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CurrentSensingSlavePowerSwitch

Introduction
Switchononeunit,andeverythingelseyouneedturnsonautomatically.Thiscansavethe
tediumofturningonhalfadozendifferentthings,whenoneshouldbeenough!Thisisanother
projectcreatedpurelyfromnecessity.Inmycase,itwastoswitchonallmycomputer
peripheralswhenthePCwasturnedon,butIshallbebuildinganotherveryshortlytodothe
samewithmyHiFiequipment.
Whenasystemconsistsofanumberofcomponents,thereistheritualof...switchonthe
preamp,poweramp(s),Subwoofer,CDplayer,andmaybeacrossoverorequalizer.It'snothard,
butitistedious!Then,onemustremembertoswitcheverythingoffagainthisisnotalways
easyafteranicelonglisteningsession,beautifullyaccompaniedbyalovelyCabernetShirazthat
wasjustpleadingtobedemolished:)
Nolongermustyousufferso.Whenaloadcurrentissensedfromthe"master"unit,thiscircuit
willautomaticallyswitchoneverythingconnectedtothe"slave"mainsoutput.Theonlything
youneedtodonowisturnonthepreamp(forexample),andalltheotherunits'sporing'intolife,
andequally,gracefullyfallasleepagainwhenthepreampisturnedoff.

WARNING:Thiscircuitisdirectlyconnectedtoandcontrolshouseholdmainsvoltages,andmustbebuiltwith
extremecaretoensurethesafetyofyouandyourlovedones.Allmainswiringmustbesegregatedfromlow
voltagewiring,andinmanycountries,mainswiringmustbeperformedonlybysuitablyqualifiedpersons.

Pleaseensurethatyouheedtheabovewarning.Onesmallmistakecouldmeantheendofyou
(orsomeoneelse!).Ihavecolorcodedthewiringinthediagrams(accordingtotheInternational
standards)sothatthemainsiseasilyrecognized.Neveruseordinaryhookupwireformains
voltageconnections,andensurethatallsolderjointsaresecurebeforesolderingandare
insulatedagainstaccidentalcontact.

NOTES:
1. Thisprojectisnotintendedforbeginners,oranyonewhoisnot
completelycomfortablewithmainswiring.Itispotentiallylethalif
youmakeamistake.Neverworkonthecircuitwithpowerapplied.
2. Theactive("hot")leadisBrown,andneutralisBlue.EarthisGreen/
Yellow

3. U.S.readerswillmostlikelyuseblack(activeor"hot")andwhite
(neutral)wiring.Althoughmanynewleadsarenowusingthe
Internationalstandard,therewillstillbemanythatusetheoldUS
standard.
4. ThisprojectisanupdatedversionofthatshowninProject40,
andisrecommendedovertheoriginal.Thepreviouscircuitwill
(does)work,butthisisabetterandmoreversatileunit.

Description
TheheartofthecircuitisTR1,acompletelyordinarysmalllowoutputvoltagetransformer.In
thiscase,itisconnectedinreverse,andusedasacurrenttransformer.Apowerresistorshuntsa
goodproportionofthecurrentawayfromthetransformer,sincemostsmalltransformershavean
excessivelyhighsecondaryresistance.Neverusethecircuitwithouttheshuntresistor,asthe
outputvoltagemayreachdangerouslevelswithoutit.
Iuseda5VA,240Vto18Vtransformer(becauseIhadone),butanythingwith9Vto15V
secondarieswillworkjustaswell.Theresistorshouldbea10Wwirewoundtypemakesure
thattheterminalsarewellinsulatedagainstcontact,andkeepallwiringwellclearofthe
resistor.Undernormalcircumstancesitwillgetquitewarmatfullratedpowerifyouusemy
recommendations,maximumdissipationwillbe4Watratedcurrent.Feelfreetoreducethe
valueoftheresistorifhighercurrentsareexpected,or...
Theresistormayalsobereducedifalowersecondaryvoltagetransformerisused.Remember
thatthetransformerisnowastepupunitthesmallvoltageacrossR1issteppedupbytheturns
ratioofthetransformer.Avoltageof1Vacrossthesecondarywindingwillcreateamuchhigher
voltageonthe"primary",sosomecareisneeded.

