Capacitive Dropper Notes

220VAC to 12VDC Capacitive Dropper Power Supply Driving Relay Problem

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I was making PIR based light on/off using tric initially, but led flicks continuously when it is ON state but incascent bulb there is no flicker

Now I tried with relay but once really is connected voltage across terminal is less than 1 (0.77)volt. But after removing relay and check the voltage its 12 v.

Why once relay is connected voltage is dropping? Because of this NO in relay is not getting closed.

Sorry for not providing circuit diagram.

My circuit is simple. 12v dc RO relay and 220v ac for bulbenter image description here

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sensorrelaydcshareedit  follow  flag asked yesterdaySijith12922 bronze badges

  • 1You need to provide a schematic to get a sensible answer here. You can used the schematic editor button. – Spehro Pefhany yesterday
  • 3Crop the photos, man. Crop the photos. – Transistor yesterday
  • 1Size issue so I took screenshot for smaller image, sorry for messed up with images – Sijith yesterday
  • 2@Sijith you added the pictures to Mohamed’s answer … the pictures belong in your posted question, not in an answer that somebody else posted – jsotola yesterday
  • 2@Sijith: Never mind the photos and the voltage drop. Stop messing with that thing before you kill yourself. That is a capacitive dropper. You must regard all points in that circuit to be at line voltage. That’s probably 220VAC where you are. That circuit is not safe. It is waiting for a chance to kill you. – JRE yesterday 

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3 Answers


With the circuit diagram you have finally posted, the problem is clear.

  1. You are using a capacitive dropper as a power supply.
  2. Current through a capacitive dropper is limited by the capacitor. At 50Hz, your 1uF capacitor has an impedance of about 3k ohms. At 220V, that’s a maximum of about 70 milliamperes.
  3. Your relay has a coil resistance of 400 ohms.
  4. At 12V, the 400 ohm coil of the relay will draw about 30 milliamperes.

The coil of your relay draws about half the current your power supply can deliver. It is no surprise that the voltage drops.

Capacitive droppers are dangerous. You must regard every point in your circuit as being at line voltage. Any point in the circuit can kill you – even the supposed low voltage side.

Since you had to ask where the problem is, it would appear that you don’t understand how a capacitive dropper works, which implies that you don’t understand why it is dangerous.

Put it down. Unplug it. Don’t touch it until you know why it is dangerous.

A capacitive dropper should never be operated in the open and should never be in a position for a person to touch any part of the circuit.shareedit  follow  flag answered yesterdayJRE39.6k88 gold badges7070 silver badges114114 bronze badgesadd a comment1

I can answer this question : Why once relay is connected voltage is dropping ? A relay requires a large amount of current to energize the coil and the coil can be modeled as a resistance , so when you are connecting a relay in series with other electronic components , the current passing through all of them would be high ( current drawn from a voltage source has a relation with the load and the voltage supplied by the source is constant) , and the voltage on the relay terminals would be : I * R(coil) , and it would be a high voltage also this what causes a voltage drop. In fact the voltage of the voltage supply never drops , the voltage on the thing connected in series with the relay is changing here (drops).enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereshareedit  follow  flagedited yesterdaySijith12922 bronze badgesanswered yesterdayMohamed Atef8311 silver badge88 bronze badges

  • 1Thanks for your answer can I connect a resistor to increase voltage – Sijith yesterday 
  • 1Could you please post a draw of your circuit diagram for further information ? It should not be perfect I mean , consider it a physics problem of resistors , graph it and upload it to get the maximum benefit . – Mohamed Atef yesterday
  • 1Image I added but it’s under moderator review – Sijith yesterday
  • electronics.stackexchange.com/a/525899/264404 – Sijith yesterday
  • 3You can edit, crop and rotate screen grabs too. – Transistor yesterday
  • @Sijith, I have edited, cropped, rotated, and screen grabbed for you. However, Imgur does not allow me to upload images too frequently. So I just upload it as an answer. By the way, Your schematic is ugly, and might damage EESE’s reputation.. Shall I, the photo/schematic moderator, use Circuit Lab and draw a pretty one for you? – tlfong01 yesterday   

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How come my capacitive dropper is not working?

pir 1


(1) Capacitor dropper is dangerous – DO NOT USE IT. To live longer, you can use a cheapie 12V wall wart.

(2) Capacitive dropper is only for small current apps, so is not good for hobbyist relays which usually takes up to 70mA.


(1) Capacitive Power Supply – Wikipedia

(2) Bob’s Capacitor Project – BobParadiso, 2015feb03

(3) Youtube on Bob’s Capacitor Project (5 stars; good explanation, including schematics, calculation of capacitor’s impedance) – 2015feb03

(4) Transformerless Power Supplies: Resistive and Capacitive (with Vout and power calculations) – Reston Condit, MicroChip, App Note AN954, 2004


Appendix A – Capacitive Dropper – Wikipedia

cap dropper

Appendix B – Songle Relay Spec

songle relay spec

shareeditdeleteflagedited 22 hours agoanswered 23 hours agotlfong011,10211 gold badge44 silver badges77 bronze badgesadd a comment

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