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

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.
sneib16 days 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.
soumendra14 months ago

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

clevelandstorms (author)  soumendra14 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

WilliamC83 months ago

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

Electrospark4 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?


soumendra14 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!9 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!