Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Universal Tester for 3 pin Devices

Most 3-terminal active components can be  tested statically using just an ohmmeter. But  when you have a lot of these devices to test,  the procedure soon becomes boring. That’s  where the idea came from to combine fast,  easy testing for these types of device into a  single instrument.

The unit described here enables you to test  NPN and PNP bipolar transistors, N-or Pchannel FETs or MOSFETs, UJTs, triacs, and thyristors. Regardless of the type of device, the  tests are non-destructive. Universal connectors allow testing of all package types, including SMDs (up to a point). The unit lets you  change from one type of device to another in  a trice. It avoids using a multi-pole switch, as  they’re too expensive and hard to find.

Universal Tester for 3-pin Devices Circuit diagram:
Universal Tester for 3-pin Devices-Circuit Diagram

Here’s how to build a versatile instrument at  a ridiculously low cost. IC1 is a 4066 quad CMOS switch which will let us switch between bipolar transistors and FETs. LEDs D1–D4 tell us about the condition  of the test device, when we press the ‘Test’  button. The 4066 can only handle a few milliamps, not  enough for the other component types to be  tested, hence the reason for using relay RE1.  This 12 V relay offers two NO contacts. The  first applies power to the UJT test circuit, the  second applies it to the triac and thyristor test  circuit.

Extensive testing has shown that the best way  to test UJT transistors is to do so dynamically,  with the help of a relaxation oscillator. Net-work R11/C1 sets the oscillator frequency to  around 2 Hz. On pin B1 of the UJT we find a  nice sawtooth, which is not of much interest  to us here. However, pin B2 gives good but  very short pulses. IC2, wired as a monostable,  lengthens these pulses so they can be clearly  seen via LED D5.

The relay’s second pole is going to drive the  thyristor’ sortriac’s trigger pin. The value of  R18 is a good compromise with respect to the varying trigger currents for this type of  device. Resistor R17 is important, as the hold-ing current must be high enough for a triac;  250 mA is a good compromise. LED D6 tells  you if the device is in good condition or not;  but watch out, the test result must be con-firmed by briefly cutting the power in order  to reset the triac.

On the web page for this article [1] you’ll find  the author’s CAD files (PCB layout and front  panel) along with some photos of his project.  On the prototype, the LEDs and the ‘Test’  button were wired onto the copper side of  the PCB. The six female connectors for the  devices being tested were salvaged, but there  are lots of models available on the market (the  pitch is standard). The test cable crocodile  clips must be as small as possible for testing  SMD devices.

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