This circuit will detect power line currents of 250 mA or more without making electrical connections to the line. Current is detected by passing a line of alternating current through an inductive pickup (L1) as a screen diameter of 1 inch U-bolt wound with 800 turns # 30 – # 35 magnet wire.
The pickup could be made from rings of iron or other type of processor core that allows enough space to pass one of the AC lines through the center. Only one of the power line is the line or neutral must come from the center of the pickup to avoid the fields cancel.
I tested the circuit with a 2 wire extension cord that had separated the twin wires a small distance with an exacto knife to allow the U-bolt to encircle a single cable. The magnetic pick-up (U-bolt) produces about 4 millivolts peak for a series of alternating current of 250 mA, or AC load of around 30 watt.
The signal from the pickup has grown about 200 times the output of pin op-amp 7, followed by the peak detected by diode and capacitor connected to pin 7. The second op-amp used as a reference point, which detects voltage increases above the drop pass.
The minimum mark required to cause the comparator output stage is a positive change of 800 mV peak around a power line 30-watt. The 1458 swing op-amp output in just a couple of times the ground so a voltage divider (1K/470) is used to reduce the voltage signal at about 0,7 volt.
An additional diode added in series with transistor base to ensure that off when the voltage op-amp is 2 volts. You can get a piece “of relay chatter if the AC load is close to the switching point so a larger load 50 W or higher recommended. The sensitivity can be increased by adding more becomes a pick-up.
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