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Make an Ultra Simple High Voltage Generator


by Plasmana on September 16, 2008

Table of Contents

intro: Make an Ultra Simple High Voltage Generator . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

step 1: Get the things!! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

step 2: Wire up the transformer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

step 3: Connect to battery and have fun! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

step 4: Add a switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

step 5: Enjoy! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

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http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
intro: Make an Ultra Simple High Voltage Generator
Have you ever wanted to build a high voltage devices to make sparks like Tesla Coils, Marx Generator, and so on.. But find it too compacted or difficult to build?

Well, this instructable is for you! It can make create a few kilovolts of static-like sparks, and best of all... You can make it with only two things to make it, a battery and a
simple mains transformer!

Before you continue, you should know a little bit of information about transformers, click here to find out.

Image Notes Image Notes


1. Push button switch. 1. Yay! A static-like spark!
2. Transformer.
3. 9v battery.
4. Spark gap.

Image Notes
1. And another one...
2. Sorry for the blurry picture.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
step 1: Get the things!!
Like I said, you need only two things to make it, well, actually, three things - some wires.

9 volt battery.
Mains transformer
Wires

The mains transformer, you can find those in just about any mains powered electronic devices, like VCR's, stereos, and stuff like that, you can also use a wall wart if you
want. The best mains transformers you could ever use is found in digital alarm clocks.

Unfortunately, I burnt up all of my alarm clock transformers while ago... :( So I will have use a transformer from a VCR.

Image Notes Image Notes


1. 9v battery. 1. Burnt up alarm clock transformers.
2. Transformer from a VCR.

Image Notes
1. You can use wall warts if you want.
2. American wall wart.
3. British wall wart.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
step 2: Wire up the transformer
Okay, before we attach the wires to the transformer, you need to take a look at it first...

The two leads of the transformer that are connected to the mains power source, is the primary (the high voltage side), and the other two leads are the secondary (the low
voltage side).
We are going to connect the transformer in reversed, I mean the primary (the high voltage side) of the transformer becomes "secondary" and the secondary (the low
voltage side) becomes "primary".

So we are going to connect the battery on the primary (the low voltage side) of the transformer and we will get some sparks from the secondary (the high voltage side)!

Right, attach the wires to the transformer!

Image Notes Image Notes


1. I had already put some wires on a while ago. Those wire are going to be 1. More wires added.
connected to the battery. 2. Low voltage side.
3. High voltage side.

step 3: Connect to battery and have fun!


Connect either one wire from the primary (the low voltage side) to one terminal of the battery (don't worry, you can connect it any way round). Then bring two secondary
wires (the high voltage side) very close to each other (about 2 mm) and then tap the other primary wire to the other terminal of the battery.

And then, you should see sparks on the ends of the secondary wires, and you may hear a little "snap" too!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
Image Notes
1. Tap this end of the wire too.....
2. ....this battery terminal and.....
3. ....you will get a small sparks!
4. I put some tape on the the terminal to hold down the wire.

Image Notes
1. Yay! A static-like spark!

Image Notes
1. And another one...
2. Sorry for the blurry picture.

step 4: Add a switch


Instead of tapping the wire to the battery which can be a bit difficult, you can add a push-button (don't use the push-lock switch) switch into the circuit if you like...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
Image Notes
1. Push button switch.

Image Notes
1. Push button switch.
2. Transformer.
3. 9v battery.
4. Spark gap.

step 5: Enjoy!
Well, I hope you find this instructable useful to you, and if you need help or have some questions, or found a error, please make a comment! I like comment! :)

Image Notes
1. Yay! A static-like spark!

Image Notes
1. And another one...
2. Sorry for the blurry picture.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
Image Notes
1. Tesla coils, it is something that most of us want to build... (Credits to
Tesladownunder)

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Comments
50 comments Add Comment view all 150 comments

MiitheWii says: Dec 1, 2008. 7:00 PM REPLY


if you leave it on, will the spark stay on. i mean like if you were to hold down the switch instead of tapping it.

Berkin says: Apr 1, 2009. 8:07 AM REPLY


That only happens if the current going through the low-voltage side of the circuit is oscillating.
If it were a constant DC current, you would only get a momentary spark when the primary discharges into the secondary as soon as you release the
switch.

miiwii says: Jan 1, 2009. 5:16 PM REPLY


sorry did'nt think it through I do that occasionally

Elipsit says: Dec 3, 2008. 6:44 AM REPLY


No, that wouldn't work because the reason the transformer works is because of alternating current. Electricity is created by an magnetic field that
alternated back and forth causing an electron flow. if you just hook it up to the battery and leave the button on then it will create one high voltage pulse
from the initial magnetic field but since it doesn't change there will be no voltage continued after that first pulse. that is why you need AC power for
transformers.

