My High Voltage Generator generating 10,000 Volts !!
The heart of the high voltage generator is the flyback transformer taken from an old vacuum tube TV. A variable frequency oscillator (frequency 5-25 KHz) is used to switch the power transistor (2N3773). The transistor drives a 10 turn hand-wound primary of the flyback transformer (seen in the picture). A very high voltage is obtained at the secondary of the flyback transformer. The output voltage can be increased by increasing the air-gap in flyback core.
Due to very high electric field between the output terminals, breakdown of air occurs generating a plasma (ionized gas). For air its color is whitish-pink, associated with the discharge of Nitrogen (main component of air). Applying NaCl (salt) at the output terminals, a bright yellow-orange colored arc is obtained due to discharge of Na (see last picture).
The output voltage can be measured approximately by measuring the arc length in air using spheres of known radius as output terminals.
Jacob's Ladder is simply a high voltage source connected to a pair of rods arranged in a narrow 'V' configuration on an insulated support. The arc starts at the bottom (minimum distance ==> maximum Electric Field) and due to the fact that hot air rises, tends to move up the diverging rods until they are too far apart for the voltage provided by the power source.
The plasma globe was made by connecting the high voltage supply to an ordinary bulb. As a bulb has very low pressure inside, very long arcs can be obtained inside the bulb. Various different types of effects are observed with different switching frequencies and changing air-gap of flyback core.
This page was last updated 04/28/07