DIY Overclocked Plasma Globe. 2500V to a MILLION volts

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I recently got a deal on some plasma
globes on eBay and while they are pretty neat I feel like with the right
modifications they could be a lot cooler now I have a general rule that before I
go tearing into stuff I like to at least try the original product. now what can
you do with a plasma globe? well for one you put your hand on it like this you get a
little arc that goes up to your hand it’s pretty cool but I mean honestly
this isn’t gonna keep me entertained for that long like the thing isn’t even a
fire hazard. is that too much to ask for consumer electronics? now luckily this
whole fire hazard issue can be simply solved with just a roll of aluminum foil.
but first a warning. the craziness that is probably about to unfold over the
next 10 minutes or so was done completely for educational purposes in
fact if you were to try any of this stuff at home you’d probably die so yeah
please don’t do this home. a piece of aluminum foil on top capacitively
couples to that inner electrode and now you can see it can draw more current. now it can even pull a little arc from the surface which which is pretty nifty no I wonder
what it feels like on my finger ooh it actually tickles oh wow it’s cool
drawing an arc from my finger all right now it’s time for a more important test
and that’s whether it can burn stuff so here I have a match and hmm doesn’t seem
to be doing anything so I covered the match and aluminum foil that way the
foil touches me and can complete the circuit through ground so let’s see if it
lights the match is arcing…not quite lighting it. -one
eternity later- yes there it goes sweet that was actually pretty cool. all right
now I’m bored this thing needs a lot more power so I’m gonna tear it apart. so I
went ahead and torn out that plasma globe and what can I say, I’m not
impressed with this driver I feel like Nikola Tesla who actually
invented the plasma globe would be rolling in his grave if he saw this driver like
he was doing this stuff over a hundred years ago and his stuff was way better
than this puny little thing. if you go on Google and look up how to make a
high-voltage circuit this is literally gonna be one of the first results. it’s
like child’s play in the realm of high voltage electronics but regardless this
thing works by using this 555 timer here to generate a square
wave signal to this power transistor then this feeds into this flyback transformer
where the rapidly changing currents causes a relatively high voltage to be
produced and then it’s fed through this long lead here into the plasma globe so
how do we make this thing stronger? well the dumb way would be to just feed
higher voltage into the thing but that’s probably just gonna blow the timer
before anything interesting happens so I guess the next best option is to a feed
a higher voltage into just that transistor itself or even better use
this transistor as an amplifier to feed an even bigger transistor and then dump even higher higher voltages into that alrighty so this is what the new setup
looks like so I start by feeding the output of this scariac here into this
IQ level 500 AC to DC converter and from that that feeds into this MOSFET here
which is the main switching component of the new driver and it’s funny because
this this power transistor here that was originally feeding the flyback
transformer is now acting as just a little amplifier that powers the gate of
this MOSFET so yeah let’s give this thing a try man
I feel like this scene that’s such a great job of giving off the essence of
hobby electronics so let’s dive right into this because what could possibly go
wrong. so let’s start feeling a little bit in the voltage there and hmm oh boy
over what’s going on there? so apparently due to my sloppy wiring I ended up
frying this little power transistor it’s not like it really mattered in the first
place so now I just have the output of the 555 directly driving the gate of
that MOSFET so let’s give this another go
oh sweet Oh something broke. did ir really fry that easily? no it’s trying to go. oh well look at that I love when that
happens It let out the magic smoke this project
has been a great reminder of how much I suck at electronics so I’m gonna say
screw this driver and instead uses a ZVS driver which is
much better and also use a flyback transformer that’s at least ten times
bigger. not even the slightest glow? so that’s how it’s gonna be is it? you know
I guess it wasn’t really the plasma Globe’s fault it’s probably the built-in
rectifier inside that flyback transformer that’s preventing me from
getting nice arcs in the globe. alright screw this. I’m breaking out my massively
over driven car ignition coils because if this doesn’t do it I don’t know what
