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Plasma Display Steampunk

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Picture of Plasma Display Steampunk
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This was a week-end project I created from a 6" black and white TV and a large neon bulb a friend sent me from overseas,
the smaller bulbs I found at a second hand store, I wish I didn't have to say this, but this project uses VERY HIGH VOLTAGES,
it uses the out put voltage of the TV's flyback I'm not sure the exact voltage but I'm guessing around 20,000 volts, it can burn, cause a heart attack and is just plain miserable.

The total cost to me for this project was about 20.00 dollars, the TV was 5.00 and the wood and doo dads the remaing cost.
These little TV's are in all the junk shops they no longer work without a digital converter, and B+W is too boring for most people now.

 
 
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Step 1: Find the parts and test, safety.

Picture of find the parts and test, safety.
Plasma box near done 001.JPG
Because it's been 30 years since I studied electronics I took the easy way out, I just used the whole circut board from the TV chassis.
I cut off the leads to the vertical and horz magnet drivers, and the heater in the tube, this left me with a single board which had the coveted flyback, I also cut off the tuner section of the board because it stuck out another 3'

To be simple I cut every wire to the tube, the large single wire to the side of the tube is what you want to use, if you didn't know that, then don't start this project.
Pay attention! TV Tubes store their voltages for quite a while, days, weeks, months, so when you disconnect the flyback wire from the side of the tube treat it as if it is on running at full voltage, I grounded mine with a pair of gloves and a screw driver connected to the TV ground,
then I put tape over the hole on the side of the tube so as to not acidently discharge it into me.


If you are going to get shocked this just might be the time, get help if you need it please! 
Grunambulax7 months ago
This is awesome. Brilliant design and execution.
zomfibame10 months ago
wow, you are a rare breed, someone with electrical skills, artistic imagination, an ability to cleanly execute the idea, and be able n' willing to share how it's done.. ... this piece is great.
longwinters (author)  zomfibame10 months ago
Glad you like it I still love the thing it's on my night stand going to do a quick transformer addition no reason to run it on batteries
You may enjoy the camper I just posted too thanks for the kind words
andrea biffi10 months ago
Impressive work! I love it!
I must say! You have done a extendedly great job on this! One is curious on a few things though. Where did you procure the copper sheeting from? Do you know any of the specs on the large neon bulb? I am guessing that it was Junophor who sent you that bulb.... I recently picked up a small B/W tv myself. (I paid 20$, a bit much, but I haven't seen any others lately.) Though I am thinking of actually using it like a screen, as it has (mono) audio and (composite) video RCA inputs.
BUT as always I have several other projects in various stages of completion... including my tabletop amplifier and also anouther lamp, this time it's a desk lamp...
Anyways enough of my pitiful excuses!
I have saved this one in both my favorites here and I booked-marked it too!
As always, Good Wishes and Happy Making!

p.s - Did I mention I am slowly working on (trying to) make some vacuum bulbs of various sorts, including Geissler tubes? I need to work on my glass working skills though first!
longwinters (author)  BrefelanDesigns2 years ago
I got some bad news last night, that the large bulbs are no longer availible, at least at the present time, the copper was give to me by a friend, but I purchased a chunk last month from a sheet metal store, 20.00 a square foot for the thick stuff, sometimes a thinner variety can be found at the hardware store for flashing.

Yes my buddy sent me the bulb.

Computer monitors (tube type) also use the same style of flyback they are everywhere sometimes for free.

I would be very interested in your tube work, test tubes have nice working characteristics, possibly you could develop a concept without fire,
I am currently checking around for a small quanity of Argon or Neon because I
would like to make my own bulb someday.
Greetings from England!
I am in love with your work!
Over here in the uk you can buy Argon gas quite cheap for use in TIG welding...
(www.machinemart.co.uk/shop/product/details/argon-gas-cylinder-2?da=1&TC=RV-010130663)
Don’t know if that’s any help?

Thank you for sharing your beautiful work with us!
longwinters (author)  jcisking1 year ago
Greetings from across the pond, since this project I found a supplier for the rare gases, I also visited a neon sign shop, to say the process is difficult is a grand understatment. (at least without all the proper equipment.)
Glad you like the project...
raven19132 years ago
So I am new to instructables and wanted to say I love your device and wanted to make one but I am not sure about the bulb will an aerolux bulb do the trick? or will it not handle the fly back voltage and the little bulbs are those pilot lights or whatever they are called my second hand stores do not get these very often I have personally never seen them so I guess what I am asking is what should I look for on ebay. Thanks and awsome
longwinters (author)  raven19132 years ago
Sorry I don't know what an aerolux bulb is, the large bulb I used is said to be discontinued, but I bet there are still some out there.

