Based upon the Villard doubler, cascaded in multiple stages, this circuit will multiply a small AC voltage into a huge potential.
With a 6000 VAC Oil Burner Transformer and just three stages, you can multiply the potential from 6000 to 51,000 VDC!
Also, the higher the voltage ratings on your components, the higher the input voltage can be and therefore, more bang for your buck.
One side benefit of a stack like this is you can tap off various voltages from stage to stage. In this example, three outputs of 17000, 34000, and 51000 volts are available. Nice!
Step 1: The Theory
On the positive half-cycle of the input, the capacitors charge in parallel to the peak value of the voltage presented through the forward biased diode. The other diode is reversed biased. Each cap charges to 8484 peak volts.
On the negative half-cycle of the input, the forward biased diode becomes reversed biased while the reversed biased diode becomes forward biased. This effectively connects the capacitors in series allowing them to discharge into the load at the output. The result is a doubled voltage presented to the load or 16968 peak volts.
Each connected stage adds its potential to the total output.
To calculate the expected voltage at the output with a given input and number of stages, plug the numbers into this formula:
Eout = (2 x Ein) x S x 1.414
Eout is the Output Voltage, Ein is the Input Voltage, and S is the number of stages in your design. I used a 6,000 VAC Oil Burner Transformer for my input and built 3 stages.
Eout = (2 x 6000) x 3 x 1.414
Eout = 12000 x 3 x 1.414
Eout = 36000 x 1.414
Eout = 50,904 volts