Article : Andy Collinson
A simple op-amp circuit that will trigger a relay when a preset temperature is reached. Please note
that there is no hysteresis in this circuit, so that if the temperature changes rapidly, then the relay
may switch rapidly.
This circuit uses an ordinary NTC thermistor with a resistance of 47k at room temperature. A suitable part
is FX42V. The circuit is set in balance by adjusting
the the 47k potentiometer. Any change in temperature will alter the balance of the circuit, the output of the op-amp will change and energize the relay. Swapping the position of the thermistor and 47k resistor makes a cold or frost alarm.
At room temperature (25 degrees Celsius) a 47k NTC thermistor resistance is approximately 47k. The non-inverting op-amp input will then be roughly half the supply voltage, adjusting the 47k pot should allow the relay to close or remain open. To calibrate the device, the thermistor ideally needs to be at the required operating temperature. If this is for example, a hot water tank, then the resistance will decrease, one way to do this is use a multimeter on the resistance scale, read the thermistors resistance and then set the preset so that the circuit triggers at this temperature.
Please note that if the temperature then falls, the relay will de-energize. If the environment temperatures changes rapidly, then the relay may chatter, as there is no hysteresis in this circuit.
Hysteresis, allows a small amount of "backlash" to be tolerated. With a circuit employing hysteresis, there will be
no relay chatter and the circuit will trigger at a defined temperature and require a different temperature to return to the normal state. Hysteresis can be applied to the circuit using feedback, try a 1Meg resistor between op-amp output, pin 6 and the non-inverting input pin 2 to give the circuit hysteresis.
Without offset null adjustment, the output of the 741 IC will be around 2 Volts (quiescent) swinging to nearly full supply when triggered. The 4.7k and 1k resistor form a potential divder so that under quiescent conditions the transistor will be off. Quiescent or steady state means no signal, or in this case (when the temperature does not cause
the output to swing to full voltage).