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Electric arc generator : DIY Experiments [#6] Plasma tweeter

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• Extracts of the video :

Hi everyone, today we are going to show you our electric-arc generator.

Before anything else, little security point. As you know, we usually enjoy explaining to you how to reproduce our DIY projects. Today, we will show you how the experiment works physics-wise, but we will not show you how to reproduce it, as we strongly recommend you, not to do it at home.

Don't mess with high-voltage!

So, here is the program for this DIY experiment: produce frightening electric-arcs, make singing an arc, cause some damages with high-voltage and understand how it works. And a couple of bonuses at the end of the video.

To make that happen, we’ve created a system which convert 12V to more than 100.000V.

As you can see, we have two adjustment knob; with this one, we can change the frequency and by using that one we can change, what we call, the « duty cycle ». We will explain afterwards what it refers to.

Let's go!

Now, we are going to use high-voltage to make a Jacob's Ladder.

Now we are going to do much better than just making an electric-arc, we are going to transform it in a loud speaker.
To make that happen, we have to modulate the electric-arc's amplitude with the music. To that extent, we added an ad hoc plug on the printed circuit.


Let's try that with a synthesizer, that’s cool ‘cause the sound is louder.

Of course, we can't have the sound quality of a load speaker with an electric-arc. But, actually, it might be great if the electric-arc really made an «electric» sound.

The functioning is a bit different as it is based on the binary principle, everything or nothing. We have modified a music in such a way that it is only made of positive and negative pulses. From that point on, the system will light or turn off the electric-arc.

Using that method, the sound is really loud!

Now we are going to see the effects of high-voltage on different materials.

We will start the tests using tap water...without forgetting to take some precautions.

Test with some salt.

Metal-fusion test with the electric-arc's high temperature.

We are briefly going to show you how our electric-arc generator works, but we are not going to give you a detailed diagram...we wouldn’t want someone to get hurt by trying this.

Our generator consists of three parts:
An oscillator, working from a component called « 555 timer ».
There is a mosfet transistor which strongly amplifies impulses. And a flyback transformer which increases the voltage.

That type of transformer can be found in cathode-ray tube televisions. As their internal winding is really dense, they greatly multiply the inlet voltage. Also, they do not work with direct current but with pulses.

To create those pulses, we made a circuit allowing us to separately modify the frequency, which is the number of time a pattern of impulses repeats itself each second, and the « duty cycle », in other words, the relation between the activated time and the total time of each pattern.

We built the printed circuit so that we could change the frequency from 18 to 22 Khz, and the duty cycle from 10 to 90 percent.

The printed circuit is not essential, a breadboard or just to weld the components together could do the trick.

As a bonus, we will try to pick up the electromagnetic waves our system produced, while playing binary music.

even though we emit a 20kHz frequency, we will be able to receive harmonics, which are multiples of the frequency, by using the amplitude modulation.

The radio set is now ready to receive the music, and it works!

And voilà! We hope you enjoyed this video! See you next time!

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