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Belgian Earth Fault Detector

Having been affected by earth fault accidents,  the author put together this little circuit. It  consist of just three elements: the neon with its  original resistor for example, salvaged from  the switch on an AC power bar and a small  capacitor (class Y) salvaged from the electronics of a low-consumption lamp.

A larger capacitance makes the neon glow brighter. All this  for no money at all. The neon lights only when there is an ef´Čücient Earth present. This works  well at the author’s home, with Live or Neutral either way round. In the Elektor laboratory based in The Netherlands, some concerns  were expressed as described in the June 2011  issue [1], as the circuit was sensitive to the relative positions of the Live and Neutral. So the  Earth fault detector can also be used as a Phase  detector, but probably in Belgium only.

The whole thing can easily be incorporated into a power socket; the author used a small transparent cover to protect the neon.

Note. As opposed to the UK and the US, some AC  power outlets in Belgium  and all in The  Netherlands are not polarized, i.e. AC power plugs (both earthed  and non-earthed) can be inserted either way around.

Author : Marc Mertz – Copyright : Elektor


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