The article discusses a simple infrared controlled fan regulator or dimmer circuit using ordinary parts such as a 4017 IC and a 555 IC.

Simulation and Working


Referring to the shown remote controlled fan dimmer circuit, three main stages may be seen incorporated: the infrared signal sensor stage using the IC TSOP1738, the Johnson's decade counter, sequencer using the IC 4017 and a PWM processor stage using the IC 555.



The various operations involved within the circuit can be understood with the help of the following points:

When an infrared beam is focused at the sensor, the sensor produces a low logic in response to this which in turn causes the PNP BC557 to conduct.

Using Sensor TSOP1738


The sensor used here is a TSOP1738, you can learn more about it in this simple IR remote control article

The conduction of the BC557 transistor in response to the IR beam links the positive supply to pin14 of the IC 4017 which is accepted as a clock pulse by the IC.

This clock pulse is translated into a single sequential hop of a high logic from the existing pinout to the next subsequent pinout in the sequence across the shown outputs of the IC 4017.

This sequential transfer or shift of a high logic pulse from one pinout to the next across the entire outputs from pin#3 to pin#10 and back is carried out in response to every momentary beam focused on the IR sensor by the IR remote handset.

Using IC 4017 for Controlling Voltage Divider


We can see that the IC 4017 outputs have a set of precisely calculated resistors whose outer free ends are shorted and connected to ground via a 1K resistor.

The above configuration forms a resistive potential divider which generates a sequential incrementing or dropping potential levels at the node "A" in response to the shifting of the high logics across the outputs as discussed in the above explanation.

This varying potential is terminated at the base of an NPN transistor whose emitter can be seen connected to pin#5 of IC 555 which is configured as a high frequency astable.

Using IC 555 as PWM Generator


The 555 stage basically functions like a PWM generator which varies proportionately as its pin#5 potential is varied. The varying PWMs are created at its pin#3.

By default pin#5 is connected with a 1K resistor to ground which ensures that when there is no voltage or minimum voltage at pin#5 results in an extremely narrow PWMs at its pin#3 and as the potential or voltage at its pin#5 is increased the PWMs also gain width proportionately. The width is maximum when the potential at pin#5 reaches 2/3rd of the Vcc of its pin#4/8.

Now apparently, as the outputs from the IC 4017 shifts creating a varying voltage at the base of the NPN, a corresponding amount of varying voltage is transferred over pin#5 of the IC 555 which in turn is converted into an accordingly changing PWMs across pin#3 of the IC.

Since the pin#3 of the IC is connected to the gate of a triac, the conduction of the triac is proportionately influenced from high to low and vice versa in response to the changing PWMs over its gate.

This is effectively converted into a desired speed control or an appropriate regulation of the connected fan across the triac's MT1 and the AC mains input.

Thus the speed of the fan becomes adjustable from fast to slow and vice versa in response to the infrared IR beams toggled on the associated IR sensor of the circuit.

How to Set up the circuit.


It may be done with the help of the following steps:

Initially keep the emitter of the BC547 transistor disconnected with pin#5 of the IC555.

Now the two stages (IC 4017 and IC 555) can be assumed to be isolated from each other.

First check the IC 555 stage in the following manner:

Disconnecting the 1K resistor across pin#5 and ground should increase the speed of the fan to maximum, and connecting it back should decrease it to minimum.

The above will confirm the correct working of the IC 555 PWM stage. The 50k preset setting is not crucial and may be set to approximately center of the preset range.

Next, we need to check whether the IC 4017 output node at "A" creates a varying voltage from 1V to 10V in response to each pressing of the IR remote beam over the circuit's IR sensor.

If the above condition is met, we can assume the stage to be functioning correctly, and now the emitter of the BC547 can be integrated with pin#5 of the IC555 for the final testing of the fan speed regulation using a IR remote handset.

The remote handset could be any TV remote control which we normally use in our homes.

If the above design does not work smoothly with a connected fan, it may need to go through a slight modification for improving the results as shown below:



The circuit takes the help of a MOC3031 triac driver stage for enforcing a hassle free and clean fan control through the remote handset.

Test Analysis


On testing the above circuit, the results were not quite satisfactory, since the fan could not be controlled upto the lowest limit and it showed some vibration.

Analyzing the design revealed that the application of PWM on triac was causing the issue since triacs do not respond well to DC PWMs, rather show improved reactions to AC phase chopping as used in dimmer switches

Using Phase Control instead of PWM


The circuit discussed in this article eliminates the PWM idea for the fan dimming control, instead employs few low power triacs for sequentially implementing the dimming or speeding effect on the connected fan motor.

The complete design for the proposed remote controlled fan dimmer circuit can be witnessed below:

Circuit Diagram




Note: the 4 SCRs are incorrectly represented as SCR BT169, these must be replaced with triacs, such as BCR1AM-8P triacs, or any other similar triac will also do.

How it Works


Referring to the diagram above we can see two the circuit configured across a couple distinct stages.

The right side of the diagram is configured as a standard light dimmer or fan dimmer  circuit, except one change, which can be seen near its usual pot section, where it has been replaced with four triacs having four separate resistor at their MT2, arranged with an incrementing values.

The left side stage comprising the IC 4017 is wired as a 4 step sequential logic generator, triggered by an Infrared sensor unit which forms the IR receiver for receiving the switching triggers from a hand held IR remote control unit.

The alternate remote IR beams from IR transmitter causes the IRS to generate a toggling pulse at pin#14 of the IC 4017, which in turn converts the pulse into a sequentially shifting logic high pulse across its pin#3 to pin#10 after which it's reset back to pin#3 via pin#1/15 interaction.

The above pinouts which are responsible of generating a sequentially traveling logic high pulse are serially connected with the gates A, B, C, D of the indicated triacs.

Since the resistors connected with the anodes of the triacs become the determining components for the fan speed limit, implies that by sequentially switching the triacs to and fro, the speed of the fan can be increased or decreased proportionately, in 4 discrete steps, depending on the values of  R4----R8.

Therefore when the remote handset button is pressed, the IC 4017 pinouts trigger the corresponding triac which in turn connects its anode resistor with the dimmer triac/diac configuration, executing the relevant amount of fan speed.

In the proposed remote controlled fan dimmer circuit, 4 triacs are shown for producing a 4-step speed control, however 10 such triacs could be implemented with all the 10 pinouts of the IC 4017 for acquiring a good 10 step discretely controlled fan speed regulation.

Parts List


R1, R3 = 100 ohms,R2 = 100K,R4 = 4K7,R5 = 10K,
C2 = 47uF/25VC1, C4= 22uF/25V,C6 = 4.7uF/25V,

C3 = 0.1, CERAMIC
C5 = 100uF/50V
C10 = 0.22uF/400V
T1 = BC557
IRS = TSOP IR sensor
IC1 = 4017 IC
D1 = 1N4007
D2 = 12V 1watt zener
R9 = 15K
R10 = 330K
R4---R8 = 50K, 100K. 150K, 220K
R11 = 33K
R12 = 100 ohms
Diac = DB-3
TR1 = BT136
L1 = 500 turns of 28SWG over any iron bolt.
C7 = 0.1uF/600V

WARNING: THE ENTIRE CIRCUIT IS DIRECTLY LINKED WITH THE MAINS AC, OBSERVE EXTREME CAUTION WHILE TESTING THE CIRCUIT IN POWERED POSITION

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