Extreme 2D Plasma Ball Experiments


if you’ve watched any of my videos over the
past couple years you’ve probably noticed this thing the background of my
old shop in fact I think more people have asked me about this thing tan
pretty much anything else I’ve shown. so what is it? well the device is called
luminglass and it’s basically just a two-dimensional plasma globe. now I will
admit I was pretty amazed with it when I first got it I mean it does make some
pretty cool patterns and even sends a little streamer to your finger but honestly
I got bored of it really quickly I mean it doesn’t even hurt me when I
touch it and besides it can’t ignite the air around it on fire I think I need
something much more extreme so gonna make some heavy modifications to it. now
before I go on I should warn you that all the crazy stuff that’s about to go
down was done completely for educational purposes now you definitely shouldn’t
try any of this stuff at home because by the time I’m done with this thing it’s
gonna be transformed from a simple office decoration to a terrifying
but educational lightning machine of death. now I should at least give you
guys a demo of the original product before I start tearing them down so
luminglas comes in a bunch of different sizes and colors there’s blue
ones and green ones there’s miniature ones and there’s even
these really cringey ones so how do these things even work well not
surprisingly it’s very similar to a plasma globe in a plasma globe the
inside is pumped down to vacuum and then back filled with a tiny amount of noble
gas mixture then that’s hit with a high frequency AC which excites the gas that
makes it glow now the 2D version is different in that the glow you see isn’t
directly coming from the gas itself now if you look closely you can see the
plate is filled with a bunch of tiny beads that are actually dyed with
fluorescent compounds now the arc doesn’t actually go through these beads
instead of weaves around them and makes them glow from the small amount of UV
light it produces alright so what can you even do with it
well touching the play is pretty nifty because it draws a little arc of
electricity to your finger but also you can adjust the audio sensitivity on it
that way it moves around when I talk or even in unison to music it can also do all the classic plasma
globe tricks like wirelessly lighting up CFLs and neon indicator lights if I
stick some aluminum foil on top I can even use the arc produced to tattoo
little marks into my finger well that was quite unpleasant so basically if
you’re just looking for a cool office decoration then this thing actually fits
the bill quite nicely but if you’re like me you want to destroy stuff with the
awesome power of electromagnetism well then this just isn’t going to cut it. but
luckily I can change that all right so I’ve tore down a couple of these units
to see what’s inside now the drivers are a little bit different but the general
concept is still the same there’s a little flyback transformer here that’s
used to excite the gas mixture in the plate then some transistors here are
used to switch power to the Transformer’s primary coil now there’s even a little
microphone here so the NSA can spy on you now as far as plasma generating
circuits go these ones are pretty lame I mean you probably won’t even die if you
touch the raw output of this thing. huh I wonder what happens if I run this thing
with nothing attached oh well that sucks let’s give that another go with some
noble gas vials okay so so at least it works but honestly it’s still not very
exciting but really I guess that’s expected since this whole circuit only
draws about 10 watts now if I was lead engineer on this project, of which I’m
totally unqualified for, I would design this thing use the max amount of power
available on a typical household outlet cuz let’s be honest anything less than
that is a wasted opportunity alright so how do I make it better well I know it’s
that on my pimp light that even though it only runs off as six volts the
components inside are actually rated to a minimum of 15 so that means if we
disregard all the other ratings like current or breakdown voltage in the
transformer secondary then this thing was basically made for higher
voltages so that’s what I’m gonna feed it alright this is what the testing
setup looks like so I start by feeding power into this variac here which
gives me an adjustable AC voltage and I send this over here to this AC to DC
converter from that I feed it into the plasma lamp there so yeah let’s give
this thing a try and here we go alright so my setup isn’t a total failure let’s
bring it up to its original voltage okay so that’s about where it’s supposed to
be run I swear it already looks brighter I’m
gonna keep taking it up okay yeah it’s definitely getting brighter let’s keep
going and see what happens oh man is getting so bright Wow look at
all those crazy patterns that’s amazing can it go even higher oh no there it is!