The small bulbs can be found by mailing or calling Buy the Pound here in Anchorage, his store will Google up.

I should point out again, none of the bulbs are fed full flyback voltage through their designed terminals, the base is used for one contact, and the foil the other on the large bulb, the small ones just use the air, if you were to put full voltage through the designed terminals they will burn out almost instantly.

Good luck, PM me if you want specific details about how to get the small bulbs, plus I do think he has some on E-bay
I love what you've done here! Is there any chance of more detail in the wiring, I would love to make one of these and install it into a 1930's clock case I have.
longwinters (author)  bricabracwizard2 years ago
Thanks to everyone I have read all of the comments and am surprized at your reactions, I didn't know so many people liked getting shocked.

This project was cheep and fun.

Your wish is my command, the heavy black line is the HV side, you will notice it shorts directly to ground through the arc points. the connection to the small bulbs is through both of the base contacts.
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Gorgeous looking project enhanced by the beautiful woodwork. Nice! But when I look at the "schematic", it looks like you are feeding the HV in parallel to all the neon bulbs. When I have used NE02 bulbs in the past, they fired on 60 volts. Won't the 15K volts from the flyback fry the smaller bulbs?
longwinters (author)  martiro72 years ago
Check my comments above, the flyback voltage is not through the two base contacts, it's through them connected togeather then the case acts as the circut completion, or your finger, and you are correct if you ran that high of a voltage through the cathode and anode plates sparks would fly and a burned out bulb would result.

I think if you look close you can see a removable copper ring that fits around the base of the small bulbs to make them glow brighter, it can be removed if you want to play track the neon with your fingers.
How fun!
ynze2 years ago
Very, very cool.
Super cool
Where does one find such tv to make one of these?
Thrift stores, I have two of them I paid 5.00 each, there are also instructables on how to convert a high voltage flyback from a TV so you don't have to use the whole board, tube style computer monitors would work too, the large bulb is going to be difficult to find in the US.
Schematic ?

lovely construction, your thingie is quite a looker. I humbly suggest a theremin inside it!

thanks
longwinters (author)  spark master2 years ago
There is a schematic posted in the comments section first page, when you adjust the arc gap there is a change in the very high pitch wine the arc produces, my daughter can hear it upstairs, but this "old" man can't.
I are be olde too and when I loaded the view one page I saw all the commentary.

Since on me everything hurts and one doctor told me simply "you ain't young and this ain't Kansas"

I still can hear HV circuits(a la fuji flash camera's), somewhat. I wonder if you can add a diode voltage tripler at end of a fuji to make it run this?
longwinters (author)  spark master2 years ago
My fellow builder Junopor does quite a bit with those units, a bird has told me that he has a new project which uses the smaller lamps like in my display driven only by the flash unit.

I would wonder how much current it takes to make a healthy glow in the big bulb, intution tells me something more would be needed.

There are several fly-back conversion instructables here, if I do another HV project I will try and follow one.

You know the law, double the voltage halve the current, at full voltage the bulb must be pulling 8 to 10 watts, that is quite a bit for a flash unit, Junophor seems to be able to get them to do what ever he asks, while I burn them out like matches.
polochka2 years ago
надіюсь що мобільні телефони скоро будуть працювати на плазміhttp://polochka.com.ua/mobilni_telefonu_lviv
Winged Fist2 years ago
I concur with Junophor and Horatius Steam... An absolutely amazing work of art! Truly steampunk at it's best, from the recycled parts to the shiny copper and rich wood... Another piece worthy of a museum...(And 5 stars;-)
wonderful job my good sir.
awesome job... watching hot glowing things is always a nice way to past the time... great job
Very nice!!!! Great design and perfect craftsmanship!!
Gratulations!
Sincerely The Chocolatist
Junophor2 years ago
Hi longwinters

Once again FIVE stars;-)))))

This object deserves rather TEN stars!!!!!
Junophor2 years ago
Hi longwinters

You hit the point!!

That is really steampunk at its best!!!!

I am looking to find the right words. This is another masterpiece!!!!!

Very amazing!!

CONGRATULATIONS

Cheers Aeon Junophor
WOW! This is absolutely amazing!

Great work and a great effect with the copper stripes!

Congratulations,

Horatius Steam
poofrabbit2 years ago
WOW!! The craftsmanship on this project is simply awesome!
That's cool Dad. I'm glad you found something cool to work on between projects.
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