Microvolt probe

Posted on Dec 27, 2012

The current tracer helps locate a defective IC that is loading down the power supply. The tracer amplifies the small voltage drop caused by current flow along a fraction of an inch of PC wiring and drives an ordinary microammeter. Needle-point test probes are used to contatt the edge of a PC trace and to follow the current to determine which branch the current takes. One-half of a dual 741 op amp forms a dc amplifier with ac feedback to prevent oscillations and hum-pickup problems.

Microvolt probe
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It drives a 50-to-100 µ meter. The other op amp provides a center tap for the 9 V battery supply and zero adjustment with R4. Two diodes protect the meter. Resistor Rl eliminates the necessity for shorting the probes when the meter is zeroed. The value of 1 ohm is large when compared with the resistance of the meter leads plus the bridged portion of PC wiring.

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