oh man that was so awesome gosh shame on the engineers for not giving this the
power supply it deserves that was so much cooler so how do I put a bunch more
power through one of these things without everything breaking? well I think
the most logical way would be to leave the control circuitry intact and then
swap out components on the switching side that way you could feed that side
from a higher voltage source but you know what
that sounds incredibly boring so instead I’m gonna try using one of my own high
voltage sources but which one should I use? I just have so many awesome and
deadly power supplies that it’s hard to pick just one so I think what I’m gonna
do is revisit the classic Westinghouse vs. Edison debate let’s see whether DC
or AC is better at powering one of these fixtures let’s start with DC so recently
I’ve been trying to put together a giant voltage multiplier tower for some
insane DC voltages as I have some really awesome experiments in mind oh wow
that’s so cool now I’ve had more failures than I’d like
to admit but here’s my best prototype so far. lt can do over a hundred thousand
volts DC and the design is basically a verbatim copy of youtube user Vidduley his design is unusual in that there is
no output resistor so you get these intense pulses instead of a continuous
arc now I would have thought this would just blow all the diodes in an
instant I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised on how long this thing has
lasted alright so now I have the output of the multiplier feeding directly into
the center of the fixture now let’s see what happens when I hit it with a
hundred kV alright here we go whoa oh wow that’s freaking crazy that looks way
cooler than the original product yikes it looks like there’s an arc
trying to go through the glass there I better isolate this thing from ground
better this nice and stable platform oughta do the trick
let’s give that another go so unfortunately that platform did not last
long enough to be tested so I guess we have to break out
another fixture oh I definitely don’t like the sound of that the arc is
definitely favoring that hot spot in the corner yeah it’s definitely cracked must
have failed from all that electrostatic pressure
it still works but not for long oh you have to admit it is pretty amazing
seeing all that charge bleed out well might as well see what happens if I
stick a ground lead close to the fixture yeah I think that’s about all she wrote
on this lamp sorry Edison but DC just isn’t the right
choice here you see with AC you can transmit power through an insulator like
glass without pushing electrons where they don’t want to go thank you for
teaching us little lamp your sacrifices are not in vain gosh learning is fun in
terms of AC power supplies I have a lot of choices
I think something that’s high frequency is my best bet now I do have a bunch of
these antique flybacks from the 40s that should be a good choice I mounted a
pair of fly backs inside this box then submerged them in oil I also wound on my
own primary so I could drive them with ZVS drivers now this setup is capable of
making some pretty cool arcs all right let’s see how well this setup drives a
luminglas fixture well that uh that isn’t very impressive let me try raising
the voltage ah that’s better at least it’s brighter than what it was
originally oh wow listen to that hiss when I bring
the screwdriver to the glass let’s take it a bit higher hmm well that’s uh
that’s the highest I can go without blowing my driver but it really isn’t as
impressive as I’d hoped gosh the circuit isn’t even drawing that
much power this power supply is doing tens of thousands of volts it has the
ability to deliver a lot of current I guess the impedance of these fixtures
is just too high to allow that to happen hmm how do we fix this this is where
Tesla joins the debate as his resonantt air core transformers take AC to a whole
different level not only can they generate gigantic voltages but the high
frequency output just solve this whole impedence issue so I think I’m gonna build a Tesla
coil cuz let’s be honest Tesla coils are always the solution back when I
overclocked a plasma globe I built a spark gap Tesla coil that did the job
pretty nicely although this time I want to make something that’s a bit more
portable and also has some more control options so I guess the first thing I
have to decide is how I want to switch power to the primary side of the circuit
transistor technology has come so far in recent years and believe it or not this
little IGBT is capable of delivering 60 amps at 650 volts I won’t be using it
though because Soviet military surplus is way cooler this right here is the GU
81 M generating pentode from the Soviet Union it’s meant for use in some big RF
amplifiers but it should make a good active switching element in Tesla coil
so why do I pick this tube over all the others on the market? it was cheap. so
how do I use this to make a Tesla coil well the tube acts as a switch to drive
the transformer at its resonant frequency it’s kind of like a ye olde
transistor in that sense with five electrodes
now the circuit requires a lot of capacitors and not just any capacitors
will do but luckily I scored a bunch of really nice Soviet RF capacitors on eBay
that probably won’t explode when using the circuit so how do I provide power to
this thing for the supply I need a few thousand volts at a scary amount of
current so you can probably guess what happens next here I collected microwave
ovens from near and far and dumpsters and thrift shops even from students who
take my jiu jitsu class I think anybody who knows me personally knows I’m always
willing to accept old microwaves for my projects I sorted my transformers and
found a nice matching pair to run in parallel in a half wave voltage doubler
setup in fact the only silicon in this entire circuit will be the doubler diode
instead of buying an expensive high-voltage high-current rectifier i
just chained together a bunch of 10A10 diodes and then potted them in wax
