Posted on Monday, July 28, 2014 • Category: Test and Measurement
Curious C-Beeper is a fun to build little probe that can be used to quickly detect the capacity of capacitors in pF nF range, test their stability with temperature changes, find broken wires, locate wires, trace wires on PCBs, and to locate live wires behind the walls without touching them. The circuit uses three transistors to make a most unusual capacitance beeper probe. When a capacitor is touched to the probe, the probe beeps at a frequency that varies with capacitance. The frequency change is so steep with capacitance that tiny capacitors may be precisely matched or an exact fixed value may be selected to replace a trimmer in a prototype. If the user has reasonably moist skin, simply holding one lead of the capacitor to be tested while touching the other lead to the probe is all that is necessary. The user's body forms the other connection through the beeper's metal case. When the beeper is properly adjusted it draws only 10 uA with nothing touching the probe - no power switch is required. This design is optimized for capacitors less than about 0.1 uF (100 nF). Large capacitors give a low frequency "clicking" sound and small capacitors sound a tone that increases as the capacitance decreases. Many decades of frequency change occur over the beeper's range giving even the more tone-deaf among us sufficient change to discern slight differences in capacitance. The entire device is powered by two CR2032 lithium cells that fit into TicTac box. The use of power switch is unnecessary since the circuit consumes almost no power when not being used.
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