220240VOperation
TR1
12Vsecondary
220240V
primary
R1
1Ohm

110VOperation
TR1

R1

6VSecondary
110Vprimary
0.5Ohm

Withthevaluesshownabove,themaximumloadcurrentofthemasterunitshouldbelimitedto
about2A(4Afor110V),andthiswillbemorethanenoughformostPreamps,computers,etc.If
themasterunitdrawsmorethanthis,reducethevalueofR1toobtainamaximumvoltageof2V
RMSatfullload.Intheory,thiswillgiveanRMSvoltageofabout30Vontheprimary,butin
realityitwillbetypicallysomewhatlessthanthis.Itisagoodideatochecktheactualvoltage
obtainedfromthetransformer.Ifitexceedsabout30V,thenreducethevalueofR1
appropriately.

VR1isusedtosetthesensitivityofthecircuit.Thismaynotbeneededinsomecases,butis
highlyrecommended.Thesensitivityshouldbesettoensurethattherelay(s)activatereliably
whenthemasterunitisswitchedonandoff.Ihadtoincludethesensitivitycontrolinmyunit,
becausethePCdrawsasmallquiescentcurrent(itisoneofthe"softswitching"types)which
wassufficienttoactivatetherelaysassoonastheleadwasconnected.(Iwasnotamused,sinceI
thenhadtodismantleeverythingandmodifytheunit.)
Warning:Ifthesensitivityissettoolow,Q2mayoverheat!Thisisbecauseitwillnotbe
saturated,andthefullvoltagedoesnotappearacrosstherelay.Thetransistorwillhavetherelay
currentflowingthroughit,andsomevoltageacrossitthisequatestopower,andpowermeans
heat.Suchaconditionwillensurethatthetransistorwillfailatsometimeinthefuture(probably
afteryouhaveforgottenhowyouwiredthecircuit,andattheleastconvenientmomentas
always).

Figure1CurrentSensingSlavePowerSwitch

Figure1showstheschematicofthemaincontroller.RememberthatTR1isconnectedwiththe
secondary(lowvoltageside)inparallelwithR1asshown.Theinputandmasterconnections
cannotbereversed!Ifyouaccidentallywirethecircuitwiththeminterchanged,oncepowered
on,itwillstayon,withtheperipheralsmaintainingthecurrentflowthroughTR1.

Themainrelay(RL1)mustberatedforthefullACloadcurrentandvoltagethatyouwillbe
controlling.Neverusearelaythatisnotsuitablyratedanddesignedformainsswitching,as
eitherelectricalbreakdownoftheinsulationorcontactfailure(orboth)mayresult.Asshown,
thecontrolelectronicsareearthedtothemainsground.
NOTE:Donotusetheunitwiththecontrolcircuit"floating",asanyinternalinsulationfailurewill
rendertheunitextremelyunsafe,andmaycauseriskofelectrocutionorfire(orboth).

RL2isoptional,andisneededonlyifthe12V(nominal)DCsupplyisusedinmycase,it
operatesasmallpreampandheadphoneampformyPCsoundsystem.Powerissuppliedfrom
anexternalplugpack,mainlybecauseIhadonehandy(itwasactuallybeingusedtopowerthe
preampanyway).Alldiodesare1N4004orsimilar,andcapacitorsshouldberatedat25V.
Isuggestthatyoudonotuseadoublepolerelay,withonepoleforthe12Vsupply(insteadof
tworelays).Althoughmainsratedrelaysarequitesafeinthisconfiguration,thereistoomuch
riskofmixinguptheterminals,andsendingdeadlymainsvoltagesouttheauxiliaryconnector.
Itisalsomuchhardertoensurethatthewiringisproperlysegregated.IftheAuxiliaryDCisnot
needed,thenyoucanomitRL2,J2,D2andC2,andruntheunitfromaninternalsupply(as
showninFigure2)orfroma12VDCplugpackexternalsupply.J1isonlyneededifanexternal
supplyisused,otherwise,ittoocanbeomitted.