now I also needed a bunch of capacitors for the doubler so I robbed caps from
seven microwaves for this since these vacuum
tubes work by thermionic emission I need something to heat the cathode so it can
spit off electrons now I ended up using yet another microwave transformer for
this but this time I need a low-voltage high-current so I drilled out the
secondary and then wound on my own with thick gauge wire. for the tank circuit I
chained together some Soviet doorknob caps using hammered copper pipe for the
connections since this coil is such a high operating frequency the skin effect
means that regular wires just won’t cut it here I also used this really nice
vacuum variable capacitor to make tuning a breeze. speaking of tuning I went
against the classic vacuum tube Tesla coil build by winding a fixed primary
now there isn’t much I hate more than winding at tappable transformer coil so
instead I’m relying on the vacuum cap for tuning the primary to match the
residence of the secondary coil. no I did not wind that I can barely sit still for
five minutes let alone the five hours it would have taken to wind that by hand
instead I shelled out 35 bucks for a lathe wound coil on eBay I also bought a
little aluminum donut to stick on top to increase the capacitance on the
secondary side for the overall construction I started by building a
little table and then just started tacking a bunch of parts to it I kept
the power supply and tank capacitors in the lower unit as most of that stuff
would kill you if you touch it. I did have to make one more coil the feedback
coil and after some trial and error I was forced to make one with a few taps
on it the finished coil looks pretty
terrifying because well it is. now I got really lucky in that all the parts fit
just perfectly on that table because I did not plan that outn I added a soft
start to the cathode heater in an attempt to be easy on the tube it works
by powering it through a resistor then after a few seconds I short that with a
switch and now if I wasn’t a lazy piece of garbage I’d have used a time relay
for this all right so the tubes hot and everything’s ready to go
here goes nothing I guess that’s pretty cool so you’re probably wondering what would
happen if you touch it well if you touch most of stuff down there you’ll probably
die same goes for that and that and anything else that at anode potential but
what about that? well one way to find out I guess
oh wow it tickles don’t try this at home kids gosh I just love those sword like sparks it produces. using a pointy breakout it helps but this kind of spark
is pretty typical in a vacuum tube coil. check this one out this box have a bunch
of Soviet Nixie tubes now when they’re hit by the strong field from the Tesla
coil they light up and look just like hot coals. now I don’t know about you
but I think that’s pretty frickin cool so Drake what are you doing with your
chemistry degree that you spent four years of your life pursuing? oh yeah
almost forgot I didn’t make this to just screw around it I made to light up one of
my plasma fixtures wow that’s a really cool effect you didn’t know any better
you’d think it’d be lethal to hold it like this but in reality it’s only
causing moderate damage I think it’s time to run one of the big plates on the
Tesla coil I added a PVC fitting so it’ll fit nicely on top alright I put one
of my big plasma plates on top let’s see what this thing is capable of. here we go.
is that it? that’s seriously it’s all it’s gonna do? so apparently these lamps
cause a huge jump in secondary capacitance I want to see if I can
retune the coil for the bigger top load well that’s weird
I’ve swept through the range of my vacuum cap and I just can’t change the
output I even tried adding more tank capacitors it’s like the lamp is loading
it down or something. alright so this is what I came up with
it’s an adjustable spark gap that in theory will allow the coil to ring up
for a bit before arcing to the plasma lamp this will hopefully allow the lamp
to glow brightly and also give me the big sparks that I want wow that is so much less boring than the
original product too bad the power supply is so lethal because I’d love to hang that from my wall I should build like 10 more of these things just to put
around my shop. gosh this fixture works so well for remote powering who needs
wires or batteries when you can just hold light bulbs near this thing? if I put a bulb
too close though it eats most of the power before it makes it to the luminglas fixture so that’s a bummer but otherwise the effect is still really
cool need a way to test all of your laser flash lamps and gas tubes? with one
of these by your desk it’s as easy as sticking the bulbs into the high voltage
arc. this one’s for all times sake I bet you’re surprised I have any of
these left after the great plasma globe sacrifice that happened a few videos ago.
let’s try that again with the much less awesome plasma globe equivalent, the fluorescent tube. okay that’s pretty fun it feels like I’m holding a lightsaber
I’m actually pretty surprised how much light that gives off all right what else
can I jam in there? how about this screwdriver oh wow it’s
kind of like a Jacob’s Ladder except I’m one of the electrodes hmm I wonder what
it’ll do to a bunch of neon bulbs alright that is pretty amazing check out all
these awesome colors I could just play with this thing for
hours but I don’t think my body would be a big fan of that no I do have to say I
am pretty impressed with how well the vacuum tubes holding up
because it took a beating during grid leak tuning ok one more now this one has to
be my favorite since NordVPN is actually who made this project possible
in fact I want to give a big THANK YOU to NordVPN for sponsoring this video
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alright so that’s about all I have for you guys today
until the next time stay safe and happy tasing

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