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Project Notes

#130 DarlingtonTouchSwitch

Test a Darlington-pair touch switch.

The Build

Notes

A Darlington pair refers to a couple of bipolar transistors connected so that the amplified emmitter signal of one is used to drive the second. This results a multiplication of the gain, so the circuit is hyper-sensitive to any input signal.

An ideal applications is a touch switch - the classic demonstration case.

The load in this circuit is just an LED with a current-limiting resistor. Two NPN transistors form the Darlington-pair. The circuit works over a wide-range of voltages - basically constrained by the specific transistors used and the size of the current-limiting resistor (to avoid blowing the LED).

The touch switch control comprises two leads:

  • to the base of the Darlington-pair
  • to positive power

A 100kΩ resistor is included to protect against bad things happening if the touch switch is completely shorted.

It doesn’t take much to activate the switch:

  • touch the base lead only will turn on the Darlington-pair to a degree
  • a single finger pressing across the base and power lead will turn the switch hard on
  • touch one lead with one hand, and the other lead with the other hand (using your body as the conductor) will also turn the switch hard on

Construction

Breadboard

The Schematic

Credits and References

About LEAP#130 SensorsBJT
Project Source on GitHub Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is my personal collection of electronics projects, usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting (IMHO!).

The projects are usually inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the sources such as:

Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know. See the individual projects for credits where due. There are even now a few projects contributed by others - send your own over in a pull request if you would also like to add to this collection.