Picture of Plasma Bulb with Clock Gear
I am a Steampunker from Germany and today I try to create my first Intructables instruction.
I hope you understand all otherwise ask and I will give my best to answer.

Today I will show you how you build a rotating Plasma Stream in a bulb.
You can already watch a video of this machine.

More pictures and stuff you will find on my German Website Steampunk Design under "Werkstatt" and "Werkstatt / Plasma Wirbler".

Step 1: Find the right camera

Picture of Find the right camera
First of all you buy a disposable camera from Fujifilm or other one from the picture.
If you buy other models you will find inside an AAA cell instead of the right AA cell.
In this case the soldering points for the power output are on an other place.

After removing the paper you will find a plastic camera without any screws.
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Jan_Henrik1 year ago

Very nice, but the hight voltage emitts also much radiactivity! D:

No it doesn't. You probably get more from your computer monitor.

LCD, so no ;P

There is absolutely no radioactivity in any high-voltage circuit, from the smallest (like this) to the largest multi-story Tesla coil. It's absolute balderdash, with no basis in the physics of this or any other conceivable universe to say so. I have no idea where you get off making wild-eyed claims like that.

Hi Sehrgut, i dont know if you where asleep in physics but there is a thing called Bremsstrahlung ( you should know it ), which is a process, which emitts radiation.

Mr Tesla1 year ago
What did you use as your power source?
Admiral Aaron Ravensdale (author) 3 years ago
I make last week some discoveries!
If you don't connect the High Power (-) to battery (-) and use instead Earth / Ground the light gets more powerfully and the transistor don't get hot anymore!
So you can power up "stable" to 4.0 Volts!

I think it becomes hot because the "backfire" from the AC current is too much for the transistor.
So if you use the AC current from the circuit you should also use Earth / Ground to beed of the high power!!!
Do you have a wiring diagram that shows how to use higher voltages safely?
I have an AC to 3volts dc adaptor I can use.
step 4 on the picture you see the wirering. on the left upper corner you see 2 cables batt- and bulb- remove the bulb- and connect it to earth...
With that change, what would be the new maximum voltage that could be supplied?
Wermo2 years ago
Cool steampunk idea bro
nerd74732 years ago
dd321233 years ago
hold down button
wait until the flash is charged
remove the battery
press the button on the camera to make it flash, or tap the thin copper contacts together
it will flash, the compacitor will be drained
ezarate3 years ago
that is insane!
pro52003 years ago
so how to discharge the electrical load ?
make a short circuit with a screwdriver on the pins of the capacitor...
pro52003 years ago
I am a little confused to connect the wires, can you provide with schematic drawings ?
PhotonPunk3 years ago
This has to be one of my favorite things on instructables.
positr_n3 years ago
you can find a 2 pack of the right fujifilm cameras for under $10 at Walmart. I followed the pictures and this instructable worked out great. The transistor got a bit hot for me. Try holding an old CFL up to the neon bulb :D
cberry33 years ago
i love these light projects and i really want to try one but the only thing stopping me is the lack of a good explanation of the wiring. "you need to hook up six wires here" doesnt really help me too much especially where as i'm not all that good with electronics yet. maybe some more steps or a seperate ible on the subject?
halzark3 years ago
You have this device working on a DC power supply. Will it also work on the 2 AA batteries? If so should I solder the batteries in parallel as Junophor did to increase the current and not the voltage?

Great project and pictures!
Yes, you are right it also works with batteries but the circuit need nearly 250mA. For this application an also for desktop use is a DC power supplie better...
Power notes: duplicated with a Fujifilm Quicksnap DCF (disposable camera flash) in USA and a GE flicker flame bulb (PC 81167, Desc 3CAC/FF/CD1). Bench supply indicated only about 100-150mA drawn at 1.5VDC. Found that at 2.4VDC, current draw about the same. However, the transistor (D2687) went from an operating temp of 45C to ~125C. Did not go higher voltage than that. An alkaline battery can run 1.7V OC new, so 2 batteries could kill the transistor.

Note Kodak-brand flash units (so far) do not work - output voltage is only 325V, which may have something to do with it.

Anyone have specs on the transistor? I have only come vague indications that it may be related to a chroma-type transistor.

For what its worth.
Hi Apprentice Wizard,
Thanks for the spezification.

I make last week some discoverys!
If you don't connect the High Power (-) to battery (-) and use instaed Earth / Ground the light gets more powerfully and the transistor don't get hot anymore!
So you can power up "stable" to 4.0 Volts!

I think it becomes hot because the "backfire" from the AC current is too much for the transistor.

I was thinking about mounting this to a costume, as a mechanical heart. (I can't attach the suit to the wall for the power supply! LOL) I have a separate power source for the turning platform (I'm using a revolving police light style base) but I want to use just the two AA batteries to power the plasma lamp and the three "sparking arms." Will this work?
If you will wear it on a costume I would use instead of AA batteries two "C" or "D" cells... then it works for hours...
thank you for the suggestions! Again, Great Looking Project!
thethomas983 years ago
Bridging the capacitor with a srewdriver will drain it, but it also could cause it to burst. I would instead use a resistor to bridge the cap. You can pick them up relatively cheap from a radio shack or electronics hobby store. I would bridge the capacitor with a resistor until you get no voltage readings with a meter between the two legs of the cap.
gskaggs3 years ago
Very cool.. Love it! Thanks for sharing.
rstaron4 years ago
Hello - Very nice instructable. One questions - what brand(s) of cameras are you using? Can't identify the one in the photo.......thanx.

click on the "i" at the top left of the picture and it will take you to a page that lets you enlarge the photo. then if you use windows and firefox, just push "ctrl" and "+" and it will zoom in even more.

I believe you won't recognize them unless you know german though :)
Much thanks!
beehard444 years ago
any chance this can create a resonance cascade?
lol nice 'ible
rstaron4 years ago
My bad - I went too fast - it is a very, very interesting instructable and I will be using it in my class when teaching electricity.

sunshiine4 years ago
Super Instructable! You did an awesome job! Thanks for sharing.
arpruss4 years ago
Is it safe to bridge the capacitor with a screwdriver? I would think that it would be better to use a slower discharge method. Last time I was discharging a camera flash capacitor, I hooked up a multimeter set to measure voltage, and watched as the voltage went to about 10, and then bridged it for the last little bit. Took a couple of minutes, but it felt safer.
Excellent tutorial! I put a bulb & driver circuit together this weekend with very little difficulty (beware the capacitor.)

Thanks for posting this! What an awesome project.
PKM4 years ago
I think you're fast becoming one of my favourite makers- I love steampunk, high voltage, camera flashes and unusual lighting. With all the new uses you've shown I'm going to have to get some disposable cameras and get experimenting again.
Admiral Aaron Ravensdale (author)  PKM4 years ago
I just start with PicAxe chips and a stirling engine...
We can learn from each other :-)

I will stay tuned for you new results...
lhall14 years ago
I too have ben shocked, on my thumb it was numb for 3 hours after words
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