I Suggested a 555 timer because it alternates and would be good to trip a transistor or relay to act like pressing a button really fast.

The primary coil in the transistor creates a reverse current feed back after you stop applying power to it so i keep frying the transistor even with a diode at
the end.

Does anyone know how to make this work better because it is a great idea to step up voltage.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
junits15 says: Dec 2, 2008. 2:15 PM REPLY
it actully wont, im not sure why, but ive built one and it dosnt waork that way.

uberdum05 says: Mar 22, 2009. 6:23 AM REPLY


I did this with a signal generator, it only outputs 8 V. The secondary was rated for 9 V, primary 230VAC. The output was 123 V, with VERY little current, I
tried hooking up a standard red LED up to it and it didn't light up.

wedjlok says: Feb 22, 2009. 12:53 AM REPLY


Another idea to use instead of a 555 is to wire, in series, a small DC motor with the battery to the transformer. These are the types of small motors that are
used in tape players, VCRs, etc.

This is also a method that is used with ignition coils, and acts to interrupt the voltage going into the coil, thereby pulsing it somewhat and getting a constant
pulsing output from the secondary.

Just a thought if you don't want to use a timer circuit, or just want to hook something up fast an easy.

pyrohaz says: Feb 16, 2009. 4:34 PM REPLY


I dont understand how you got such high voltages i mean if that transformer was a 120v to 12v transformer from a VCR, thats a ratio of 10 so at maximum
efficiency, the max voltage you could get is 90v from the dc pulse. Does this work on a collapsing field or something like that?

The 4th Doctor says: Feb 11, 2009. 10:21 PM REPLY


i wounder well this would work with a cfl ballast

ill post results (if there good)

The 4th Doctor says: Feb 11, 2009. 11:22 PM REPLY


The results weren't good yet i post them
(gasp)

burnt out another cfl ballast


i wounder what keeps poping in those things

ovan says: Feb 11, 2009. 9:06 PM REPLY


i did it but after taping the wire to the 9 volt battery a few times the sparks stopped, the battery hasn't been used.

joinaqd says: Jan 29, 2009. 5:17 PM REPLY


is there way to put a transistor so it continiously makes the spark without stopping?

Plasmana says: Feb 5, 2009. 9:39 AM REPLY


Yes, but it is only possible to use one transistor for a center tap transformer. And it works, but the transistor dies from voltage spikes very quickly and if I
use a diode to protect the transistor, the transformer does not generate high voltage spikes anymore, just a few hundred volts...

knoxarama says: Feb 8, 2009. 3:57 PM REPLY


i have a center tap transformer. I hooked it up and it doesn't work. i only get sparks from rubbing the wires, or get a light to shine for 1/10 of a second
until i have to press the switch again, but there is no spark.

joinaqd says: Feb 5, 2009. 5:25 PM REPLY


a few hundred volts is pretty good man!!!do you have the schematic?

cris1133 says: Feb 4, 2009. 5:42 PM REPLY


is there way way to make this work with a marx generator?

Plasmana says: Feb 5, 2009. 9:35 AM REPLY


Unfortunately not.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
the_mad_man says: Dec 10, 2008. 11:16 PM REPLY
i thought that transformers could only run on AC....

Plasmana says: Dec 11, 2008. 2:34 PM REPLY


That is true, transformers can run on AC and pulsed DC, but never continuous DC...

electfire says: Jan 31, 2009. 6:31 PM REPLY


actually they can run on continuous DC (kind of) as in audio amplifiers. btw I built an AM radio transmitter using only a audio transmitter and a crystal
oscillator and a 9 volt battery some day I will post it here.

Plasmana says: Feb 1, 2009. 6:31 AM REPLY


Haha, I had build an AM radio transmitter what you said, unfortunately, the crystal oscillator gives of 49MHz, not much to interfere the radio...

electfire says: Feb 4, 2009. 6:19 PM REPLY


i belive mine was 1.8 Khz I know it was some where in the AM spectrum

the_mad_man says: Dec 11, 2008. 9:34 PM REPLY


so if you want a HV supply you need a oscillator or some kind RC circuit in there

bactac says: Jan 12, 2009. 6:25 AM REPLY


This is an induction coil. I put a capacitor in parallel with the switch, and the output voltage was higher (I got the same spark of your pic using a 5V input and
setting a 1kV 12nF film capacitor)

Also, it would be possible to get even higher voltages if you put more transformers in series with other transformers, or am I wrong?

sparkfish says: Jan 29, 2009. 6:16 AM REPLY


You need to put the Primary circuits in Parallel and Series the Out puts

rippinblaise says: Jan 24, 2009. 10:48 PM REPLY


instead of tapping a button, use a 555 timer IC
it pulses and is adjustable with a knob/potentiometer
it's alot easier and can give you a fairly constant spark if you use the right circuit to flash very fast

Meigus says: Jan 24, 2009. 11:39 AM REPLY


I think I have a great tip for you:

Get one of those battery-powered handheld flourescent tubes (the kind they use for blacklights that see stains on fabric) and use that with the transformer.

