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HIGH VOLTAGE EXPERIMENTS

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#21
When I was a young lad of 32 my hobby was electronics and starting to get into physics (via electricity). My qualifications at that time was Avionics, and had recently left the RAAF to pursue work as a electronic technician. Part of the job was to repair computer video display units (VDU). They were cathode ray tubes requiring about 10,000 volts DC. One lunchtime I was playing with this voltage to see how long an arc it can make (about 10 mm). My colleague, who was watching, mentioned about Nikola Tesla, a man I have never heard of. So I went to the library (1986) to learn about him. That is how I started this new hobby of High Voltage Experiments.

A lot of things happened since then. Basically, lost many experiments and photographs in a house fire (not due to experiments). Later, new experiments and collected data and photographs were stolen. Have no idea why or who. But today, nearly every mad scientist has a Tesla Coil to play with. You can buy them at a novelty shop in the disguise of a plasma lamp (more like looking inside a VDU).

Anyway, much of my playing around was to get better understanding of a few things not yet known. In the 1980's electricity was still somewhat a mystery. An arc was a way to examine it in a visual way. At that time, you could not buy High Voltage equipment generating a million volts, let alone one hundred thousand volts. So you had to make it yourself. A lot of the materials to build it required some knowledge of material properties such as resistance, conductance, capacitance, and dielectrics. From these, materials can be sought and utilized for making a very high voltage test equipment.

Much of the photographs to be shown came from parents and people who had a copy of the prints. Any illustrations that may be posted here are made for clarification of what the experiments entailed. Like all things in my life, God has always been waiting for me to abide to Him. Whenever I relinquished myself to Him He always provided the truth I needed to bring me closer to Him. Physics was just a means for bringing me closer to God. I will try and explain this closeness as this thread unfolds. This story is more worldly than spiritual, but it has helped me to let go of this world more than ever before. I may be involved in this world but I do not consider myself belonging to it. In other words, I can let go and walk away without feeling any loss of investment.

Below: Examining my first Tesla Coil apparatus. I did not want three months of work to blow-up, or burn-out, because of some silly oversight. Later that night, I switched the Tesla Coil on for the first time. (1986).

Interesting. If you are to get back to this work whats would be your maximum bet on voltage. 10Mv?
 
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#22
Interesting. If you are to get back to this work whats would be your maximum bet on voltage. 10Mv?
I have built nine Tesla Coils, one grew an arc over 2 meters (over 2 Mv) and that scared me because it was not expected. It was far too much for my purposes. That particular coil suddenly became useless because all its insulative properties became compromised. In other words, it would need rebuilding from scratch, and it already took me two months to build it. So, it went to the rubbish tip.

To answer your question. No. One million volts is more than plenty for experimental interests.
What I hope to do in the future is get back into painting, and paint elements of Truth to my understanding - it's safer. :wink
 
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#23
I have built nine Tesla Coils, one grew an arc over 2 meters (over 2 Mv) and that scared me because it was not expected. It was far too much for my purposes. That particular coil suddenly became useless because all its insulative properties became compromised. In other words, it would need rebuilding from scratch, and it already took me two months to build it. So, it went to the rubbish tip.

To answer your question. No. One million volts is more than plenty for experimental interests.
What I hope to do in the future is get back into painting, and paint elements of Truth to my understanding - it's safer. :wink
The insulation won't survive this. Such experiments are dreadfully dangerous. Glad you survived all risks. Safety first. Did you try using different metals for coils?



The Godly thunder (without coils) has been a passion...a no-go area tho
 
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#24
The insulation won't survive this. Such experiments are dreadfully dangerous. Glad you survived all risks. Safety first. Did you try using different metals for coils?
The Godly thunder (without coils) has been a passion...a no-go area tho
The voltages are very high, but the current (amperage) is very low. The neon transformer was 3.5 Amps at 240 volts = 840 Watts. So, 840 Watts divided by 1,000,000 volts = 0.00084 Amps (0.84 milliamps), not much current. Also the voltage was operating above human nervous system responses. So, it's fairly safe. Later I will explain a revelation for me about this.

In regards to different metals, I stuck with copper since it was cheap, very conductive and easy to manipulate.

I used to step out into a thunderstorm and lay on the ground to watch the activity. But after reading text books about lightning and its physics, I no longer do that. I am the same as you - a no-go area. However I always listen to them and count off the distances they are away from me (3 seconds = 1 kilometer, or 5 seconds = 1 mile) between light flash and hearing the thunder from it. By doing this I can determine where and what direction the storm is travelling without going outside to watch. However, these days we have real-time lightning trackers on the Internet.
 
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#26
Time for switch on.
At first switch-on nothing happened at the Tesla coil (TC). The Overload Spark Gap (OSG) was too close together, so all energy went there instead of the TC. After a few test adjustments, the OSG stopped working and the TC became continuously active.

Below: The big blur of light you see between the TC output terminals is actually a single arc. The photographic time exposure (about on second) recorded over 2,000 arcs. Each one adding heat to the air gap causing the following arc to track slightly on a different path.
You can see where the corona leakages are: secondary coil ends and the TC output cables. Corona and spark discharges uses any part of a surface which has a sharp edge or point to escape from.
Also, you can see the three small spark gaps through the welding glass of the Rotary Spark Gap casing.
A friend took this photograph, for I am standing behind the TC to see how close I can get to it. I stopped advancing towards it as I felt the skin on my face tingling (about a meter away).


Below: Here is a closer view using a fraction of a second exposure. The arc can be seen here.
Visually, you only see one arc moving around in a seemingly random motion. The sound of the arc is very similar to a welding machine (but a bit louder).


