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Extreme 2D Plasma Ball Experiments


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What started as a simple desire for a brighter plasma plate got carried away and I ended up building a terrifying lightning machine of death.

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So many people have asked me about the "lightning disk" that's seen in the background of many of my videos. The device is called luminglas and is essentially a 2D plasma globe. I thought it was pretty cool at first, but I soon realized that it needed some extreme mods to it to make it less boring.

I started with the easiest mod of them all by overvolting the driver of one of the plasma lights. It handled double the rated voltage like a champ but released its magic smoke when it took it higher.

Next I hooked it up to a desktop cockroftwalton voltage multiplier that's capable of huge DC voltages. Big thanks to Vidduley on YT as my multiplier is essentially a direct copy of his design. You should check him out, his knows his stuff when it comes to pulsed power/high voltage!!

The extreme DC shattered the disk, which was expected since lighting the lamp with DC means charge must flow through the glass. With AC from old flyback transformers though, I was able to light up the lamp without destroying it, but the effect still wasn't what I was looking for.

I decided I needed to build a tesla coil to get the effects I wanted. I decided to go with a vacuum tube build as surplus soviet tubes are cheap and I wanted the sword like sparks typical of a VTTC.

For parts I used a GU81M pentode as the switching element and a bunch of soviet doorknob capacitors for the tank, grid leak, and bypass capacitors. For a power supply I used two microwave oven transformers in a half wave voltage doubler setup and a third MOT (modified) to heat the cathode of the tube.

The results were impressive, but I found that sticking the plate on the coil prevented the coil from generating giant sparks. Trying to tune the coil with this dynamic topload was apparently impossible, especially since I can't just hook an oscilloscope up to the the coil/lamp configuration to determine it's electrical parameters. Maybe the magic in getting this configuration to work is something in the feedback/grid leak design, but I ended up build an adjustable spark gap mount for the coil to allow it to ring up and still light up the lamp.

The resulting fixture can remotely light up fluorescent tubes and light bulbs and do lots of other cool tricks. I love the sound of the 60Hz breakout too. It is certainly more exciting than the original product.

posted by taewheachonxi