Very dangerous, but the 6 volts in for the lamp thing generates an alternating 20-30 volt current out for the lamp. Just hook up the transformer, and if it's a
12-120 you'd get 200-300 volts, 12-240 you'd get 400-600, and even worse if it was like 3-120 volts. (end up being 1200-1500 volts) You can get the 12-120
or 12-240 probably at radioshack for less than $10 or cheaper online

Even easier, get a wall pluggable air ionizer (desk-top size). They're like 20 bucks or cheaper online, and they have a high voltage transformer in them, so
you can just plug it into a wall and get a constant spark out for whatever

enisdogru says: Oct 27, 2008. 6:12 PM REPLY


this is like a lightning, isn't it?
is there any harmful side of this gadget?
like an elektric shok for human body

Plasmana says: Oct 28, 2008. 3:24 PM REPLY


yeah, it is really a tiny lighting...

And it give a painful shock.

Berkin says: Jan 9, 2009. 8:41 AM REPLY


Try hooking up 2 9-volt batteries in parallel, then connecting that through the switch to the transformer... MUCH BIGGER SHOCK!!!!!!!!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
cd41 says: Jan 5, 2009. 5:55 AM REPLY
probably more than my 3v cell battery? probably nothing i couldn't handle i stuck my hand in an (turned on) light socket and that just made me have
to pee

Padlock says: Jan 6, 2009. 7:28 PM REPLY


I've seen a different version of this, but instead of pushing the button over and over again to get the pulsed DC, he used a file and a nail to create the pulsed
DC much easier. And at a higher frequency.

grantdevine says: Jan 5, 2009. 5:10 AM REPLY


Are these transformers in all elecrical appliances? Because I have a lamp with no base and an old microwave but no spare VCR's XD

narosere says: Jan 2, 2009. 7:52 PM REPLY


Can this work with a rotary transformer I got from an VCR. It has 5 pins and idk where to put the wires.

scorcher says: Dec 25, 2008. 5:55 AM REPLY


wich side is low and wich side is high?

scorcher says: Dec 27, 2008. 6:43 AM REPLY


plz respond i need help!

scorcher says: Dec 27, 2008. 6:56 AM REPLY


here is what it loks like

scorcher says: Jan 1, 2009. 5:54 PM REPLY


btw this came out of a tv with the wires already like this...

Kiteman says: Jan 1, 2009. 3:15 PM REPLY


Connect your battery to the side with the smallest number of turns of wire on the coil.

scorcher says: Jan 1, 2009. 5:54 PM REPLY


huh? i cant tell because theres paper around the coils, or am i understanding something wrong? sorry im better with mechanics than
electronics...

Kiteman says: Jan 2, 2009. 1:05 AM REPLY


In that case, I would simply try connecting it both ways round - you won't damage anything.

Hold or fix the wires from one side close together (just a millimetre or two), and touch the battery to the other wires. If you get a small
spark, you've got it the right way round.

scorcher says: Jan 2, 2009. 6:56 AM REPLY


ty it worked!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/
Plasmana says: Jan 7, 2009. 6:51 AM REPLY
Sorry that I did not help you, I did not have time! :-(

scorcher says: Jan 7, 2009. 3:39 PM REPLY


thats okay i got it working anyway! lol

Berkin says: Apr 1, 2009. 8:04 AM REPLY


If the primary and secondary coils are stacked on the same core, you could just look to see which coil is bigger. The bigger
coil would be the high-voltage end.

Kiteman says: Jan 2, 2009. 9:26 AM REPLY


You're welcome.

ushirmaharaj says: Dec 16, 2008. 10:13 AM REPLY


how many volts does it create and can I charge a leyden jar with it .

btw great instrutable

scorcher says: Dec 11, 2008. 2:53 PM REPLY


would this have a continuous spark or a quick pop?

plcrules says: Oct 4, 2008. 3:53 PM REPLY


hey can u explain to me how u put that on a marx generator? wat wires go were

atarian says: Dec 10, 2008. 7:19 PM REPLY


this does not create a high enough voltage for a marx generator

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http://www.instructables.com/id/Make_an_Ultra_Simple_High_Voltage_Generator/

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