# Need help calculating maximum current in circuit

Thread Starter

#### parhallenberg

Joined Dec 19, 2015
10
Hi!

I'm making a modified version of the water leak detector from Make #28, please see attached image for my circuit. Right now it's working, with a LED (between Test point and GND) lighting up on when detecting water or when activating test switch. Now I want to calculate the maximum current that could rush through the circuit, before I dare to connect Test point to an input pin on the Arduino UNO (I would also like to be able to supply 5V from an output pin, which also depends on maximum current draw).

Since I'm new to PNP transistors, I'm not even sure where to start. Which route is the important one for me? Is it A) 5V --> PN2907 --> Test point --> R5 --> GND? (And in that case, maybe I should put a resistor between 5V and PN2907 Collector to minimize current to Test point?) Or is it B) 5V --> Test switch --> R1 --> R4 --> Test point --> R5 --> GND?
A)
I = V / R5
V = 5V
R5 = 12k
I = 0,42mA

B)
I = V / (R1 + R4+ R5)
V = 5V
R1 + R4 + R5 = 36k
I = 0,14mA #### bertus

Joined Apr 5, 2008
21,364
Hello,

Can you post a decent schematic instead of your PCB layout?
This way we can see what you are doing.

Bertus

Thread Starter

#### parhallenberg

Joined Dec 19, 2015
10
Hello,
Can you post a decent schematic instead of your PCB layout?
Bertus
Sorry, yes of course. Not sure if decent, though. Usually I do them on paper. This is from Fritzing:
U1 is my test point. U2 is GND and 5V. U3 is two test probes, which will act like a closed switch if put in water. S1 is test switch (NO). And Q1 is PN2907, Q2 is 2n3904.
View attachment 96842

#### Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
12,067
When Q1 switches on, tens of mA could flow into test point U1 if it is a low-impedance input of the Arduino. The current is determined by the gain (beta) of Q1.

Thread Starter

#### parhallenberg

Joined Dec 19, 2015
10
When Q1 switches on, tens of mA could flow into test point U1 if it is a low-impedance input of the Arduino. The current is determined by the gain (beta) of Q1.
Thanks. From the PN2907 data sheet I find a gain of between min 35-100 and max 300, depending on collector current (Ic). I guess Ic is decided by Q2 gain, which is maximum 300, according to 2N3904 datasheet (minimum is again dependent on collector current). I really don't know what to make of this... Would it be enough to protect U1 with a resistor between Q1 and U1, or would the voltage drop over the resistor give me a wrong reading on the Arduino side? Would a resistor between 5V and Q1 be better?

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