Archive for July 20th, 2018
The question occasionally comes up as to why one would want a Tektronix A6302 Hall effect current probe and AM503 amplifier. The answer is simple: non-contact, essentially non-invasive current monitoring.
The scope screen in the background shows the two base voltages at the top, plus the overall battery current along the bottom:
The current at 1 mA/div shows plenty of noise, but the 200 ms LED pulse is barely 1 mA tall. The two AA alkaline cells have faded to 2.5 V, so the “wearable” white-LED-with-dyed-overcoat runs far under its nominal 3.6-ish V spec.
There’s basically no other way to get that result, because inserting a current-sense resistor into the circuit will alter the results, plus be intractably difficult to measure, particularly if you need the current in a non-ground-referenced branch of the circuit.
The AM503 has terrible thermal drift, by contemporary standards, but after the first half-hour or so it’s manageable for short durations. I’m thinking of epoxying a small knob to the screwdriver-adjustable twiddlepot to simplify the baseline adjustment.