Picture of Make a Plasma Globe out of a Light Bulb!
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Have you ever been fascinated by a plasma globe? Have you ever wanted to build your own? In this instructable, I will be showing you how to make a plasma globe out of an ordinary light bulb! 

Before we make this project, I have to warn you of the safety issues.
This device outputs high voltages as much as 25,000 volts and can kill you. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE ANY PART OR PARTS FOR COMPONENTS OF DIFFERENT VALUES! It is crucial for your safety. I would recommend you do some research on high voltages before attempting this project. Also keep in mind that this is not a beginner level project and you will need to have experience in working with flyback transformers, high voltages, and lethal currents.

You have been warned.

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Step 1: The Methods: 1 and 2

Picture of The Methods: 1 and 2
There are two methods to making a plasma globe. Both use AC flyback transformers, but they use different drivers. This is important to know because you will be building the driver yourself and you want to choose your method based on a few different factors. 

Method 1 uses a 555 timer to switch on and off a mosfet. It uses less components and is easier to build.
Method 2 uses a TL494 chip that can be bought online. This one is more complicated, but it gives you more control over the circuit and even lets you input audio. 

I recommend method 1 for beginners because it is easier to get the desired frequency that you want. The frequency is also set to a safe value assuming you use the correct components. This is important because if the frequency is too low, then you will get a nasty shock. At the end of this instructable, I will show 2 videos that tell you how to tune the driver so that the arcs are safe to handle.
KrishW20 days ago

Thank you HaykD and clevelandstorms. Love you guys
MOSFET IFRP250 is not available in my city so i had to order it from online store. Once i get that item i will update on my success.
Thanks once again guys.

@ clevelandstorms:
Please increase the size of 2nd method diagram. TL494 is available in my city so i'll try that too.

My transformer has following rating 12v 5A (12-6-0-6-12). How much volt i can get from it?

KrishW23 days ago

I am talking about method 1 :

is very clear but you need to say where my 18 V AT 3 Amp power supply
will be connected. i also have two more power supply.

1. 12V at 5 Amp

2. 24V at 3 Amp

Which one will be best. Actually these are all transformers i have fully rectified it.

you need to specify more clearly where LED will be connected, i.e. on
which area. between source and drain of MOSFET? if no then where.

more question: I hope you know that all coil related stuff releases
back emf so one diode is necessary to protect MOSFET isn't?

clevelandstorms (author)  KrishW21 days ago
HaykD covered most of your questions. One important thing to note is that the LED by the MOSFET is a diode. It is not an LED. The diode is connected between the drain and source of the mosfet. Start off with 12V at 5 amp. If the mosfet does not get too hot, you can increase the voltage.
HaykD KrishW22 days ago

You need to connect your supply to the top of primary in the picture ("in"), where it connects to 7809 regulator (You don't need the regulator if you use 12v, as 555 timer uses maximum of 15v power supply). You can experiment with power supplies to get the best arc. LED light isn't really a big deal, just indicator, you can connect it between 3 pin of 555 timer and power supply to know that oscillator works. There's an internal diode in the transistor ,but you can add an external one for better protection.

sneib1 month ago
The circuit diagram does not show the input power connections. I can't see anything about the led circuit either. I bought a cheap 555 I guess because it's not clearly identifying the pin out. If I install it one way the led flickers, the other way the mosfet gets really hot. Please help, school project is due this week.
soumendra15 months ago

Very useful indeed......please give clear is not clear ....please..thanks in advance

clevelandstorms (author)  soumendra15 months ago
I am unsure what is unclear about the circuit. The schematic is located in the step. Can you explain what is unclear about the circuit? I might be able to help you

Hello Sir, Still waiting for your reply..please give a more detailed circuit diagram with individual components details....

oh sure ..thanks for your reply...the schematic is hazy .....i cannot make out the values of individual components ...can you please upload a bigger size picture ...or send in

WilliamC84 months ago

Thanks for this! But can I ask roughly what the cost to make this would be?

Electrospark5 months ago

Thanks for the instructable!

I don't have any internet to watch videos...

Can you please give me some info on how you connect the plasma bulb?


soumendra15 months ago

the circuit for method 2 is not clear

in method 1 where to connect +12 v

no connection is given in 4 or 8

leafar_br made it!10 months ago



download (3).jpghqdefault.jpgimages.jpg
dillonxti1 year ago

neat project, have you done a zvs driver

dell_md1 year ago

i have some question :
1-i have high frequency AC power supply(from very old mini Tv)

how can i attach this High Voltage to circuit(for Tl494 circuit)?

2-can i use IRF 540n MOSFET instead of (IRFP250, IRFP260, IRF540, IRFP450, IRFP064)??
thank U!!

clevelandstorms (author)  dell_md1 year ago


That looks like an old AC ferrite transformer. Take some wire, maybe around 20 gauge, and wind 7 turns on the exposed ferrite core. That will be your primary, and attach the two ends to the TL494 circuit. You can use an IRF540, but it will get very hot so use a large heat sink. Hope this helps!

ariizu1 year ago
is it safe to hold in your hand? sorry if I missed it in the description ^^
clevelandstorms (author)  ariizu1 year ago
It is safe to TOUCH the lightbulb when it is running at low power, not HOLDING it. You will find that your hand will get very hot after touching the bulb for more than 5 seconds. I am not responsible for any injuries, but you should be ok to touch it. Be careful!