Friday, April 27, 2012

PIC Based Air Quality Monitor

Idealy if you have a combustion heater in your home, there should be some means of monitoring the air quality. This is where the Air Quality Monitor comes in, it measures both carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels, and displays the results on LED bargraphs. If the concentration of either of these gases rises above a preset level, a loud alarm will sound, which means that you should turn off the heater and open the room up to fresh air.

Each bargraph comprises eight LEDs that light invidually to show eight distinct levels. In between values are displaed by lighting two adjacent LEDs. This gives a total of 15 levels that can be displayed. The four lower LEDs are green, followed by two orange and then two red LEDs. An automatic dimming circuit ensures that the LED displays are not too bright at night.

In addition, the alarm sounds if any of the top three LEDs light in either display. There are three alarm levels:
  1. Main alarm sounds if the top LED lights. This consists of a 64ms-long 4kHz tone that repeats every 0.5s. 
  2. Less urgent alarm sounds if the second top LED is lit (top LED off). This alarm gives a 32ms-long 4kHz ‘chip’ every four seconds (4s). 
  3.   Warning alarm sounds if the third top LED is alight. This alarm mode gives a brief 16ms 4kHz ‘chirp’ every 16 seconds (16s). 
An internal fan at one end draws air through the box so that the internally mounted CO and CO2 sensors are presented with a continuous sample of the air that’s being monitored. Power for the unit comes from a 12V DC 500mA plugpack.

Monday, April 23, 2012

12V 10A High current Power Supply with battery backup

The full circuit diagram of the 12V 10A Power Supply is shown in Fig.1.Power of about 18V to 25V is applied to screw terminals pins 1 (+V) and 2 (–V).Although the power supply was originally designed to run packet radio transceivers, the unit is not just confined to this type of radio. In fact, any radio can be used with this power supply. It can also be used as a main source of power; ie the battery, or used as a standby source of power in the event of a power failure. There would be a float charge for the battery when mains voltage is applied, and the battery can be relied on to supply current to equipment when the mains supply fails.

The input current to the circuit is limited by a 5A fuse (FS1) for protection purposes. Relay RLA is a small ‘homemade’ reed type that is set to close the contacts when the current drawn through this relay coil is in the order of about 1.5A. When this occurs, RLA’s contacts close, current is drawn through resistor R1, LED1, R2 and onto R3. The voltage across resistor R3 is sufficient to turn on FET TR2, which supplies power to a 12V cooling fan.
12V 10A High current Power Supply with battery backup schematic