Energy Leak Detector

High sensitivity, portable temperature comparator

Detects draughts around doors, windows, etc.

Circuit diagram:

Energy Leak Detector


R1_____________22K  Linear Potentiometer (See Notes)
R2_____________15K  @ 20°C n.t.c. Thermistor (See Notes)
R3_____________10K  1/4W Resistor
R4,R5,R7,R9____22K  1/4W Resistors
R6____________220K  1/4W Resistor
R8______________5K  1/2W Trimmer Cermet
R10___________680R  1/4W Resistor

C1_____________47µF  63V Electrolytic Capacitor

D1_____________5mm. Red LED
D2_____________5mm. Green LED

IC1___________TL061 Low current BIFET Op-Amp
IC2___________LM393 Dual Voltage Comparator IC

P1_____________SPST Pushbutton

B1_______________9V PP3 Battery

Clip for PP3 Battery


This sensitive circuit is basically a comparator, detecting very slight temperature changes in respect to the ambient temperature. It was primarily intended to detect draughts around doors and windows that cause energy leaks but can be used in many other ways, when a sensitive temperature change detector is needed.
Two LEDs are used to signal if the temperature change is pointing above (Red LED) or below (Green LED) the ambient temperature.

Circuit operation:

IC1 acts as a bridge detector and amplifier: its output voltage raises when temperature increases and vice-versa. This happens because the n.t.c. resistor R2 reduces its resistance value as temperature increases and vice-versa, therefore unbalancing the bridge formed by R1, R2, R4, R5.
IC2A and IC2B form a window comparator and R8 is the sensitivity control.
Before starting a measurement the circuit must be balanced by means of R1 in order to obtain that both LEDs are off. If R8 is set to zero resistance the circuit sensitivity will be at maximum and one of the LEDs will illuminate when a very slight difference in temperature will be detected. As R8 value is increased the circuit sensitivity will decrease.