Multiple Continuity Tester

The continuity tester is a handy adjunct to an ohmmeter. The unit or component whose continuity is to be checked is connected between terminals E1 and E2 (which may be probes or croc clips). The test current then flowing through the unit/component on test causes a potential drop across resistor R2, which is applied to the non-inverting input of buffer IC2. The output of the op amp is applied to transistor T1, in the emitter circuit of which there are a number of parallel-connected light-emitting diodes. Each LED is in series with a zener diodes and a resistor. The zener diodes have dissimilar zener voltages as shown in the diagram. When the drop across R2 exceeds the sum of base-emitter voltage of T1, a zener voltage, and the threshold voltage of the LED in series with that zener diode, the relevant LED lights.

Multiple Continuity Tester circuit diagramThe diagram shows at which resistance value of the unit/component on test a particular LED lights. Bear in mind, however, that these values depend to some extent on the type of LED, and also that the zener voltages are subject to tolerances. Serious deviations may be corrected by the addition of a standard diode or a Schottky diode. It is also possible to add branches to individual requirements, or to use a bar display instead of LEDs. It is important that the op amp used has a rail-to-rail output since the input voltages as well as the output may rise to the peak supply voltage. This requirement is met by the MAX4322 as used in the prototype.

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