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Saturday, April 23, 2011

More High Voltage News From The Garage

Like the title says this week I have spent some quality time blowing fuses and transistors in the garage. Last week as I was setting up an experiment with my high voltage power supply (HERE is a link) my not so robust power supply busted. There was nothing spectacular about it going bad it just stopped working. The transistor that I was using to drive the flyback transformer died. I messed around a bit trying to get the transformer working using Compact Fluorescent Light ballasts but that didn't work too well either.

My Humble Garage Laboratory
Anyway after getting another flyback transformer (two is better than one) and messing around with various circuits and hand wound windings I got something to work reliably - for now. That took up most of my free time this week so I don't have any fancy videos or crazy experiments to write about just yet. Suffice it to say that I can get high voltage and I didn't electrocute myself or knock out power to half the city (again). Yes I actually did take down a small part of the power grid years ago by accident but that was a long time ago!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ionocraft Lifter: Study of Airflow Around the Electrodes

Doesn't the title of this post sound all scientific and official?! Well it's just me messing around in my garage again, nothing too scientific about it. Last week HERE I wrote about an experiment that I wanted to try with the Ionocraft "Anti Gravity" Lifter that I built. Click on the above link to read more about it... But as I mentioned I wanted to put that device in my Schlieren setup and look at any airflow patterns that might be happening around and between the electrodes. Last week I did just that and I made a video to show the results. To backtrack a bit and explain what this is all about the Lifters or Ionocrafts are devices that some say create anti-gravity and fly around. Does anti-gravity exist or doesn't it? There seems to be much debate. I'm not convinced by either side so I thought I'd throw my hat in the debate ring and look into it myself.

The first thing that I did was build a Ionocraft with instruction that I got off the web from THIS site by Jean-Louis Naudin. Once I had done that I put it in my home made Schlieren setup to look for any air currents around the electrodes. Those interested in Schlieren can read about it by looking at my Schlieren Topic or reading this post HERE for details on the setup I am using. Below is a picture of what I built. The top picture is the Ionocraft and the lower picture is a time lapse long exposure of it powered up. I couldn't see the purple corona, only after taking the long exposure 'night shot' with my camera in what appeared to be total darkness was it visible.

TOP: Ionocraft Bottom: Long exposure pic

Below are some pictures of what I saw while this was operating in front of the Schlieren mirror. It is clear that there is a lot of air flowing around the high voltage upper electrode wire and also in the surrounding area.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

High Voltage Corona "Ion Wind"

Last week I wrote about a power supply that I built from a Dell PC monitor. This week I did a little bit more with the power supply and performed a couple of experiments. The first thing that I did this week was build a 555 timer driver circuit to switch the transistor that is driving the high voltage coil. That didn't work very well at all. The results that I got were not as good as running the transistor from feedback from the coil. I did make one modification to the circuit that I posted last week and that was changing which tap was used to provide the feedback. More about that later...
The ultimate goal here is to build a "ionic lifter", "ioncraft" or "anti-gravity lifter" that you can see on the internet be googling those words. These devices are not Anti-Gravity or anything close but rather just generate a thrust because of an effect produced by a high voltage. I'm not as interested in the lifter itself (although those are cool) as I am in looking at the airflow around the lifter itself. If you are really interested in Ion Lifters check out last weeks post HERE and the links I provided. Time for a cool picture:
Ioncraft Long Exposure Photo. I couldn't see the corona.
The first thing that I decided to do in investigating the airflow was to build a lifter. The picture above is what I built and you can see the high voltage corona 'curtains' coming down from a thin wire to the lower electrodes. Here is a picture of what this thing actually looks like.
Home Made Ioncraft Lifter
I built this according to plans that I found on the internet HERE so if you are interested in the details follow the link. It's really just tin foil and balsa wood.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A homemade high voltage power supply

The last couple of weeks I have been doing some Schlieren photography with high voltage arcs and sparks. For some of these I used a high frequency AC supply that I picked up out of the garbage. For other experiments I built a high voltage DC power supply from a Dell E551 PC monitor (CRT type) that I saved from the garbage. CRT monitors and televisions have a flyback transformer that steps up a voltage and it usually does it at a high frequency. Click on the above Wikipedia link if you want to know more about them.
Before I go any farther let me say that CRT's, monitors and televisions have HIGH VOLTAGES in them and can retain the high voltage long after they are turned off and unplugged. DON'T TAKE ONE APART unless you know what you are doing. This blog is just "about the things I am doing" and if not meant to be instructions for you to do the same things. Proceed at your own risk if you decide to do this (or anything else) yourself. Read THIS (scroll down to the orange text) if you are not sure about what I just wrote!
Really cool electric arc from my (hacked together) power supply!
The first thing that I did after taking the transformer out of the monitor is I went on the web and looked for information about these kinds of transformers. There is a lot of information out there so have a look for yourself. I'm not an expert and I don't want to get shocked! It turns out there is a really simple way to drive one of these transformers with just a couple of resistors and a transistor. Read what THIS site has to say to get an idea of what I am talking about. Be sure to read the disclaimer at the bottom of the page linked to above - it applies to my blog as well :-)