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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pump Controller For Solar Hot Water System

This circuit optimises the operation of a solar hot water system. When the water in the solar collector is hotter than the storage tank, the pump runs. The circuit comprises two LM335Z temperature sensors, a comparator and Mosfet. Sensor 1 connects to the solar collector panel while Sensor 2 connects to the hot water panel. Each sensor includes a trimpot to allow adjustment of the output level. In practice, VR1 and VR2 are adjusted so that both Sensor 1 and Sensor 2 have the same output voltage when they are at the same temperature. The Sensor outputs are monitored using comparator IC1.
When Sensor 1 produces a higher voltage than Sensor 2, which means that sensor 1 is at a higher temperature, pin 1 of IC1 goes high and drives the gate of Mosfet Q1. This in turn drives the pump motor. IC1 includes hysteresis so that the output does not oscillate when both sensors are producing a similar voltage. Hysteresis comprises the 1MO feedback resistor between output pin 1 and non-inverting input pin 3 and the input 1kO resistor. This provides a nominal 12mV hysteresis so that voltage at Sensor 1 or Sensor 2 must differ by 12mV for changes in the comparator output to occur.
Circuit diagram:

Pump controller for solar hot water system circuit schematic

Since the outputs of Sensor 1 and Sensor 2 change by about 10mV/°C, we could say that there is a degree of hysteresis in the comparator. Note that IC1 is a dual comparator with the second unit unused. Its inputs are tied to ground and pin 2 of IC1 respectively. This sets the pin 7 output high. Since the output is an open collector, it will be at a high impedance. Mosfet Q1 is rated at 60A and 60V and is suitable for driving inductive loads due to its avalanche suppression capability. This clamps any inductively induced voltages exceeding the voltage rating of the Mosfet.
The sensors are adjusted initially with both measuring the same temperature. This can be done at room temperature; adjust the trimpots so that the voltage between ground and the positive terminal reads the same for both sensors. If you wish, the sensors can be set to 10mV/°C change with the output referred to the Kelvin scale which is 273K at 0°C. So at 25°C, the sensor output should be set to (273 + 25 = 298) x 10mV or 2.98V.
The sensors will produce incorrect outputs if their leads are exposed to moisture and they should be protected with some neutral cure silicone sealant. The sensors can be mounted by clamping them directly to the outside surface of the solar collector and on an uninsulated section of the storage tank. The thermostat housing is usually a good position on the storage tank.

Author: John Clarke - Copyright: Silicon Chip Electronics

Bipolar Stepper Motor Control

First, we want to explain how such a controller works and what’s involved. A bipolar motor has two windings, and thus four leads. Each winding can carry a positive current, a negative current or no current. This is indicated in Table 1by a ‘+’, a ‘–‘ or a blank. A binary counter (IC1) receives clock pulses, in response to which it counts up or down (corresponding to the motor turning to the left or the right). The counter increments on the positive edge of the pulse applied to the clock input if the up/down input is at the supply level, and it decrements if the up/down input is at earth level.
Bipolar Stepper Motor Control circuit diagramThe state of the counter is decoded to produce the conditions listed in Table 2. Since it must be possible to reverse the direction of the current in the winding, each winding must be wired into a bridge circuit. This means that four transistors must be driven for each winding. Only diagonally opposed transistors may be switched on at any given time, since otherwise short circuits would occur. At first glance, Table 2 appears incorrect, since there seem to always be four active intervals. However, you should consider that a current flows only when a and c are both active. The proper signals are generated by the logic circuitry, and each winding can be driven by a bridge circuit consisting of four BC517 transistors.

table 1Two bridge circuits are needed, one for each winding. The disadvantage of this arrangement is that there is a large voltage drop across the upper transistors in particular (which are Darlingtons in this case). This means that there is not much voltage left for the winding, especially with a 5-V supply. It is thus better to use a different type of bridge circuit, with PNP transistors in the upper arms. This of course means that the drive signals for the upper transistors must be reversed. We thus need an inverted signal in place of 1a. Fortunately, this is available in the form of 1d.
table 2The same situation applies to 1b (1c), 2a (2d) and 2b (2c). In this case, IC4 is not necessary. Stepper motors are often made to work with 12V. The logic ICs can handle voltages up to 15 to 18 V, so that using a supply voltage of 12 V or a bit higher will not cause any problems. With a supply voltage at this level, the losses in the bridge circuits are also not as significant. However, you should increase the resistor values (to 22 kΩ, for example). You should preferably use the same power supply for the motor and the controller logic. This is because all branches of the bridge circuit will conduct at the same time in the absence of control signals, which yields short-circuits.

Baud Rate Generator

In this article, an RC oscillator is used as a baud rate generator. If you can calibrate the frequency of such a circuit sufficiently accurately (within a few percent) using a frequency meter, it will work very well. However, it may well drift a bit after some time, and then…. Consequently, here we present a small crystal-controlled oscillator. If you start with a crystal frequency of 2.45765 MHz and divide it by multiples of 2, you can very nicely obtain the well-known baud rates of 9600, 4800, 2400, 600, 300, 150 and 75. If you look closely at this series, you will see that 1200 baud is missing, since divider in the 4060 has no Q10 output!

Baud Rate Generator circuit diagram

If you do not need 1200 baud, this is not a problem. However, seeing that 1200 baud is used in practice more often than 600 baud, we have put a divide-by-two stage in the circuit after the 4060, in the form of a 74HC74 flip-flop. This yields a similar series of baud rates, in which 600 baud is missing. The trimmer is for the calibration purists; a 33 pF capacitor will usually provide sufficient accuracy. The current consumption of this circuit is very low (around 1mA), thanks to the use of CMOS components.