will. all right let’s give this thing a try
well it’s certainly better the noise is definitely an added bonus but I still can’t say I’m that impressed
like there weren’t even arc shooting out of the glass I think I can still do a
lot better. now I’m sure if I were to drive this coils even harder I can make
the globe a little bit brighter but really at that point I’m just grasping for
straws because what I really want is to draw the maximum of power I can possibly
get from my electrical socket. I want giant arcs of electricity to shoot
directly out of the glass. I want a million volts to come from my driver to
feed into the globe. now how does somebody like me generate on a million
volts? well in fact I don’t need fancy IGBTs or field effect transistors, in
fact I don’t need silicon at all. what I do need are microwave ovens. microwaves
are full of parts that are useful for the electronics hobbyists
and can be sourced for cheap or even sometimes free so let’s tear this thing
down. now I should point out that nobody without extensive electronics experience should ever go poking around in a microwave oven reason being you touch the output of
this while it’s live you’re dead you touch this without discharging it first
you’re dead you break this and inhale the dust and before long beryliosis comes
creeping in slowly suffocating you and sucking every bit of life out of you
until finally you’re dead anyway the main thing that I’m looking for is this
transformer here now unfortunately it only does a little over 2,000 volts but
luckily I can string a few of them together for higher voltages but I’m
going to need more microwaves I need transformers with relatively
similar electrical characteristics that way they don’t fight each other when
chained together now I found four that match each other quite nicely and I
wired the secondaries in series in the primaries in parallel and of course
accounting for phasing now if you try to chain any more than four of these
together then the voltage is just going to blow through the windings on the
secondary but even at just four for this can be an issue so to prevent this I mounted
them in these ammo cans here and then I submerged them in mineral oil. now this
arrangement gives a voltage about ten thousand volts which is certainly impressive but off by a factor of 100 of what we actually want. so now what? this is where we get to look back at the ideas of Nikola Tesla uhhh….not that one. and definitely not that one he didn’t
even work on that. can we just stop it with this whole free energy conspiracy
already? ah yes that one. the magnifying transmitter. or even better the
modern-day equivalent which is the aptly named Tesla coil the Tesla coil is a
type of step-up transformer in which the primary and secondary sites form tank
circuits and they’re tuned so that they resonate the same frequency they’re
capable of generating extreme voltages well in excess of a million volts now
luckily many of the materials needed for a Tesla coil can actually be found at a
hardware store. for my primary coil I used 3/8 inch copper refrigeration tubing as
the conductor now a wide conductor is really important because the skin effect
makes thinner wire quite resistive at radio frequencies
I made some mounts out of acrylic to hold the primary windings in place and
then mounted it here on this coffee table. on the primary side I needed a
tank capacitor rated for the grueling high voltage high current operating
conditions of a multi kilowatt Tesla coil but off the shelf these are very
expensive now some people make their own
capacitors out of things like beer bottles and foil but these tend to be
quite lossy I ended up meeting the middle by
building a bank of smaller pulse capacitors which gives great performance
at a much lower cost. for the secondary side I needed a coil with over a
thousand turns now I start a winding one by hand but without access to a lathe
this task turned out to be quite painstaking so I ended up just giving in
and buying a fully wound coil on ebay for 60 bucks
four and a half inches wide 22 inches tall and 1,200 turns now I stuck a small
top load from a much less awesome Tesla coil on top to increase the capacitance
on the secondary side. the final piece of hardware to add was something to switch
the primary tank circuit at well over 100 times per second while also allowing
the capacitor bank to charge it before firing. now I don’t even want to know the
cost of transistors actually rated for something like this so I ended up
following the path of many other Tesla coilers of the past and built an
asynchronous rotary spark gap. I started with the absolute cheapest angle grinder
I could find which turned out to be a fourteen dollar unit from Harbor Freight.
