Frost Alarm

Article :  Andy Collinson
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A simple thermistor triggered switch with adjustable threshold. It triggers with cold temperatures so may be used as a frost alarm or cold temperature switch.

frost alarm Circuit Notes
The thermistor used has a resistance of 15k at 25°C and 45k at 0° Celsius. A suitable bead type thermistor can be found in the Maplin catalogue. The 100k pot allows this circuit to trigger over a wide range of temperatures.

If using a different thermistor then the control should match the new thermistor at its highest resistance, or be higher in value. The op-amp in this circuit is the ubiquitous 741. It may be catalogued as LM741, CA741 etc, all types will work. In this circuit it is used as a comparator. The non-inverting input (pin 3) is biased to half the supply voltage. The inverting input is connected to the junction of the thermistor and potentiometer. The control is adjusted so that the circuit is on when the thermistor is at the required temperature range. Once the thermistor is outside the temperature range its resistance alters and the op-amp output changes from near full supply to around 1 or 2 volts dc. There is insufficient voltage to turn on the transistor and the relay will not energise.

A slight amount of hysteresis is provided by inclusion of the 270k resistor. This prevents rapid switching of the circuit when the temperature is near to the switching threshold.

PCB Layout
Below is a PCB layout made with Kicad. There are many possibilities for PCB layouts, this one is single sided with the 3D layout shown below. cold triggered switch circuit Silk Screen

The top (component) layer is shown below. Drawn on the silk drawn are component outlines and component references.

cold triggered switch circuit

The schematic drawn is kicad is shown below to match PCB component references.

pcb Silk Screen

Below is an actual size (1:1) view of the copper layer. It is advisable to print this off first on paper and then see if the outline of components matches the physical side. Of particular importance is the relay. A relay with 2 changeover contacts is used. This relay is made by Finder Electronics type 40.52. PDF brochure with physical dimensions.

silk screen

Download all the PCB files in kicad format: FrostAlarm

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