Figure2Internal12VSupply

AsuitableinternalsupplyisshowninFigure2.Thetransformerisusedinthenormalmanner
donotgetthetwotransformersmixedupwhenwiring!Thismaybesurprisinglyeasytodo,
sincethetransformersmaybeidentical(theuseoftwoidenticaltransformersisperfectly
acceptable).Iverystronglyrecommendthatbothtransformersbefittedwiththermalfusesif
possible,orattheveryleast,useafuseintheinputoftheauxiliarysupplyasshown.Small
transformersarenotoftenrenownedfortheirbuildquality,andalaborsavingcircuitthatburns
downyourhouseisnotentirelysatisfactory.

Thesupplyshownwillgiveanominal12V,andmaybelowpower,sincetheonlyrealloadis
therelay(s).IftheauxiliaryDCisnotrequired,C1maybereducedtoabout470uF(whichisstill
betterthanmostplugpacksupplies!).Diodesare1N4004orsimilar,andC1shouldberatedat
25V.A5VAto10VAtransformerwillbemorethanadequate.

Postscript
Incaseyouwerewondering...WhydidIchooseatransformerratherthananOptoisolator?
Quitesimple,really.Optoisolatorsarealmostideal,butneedaPCB.Veroboardandsimilar
stripboardsareextremelyunsafewithmainsvoltages,andIwantedthisinahurry(asusual!).
Neverusestripboardwithmainsvoltagesitisjustnotdesignedforthis!
Touseanisolator,Iwouldstillneedthepowerresistor,butitsvaluewouldneedtobehigher
(morepowerloss,moreheat)togenerateenoughpotentialtooperatetheLEDintheisolator.
Or,Icouldusediodestogetthevoltagedropneeded.Thesewouldneedtobehighcurrenttypes
tohandletheinrushcurrentofevenrelativelysmall"master"appliances.Eitherway,Iwould
(andthereforesowouldyou)needtoobtaintheneededbits,wherethedesignshowncanbe
madewithpartsfromthe"junkbox"atransformerfromanoldplugpacksupply,afewvery
commondiodesandtransistors,andarelayortwo.
ThereisalsotheproblemoflimitingtheLEDcurrentforoverloadsorevennormaloperation,
andthiscangetquiteirksome.Abalancingactbetweensensitivityandeaseofconstruction,
safetyandcost.Overall,themethodshownissafe,easytoimplement,andverysatisfactory.
Sincealmostanymainstransformercanbeused(forexample,Ihavesome110VtransformersI
couldhaveusedtheyarenousetomeinAustraliaforanythingelse).Theanswertothenext
questionis"becauseIcouldn'tfindoneimmediately":)
Apartfromanythingelse,mostconstructorswillnothave"odd"voltagetransformerslying
about,sowillhavetousethoseintendedfortheirnormalmainsvoltage,soitwasbetter(foryou,
anyway)thatIusedastandardtransformerformytesting.Thisalsoensuresthattheinsulationis
ratedtotheactualvoltageinyourcountry,anotentirelyunimportantconsideration.
Pleasedonotbetemptedtouseanythingotherthanamainstransformer,unlessitisratedforthe
fullmainsvoltage.Typically,mainsratedtransformerswillhaveaninsulationbreakdown
voltageof2kVormorebetweenwindings.Thisisyoursafetybarrier,andassuchitisvery
importantthatitreallyisabarrier.

YoumightalsowonderwhyIdidn'tjustusetheoutputofthetransformertopowertherelay(via
adiodeandcapacitor).Theanswerisagainverysimple.Ifyourpreampdraws(forexample)
400mAfromthemains,onlyasmallpartofthisgoesthroughthetransformerwinding.The
outputvoltagewillbeconsiderablyhigher,butatevenlowercurrent.Withacarefullyselected
relayandtransformer,thisispossible,butgenerally,thepoweravailablewillbetoolowhence
theamplifiercircuit.
Inshortthisisaverybasiccircuitthatworkswellandreliablywithawiderangeofcontrolling
appliances,andithasanice"tech"touchtoitaswell.

IqbaluddinKhan
923219207460
Iqbalsound@yahoo.com
http://asia.groups.yahoo.com/group/Engineers_Electronics_Pakistan/