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Make this Amplifier Short/Overload Protection Circuit

Make this Amplifier Short/Overload Protection Circuit

The following article explains how to build a power amplifier short circuit or overload protection circuit for safeguarding loudspeakers from burning.

Why we need a Short Circuit Protection

While working with high power amplifier designs, two things become crucial, the protection of the amplifier and the protection of the speakers from an accidental over current influx.

Especially when the amplifier design involves costly mosfets, the design becomes specifically vulnerable to short circuits at the outputs.A short circuit at the output may be caused due to mishandling or ignorance from the part of the user.

Whatever might be the reason, the end results in the destruction of the precious mosfets inside the amplifier box.

The above mishap can be prevented by adding a small circuit for detecting a short circuit conditions at the outputs of an amplifier.

Circuit Operation

The given amplifier short/overload protection circuit diagram, shows an inexpensive design using just a single transistor for implementing the intended feature.

Normally a low value resistor is usually employed at the output of mosfet amplifiers, the current developed across this resistor can be well exploited for tripping a relay in case it exceeds the safe maximum current value.

The current threshold across the above resistor is sensed by an LED inside an optocoupler, which lights up the moment a short or overload conditions is sensed.

This instantly triggers the opto transistor which in turn switches ON the transistor driver and the associated relay mechanism.

Since the relay coils support the amplifier connection with the speaker output, disconnects the amplifier from the output connection, preventing the amplifier devices from a possible damage.

The capacitor at the base of the transistor keeps the transistor switched for a few seconds so that the relay does not oscillate randomly.

Make this Amplifier Short/Overload Protection Circuit

About the Author

I am an electronic engineer (dipIETE ), hobbyist, inventor, schematic/PCB designer, manufacturer. I am also the founder of the website: https://www.homemade-circuits.com/, where I love sharing my innovative circuit ideas and tutorials. If you have any circuit related query, you may interact through comments, I'll be most happy to help!

41 thoughts on “Make this Amplifier Short/Overload Protection Circuit”

    • Hi Sid, you can use the above same concept for BTL amplifier also, just replace the loudspeaker in the diagram with the amplifier circuit’s supply pins.

  1. Hello brother my name is sandeep from Kerala,this circuit is suitable for PA class d amplifiers,? Brother ,amplifier is class d ,put Ac voltage is 56 voltage, amps is 16 amps, (secondary 14swg copper wire) amplifier maximum output is 2000 watts per channel ,my question is sir this circuit is suitable for this amp pls help me, vdc is 85 vdc

    • Hi Sandeep, you can use this concept for any amplifier or load, because it is designed only to sense the current level passing to the speaker wire. Just make sure to select the relay and the current sensing resistor accordingly….preferably replace the 1uF capacitor with a 100uF/25V for better delay and hold feature of the relay.

  2. Hi! Nice circuit. How do you decide to use 1.5 or 2 in the above formulas? That number means the voltage drop in the resistor to trigger the diode bridge. Thanks

    • Hi, thanks, I am glad you liked it! for the opto coupler to conduct optimally the current limiter resistor must develop a voltage equal to the sum of the forward voltages of two series diodes from the bridge and the LED inside the opto….the total may reach upto 2V minimum, that’s why the value 2 needs to be used in the formula.

  3. only detects DC at speaker out but not detects SHORT at speaker out…. optocoupler needs DC supply in order to work… how…in this circuit provides a SHORT protection, let’s say a faulty (shorted)speaker wire to the amplifier?

    • did you check how much voltage is generated across the sensing resistor during the intended overload? did you check whether that voltage was actually sufficient or not for triggering the opto LED?

      the bridge is already present to convert the pulsating DC into rectified DC?

      check all the parameters above, and set up the resistor accordingly as per your overload threshold, the circuit will cut off the relay at the set point

  4. Sir,

    This circuit also prevent DC from amplifiers O/P? means, this circuit act as a speaker protection circuit?..

    How can calculate The resistor value in +75v -0- -75v 250W amplifier?

    • Rahul, yes you are correct, it will protect speaker from burning.

      for 75V 250 watt, the current limiter resistor can be calculated as

      250/75 = 3.33 amps

      R = 2/3.33 = 0.6 ohms

      watt = 2 x 3.33 = 6.66 or 10 watts

  5. Does anyone have a COMPLETE working circuit (including missing +12V to relay and opto) with all parts IDENTIFIED? Has anyone tested or built this circuit?

  6. Sorry I can't understand which voltage
    Input to transformer is 220 volt and the output of the transformer is 24 volt the transformer current rateing is 5 amps
    Mean while I get only 1 ohmes in India

    • the 0.5 ohm shown in the diagram will need to be calculated as explained using the formula in the previous comment.

      If your amplifier operating volatge is 24V then

      100/24 = 4.16

      R = 1.5/4.16 = 0.36 ohms

      wattage of resistor will be = 1.5 x 4.16 = 6.24 or a 10 watt will do.

      if you are getting 1 ohm then use two in parallel, in place of the indicated 0.5 ohm

  7. 100 Watts 5.1 amplifier system it is designed by MOSFET IC I have changed my speaker for more than 8 times in 2 years

    • for 100 watt you can use the following formula

      100/V = current

      therefore R = 1.5/current

      here V is your amp supply voltage

    • saravanan, please tell what is the max wattage limit do you prefer to implement? the resistor value will depend on this

  8. Hi,
    yes by mistake the positive connection is not shown in the diagram, a separate +12V should be connected to the link that connects the relay coil and the opto transistor.

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