. In position 2 the buzzer will sound when there is video at the input and in position 1 the buzzer will sound when there is no video at the input.
Author: Leon Williams - Copyright: Silicon Chip Electronics

NTSC-PAL TV Signal Identifier

This circuit is able to identify PAL and NTSC video signals. Its output is high for an NTSC signal and low if the signal is PAL. This output signal can be used, for example, to automatically switch in a colour subcarrier converter or some other device while an NTSC signal is being received. One application is for the reception from satellites of 'free-to-air' TV signals, which in Australia generally contain a mixture of 625-line PAL and 525-line NTSC programs. Operation of the circuit is as follows. IC1 is an LM1881 video sync separator which takes the video input signal and generates vertical synchronisation pulses.

For an NTSC signal, these pulses are 16.66ms apart, corresponding to the 60Hz field rate, while for a PAL signal they are 20ms apart, corresponding to the 50Hz field rate. The vertical sync pulses are fed into IC2a, the first of two dual retriggerable monostable multivibrators in the 74HC123A. IC2a has a period of very close to 17.9ms, set by the 200kO resistor and 0.22µF capacitor at pins 14 & 15. Because the monostable is retriggerable, NTSC sync pulses arriving every 16.66ms will keep its Q output, at pin 13, high.

Circuit diagram:

However PAL sync pulses arriving every 20ms will allow the Q output to go low after 17.9ms, before being triggered high again 2.1ms later. Thus an NTSC signal will give a constant high output while a PAL signal will result in a train of pulses 2.1ms wide. The Q output from IC2a is fed to the inverting input of IC2b, the second monostable, which has a period of about 0.5s, as set by the 270kO resistor and 4.7µF tantalum capacitor at pins 6 & 7. With its input constantly high, resulting from an NTSC signal, IC2b is not triggered and its Q output remains low.

However, the pulse train from a PAL signal will constantly retrigger it, so its Q output will remain high. The period of IC2b also effectively makes it a low-pass filter which removes spurious switching due to any input glitches. The output signal is taken from the Q-bar (inverted) output, so that an NTSC signal gives a high output, while PAL gives low. For the particular application for which the circuit was developed, diode D1 and the resistor network shown drive the base of an NPN switching transistor and relay. A dual-colour 3-lead LED can also be fitted to indicate NTSC (red) or PAL (green). Note that with no video input, the output signal is high and will indicate NTSC.
Source: Extreme Circuits

Linear RF Power Meter

The National Semiconductor LMV225 is a linear RF power meter IC in an SMD package. It can be used over the frequency range of 450 MHz to 2000 MHz and requires only four external components. The input coupling capacitor isolates the DC voltage of the IC from the input signal. The 10-k? resistor enables or disables the IC according to the DC voltage present at the input pin. If it is higher than 1.8 V, the detector is enabled and draws a current of around 5–8 mA. If the voltage on pin A1 is less than 0.8 V, the IC enters the shutdown mode and draws a current of only a few microampères. The LMV225 can be switched between the active and shutdown states using a logic-level signal if the signal is connected to the signal via the 10-kR resistor.

Circuit diagram:

The supply voltage, which can lie between +2.7 V und +5.5 V, is filtered by a 100nF capacitor that diverts residual RF signals to ground. Finally, there is an output capacitor that forms a low-pass filter in combination with the internal circuitry of the LMV225. If this capacitor has a value of 1 nF, the corner frequency of this low-pass filter is approximately 8 kHz. The corner frequency can be calculated using the formula fc = 1 ÷ (2 p COUT Ro) where Ro is the internal output impedance (19.8 k?). The output low-pass filter determines which AM modulation components are passed by the detector.

The output, which has a relatively high impedance, provides an output voltage that is proportional to the signal power, with a slope of 40 mV/dB. The output is 2.0 V at 9 dBm and 0.4 V at –40 dBm. A level of 0 dBm corresponds to a power of 1 mW in 50 R. For a sinusoidal wave-form, this is equivalent to an effective voltage of 224 mV. For modulated signals, the relationship between power and voltage is generally different. The table shows several examples of power levels and voltages for sinusoidal signals. The input impedance of the LMV225 detector is around 50 R to provide a good match to the characteristic impedance commonly used in RF circuits.

The data sheet for the LMV225 shows how the 40-dB measurement range can be shifted to a higher power level using a series input resistor. The LMV225 was originally designed for use in mobile telephones, so it comes in a tiny SMD package with dimensions of only around 1 × 1 mm with four solder bumps (similar to a ball-grid array package). The connections are labelled A1, A2, B1 and B1, like the elements of a matrix. The corner next to A1 is bevelled.
Author: Gregor Kleine
Copyright: Elektor Electronics