Posted on Jul 13, 2012

On most FM tuners, the stereo indicator lights upon detection of the 19-kHz pilot tone. However, this doesn`t mean that the program is actually stereophonic, since the pilot tone is often transmitted with mono programs also. A similar situation exists on stereo amplifiers, where the stereo LED is simply controlled from the mono/stereo switch. The LED-based stereo indicator described here lights only when a true stereo signal is fed to the inputs.

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Differential amplifier Al raises the difference between the L and R input signals. When these are equal, the output of Al remains at the same potential as the output of A2, which forms a virtual ground rail at half the supply voltage. When Al detects a difference between the L and Rinput signals, it supplies a positive or negative voltage with respect to the virtual ground rail, and so causes C3 to be charged via Dl or C4 via D2. Comparator A3/A4 switches on the LED driver via OR circuit D3/D4. The input signal level should not be less than 100 mV to compensate for the drop across Dl or D2. The sensitivity of the stereo indicator is adjustable with Pl.

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