now for the spinning disk I use bakelite because it’s both a great electrical
insulator and it’s also tolerant of high temperatures so I cut into something
close to a circle and yeah I was never quite the arts-and-crafts kind of guy. so
I stuck it on a bench grinder and then ran it against a file and after a few
lungfuls of formaldehyde later I had a nice circular disk. i mounted brass acorn
nuts as the flying electrodes and then used brass bolts for the stationary
electrodes now when the angle grinder spins the electrodes into place the
10,000 volts jumps the gap and allows the primary circuit to oscillate. now
when the gap fires it is incredibly loud nearly deafening. it’s funny because
there’s probably even a little bit of laser emission coming off that gap
considering the ambient nitrogen that’s getting zapped by the high voltage. and
here is the completed driver it definitely looks terrifying. I went
ahead and added some warning stickers there just to keep people safe then also
one thing I want to point out is I added ten of these microwave oven capacitors
here to act as a capacitors ballast and then over here I have my spark gap
mountain and there’s my capacitor bank so yeah I guess we’re ready to try this
thing out now first I want to test this Tesla coil without the plasma globe on
top that way it can compare it to the original plasma globe driver because the
plasma globe driver doesn’t even make any visible Corona when it’s ran in open
air. so let’s see if this Tesla is any different. all right here we go.
man why don’t we even do this kind of stuff? it’s hard to convey just how loud that
spark actually is so the new plasma globe driver clearly
works and actually produces sparks in midair unlike the old driver but I guess
that was expected considering this new driver draws 350 times as much power as
the old one. it’s time to test this driver with the plasma globe attached. i added this nail here so i can feed the output of the coil directly into the
globe but in hindsight I should have used iron for this because iron has a
very high magnetic permeability so it’s equivalent resistance due to the skin effect
it’s going to cause very high losses but truth be told I’m actually shooting
this part after the fact and I’ve already blown up on my plasma globes so there now it’s art. all right here we go
let’s hope it doesn’t explode on the very first run check out those amazing patterns but
still though it’s not shooting arcs out of the glass but I think I can fix this.
just like I did earlier I’m gonna stick some aluminum foil on top that way it
capacitively couples to the top of the coil and it’s funny because at these
frequencies whatever capacitance that this arrangement has is going to have an
incredibly low impedance so the arc should just shoot straight through the
globe ah yes there’s that wonderful arc that I
was after it shoots two feet out of the top of the glove which i think is pretty
impressive but maybe could we do even better if we add more foil to the thing?
I used aluminum tape this time instead of foil because it sticks to the sides
better now this time I actually have five pieces as opposed to one so let’s
see how this thing performs you know it’s funny you’d think after
all the time I just spent building this new driver I would have remembered to
actually attach the plasma globe to the thing but as they say science can’t move
forward without breaking some omelets or whatever
I stuck another globe on the driver and this time used some zip ties to keep it
held down now for my next experiment I want to see if I could use this thing to
remotely power up another plasma globe try doing that with an off-the-shelf
plasma club. let’s give that a try with some fluorescent tube lights aka the
much less awesome plasma globe equivalent now I know what you want to ask. is
the new plasma globe of fire hazard? well let’s test it with some very special
balloons amazingly for all the experiments you
just saw I was only running the power supply at half the power I built it for
but even so the voltage it generates is so high that arcs back to itself now on
the left it hit the ground you strike rail but that’s fine because that’s what
it’s meant for but on the right the strike came back and hit the secondary
coil and it’s only going to take a few more of those to completely destroy it
so in future videos I’ll be sure to add a much bigger top load and then see if I
can pull off doubling the input power now I feel like I’m going to get some
complaints about the title of this video because my plasma globe was just over
volted now overclocked right? well technically was overclocked and no it
can’t run Crysis but the original driver had a frequency of 23 kilohertz and the
new one has a frequency of 265 kilohertz so it’s actually been
overclocked by a factor of more than 10 but yeah it was totally clickbait. all
right so that’s enough insanity for today and I actually think this is gonna
be my longest video yet so if you actually watch the entire thing I’m
pretty impressed but I first I’d love to give a big thing you tell my patrons on
patreon because if it weren’t for all your generous support I want to be making
videos for YouTube anymore so a big THANK YOU to you guys in fact I’m gonna
let you guys see this video first before I make it public anywhere else and uh
yeah you guys should also check out my Instagram page because I post a lot of
project updates there before you see them anywhere else so there’s a link in
the description be sure to check that out and yeah until the next time stay
safe and happy lazing

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