I used black and white film because in my research I discovered that some B&W film was also sensitive either side of the visual spectrum (Infrared and Ultraviolet). I was hoping to capture anything invisible as well, which I discovered later.
 
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#27
This TC is a bipolar type coil. Both ends are of equal potential alternatively (AC). When you just open the gap a little between the TC terminals, the arc cannot reach across the gap. Lots of streamers are reaching out to find a way across, but its just not happening. A 1/4 inch closer and an arc will reach across. The gap here is about 15 inches.
 
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#28
digital film wont get this? I'm sure a digital camera would. I get all manner of light that I have to edit out at times during long exposure. usually the case with big blue.
 
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#29
This TC is a bipolar type coil. Both ends are of equal potential alternatively (AC). When you just open the gap a little between the TC terminals, the arc cannot reach across the gap. Lots of streamers are reaching out to find a way across, but its just not happening. A 1/4 inch closer and an arc will reach across. The gap here is about 15 inches.
Hi Hermit, your thoughts on this process .. This guy met with DOD officials then died the same day ..
 
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#30
digital film wont get this? I'm sure a digital camera would. I get all manner of light that I have to edit out at times during long exposure. usually the case with big blue.
The TC photographs were done in 1986, long before digital cameras.
 
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#31
Hi Hermit, your thoughts on this process .. This guy met with DOD officials then died the same day .
Sorry, I did not watch the videos. I already know about them and the processes required. My past history was technical adviser for Alternative Science & Technology Research Organisation (ASTRO) 1988-1991. The tricky part is to get the exact ratios of oxygen and hydrogen gasses for combustion. The whole process of using pure water for utilizing oxygen and hydrogen gasses as a fuel is feasible. However, I will not discuss this as I am way behind current technology in this area.
 
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#33
After the first night of excitement I started making all sorts of TC terminal ends. Points, wire toroids of different sizes, globe, Jacobs Ladder, loose wires, fluorescent tube, etc. I don't have all photos of these terminals in action. So the ones that are missing I have made a drawing of how they worked.

Below: I used a metal globe of the Earth (stripped the paint of it) for one terminal and a wire toroid for the other. If you looked through the back of the wire toroid you would see a hollow cone of no corona. The colour of the corona is electric blue.


Below: Left. Two wire toroids, the outcome would look similar to above but of a cylinder shape corona.
Right-top. A wire cross with ends bent towards the globe. the images shows lots of intermittent arcing. The very small corona coming off the wires, like in Kirlian Photography, arises from imperfections in the smoothness of the wire. Corona leaks from any pointed surfaces, even from a scratch.
Right-bottom: Globe at left terminal and fine wire from a multi-strand cable. Here you can see that the wire ends have the most corona, due to closeness to globe.
 

JohnDB

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#34
I used a Jacob's Ladder once to test different materials for insulating properties against high voltage.

Electrical tape is only good for 600 volts.
Rubber linerless tape is much better. (But only when multiple layers are used without "bricking" the layers)
 
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#36
Here is the Jacob's Ladder I used. I was into archery at the time and used two aluminium arrow shafts for the verticals.



In this experiment I opened the ladder wide enough to stop an arc from bridging the gap. The vertical rods then became a sort of transmitting antenna. The field generated was enough to light a fluorescent tube (unconnected). It was like a Jeti saber light. The interesting thing was that your hand acted like an earth and you could blank out certain portions of the tube light. The illustration shown has the centre portion blanked out. The partial halo was not visible by the naked eye, but was developed on the B&W film. I assume it was in the ultraviolet bandwidth.

Now, here is a revelation that I got from the photograph, a source of light not coming from a single point, like a heated element. Similar to a fluorescent tube, but exciting a gas, such as nitrogen, to give off photons. If this could be done, then the air between two electrodes would light up. Imagine two opposing walls of a room were electrodes, the air in the room would be lit. Meaning, a shadowless light. Even the air in you ear would be lit. It would be a great asset for such areas where you need to see everything, like in surgery.

Those unfamiliar with a Jacob's Ladder, this is how they work: (got this of the Internet).


An arc is first established across the shortest distance between the vertical wires. As the air around the arc heats up, the heated air rises and so too does the arc. The arc rises to a point where it cannot bridge across the gap anymore and stops arcing. Instantly it bridges across the shortest gap again, and the whole process starts over.
 

JohnDB

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#37
Using insulating sticks of material as a pair of tongs I placed items in between the electrodes. It would either arc or not through the materials placed between.
 
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#38
Using insulating sticks of material as a pair of tongs I placed items in between the electrodes. It would either arc or not through the materials placed between.
Thanks, but why a Jacob's Ladder? How did you measure the voltage, by instrumentation or by measuring the arc gap distance?
 
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JohnDB

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#39
Thanks, but why a Jacob's Ladder? How did you measure the voltage, by instrumentation of by measuring the arc gap distance?
No... nothing that scientific or accurate.
We used a ballast out of a neon sign ( a little more ummph) which put out 1,100 or 11,000 volts (can't remember)
We used high voltage wire out of the ballast and brass welding rods for electrodes. (They worked the best)
Also used a big red start/stop button wired open that would engage the power when held down.
So...yeah. nothing that extensively built.
 
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#40
Here is another experiment which brought a lot of heartache, because I could not find a solution, mainly due to lack of knowledge.

This set-up simulated lightning strikes. It worked at intermittent flashes between electrode and globe. My goal was to see it I could use a sort of capacitance to store any of the energy discharged from the flash. The idea was to see how one could capture and store the energy from a lightning strike. I read somewhere that a two second lightening strike could run all the washing machines in an average American town for over a month. So this has been a long term, unsolved problem, for many scientists.