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I bought a few of these power modules and fly back transformers from Amazon a few months ago, and decided to throw a quick Jacobs Ladder together.

I used a 12 volt power supply and with a few quick wire connections, I was able to produce a spark of an inch or more. That gives me about 12 thousand volts or 1000 times the input voltage.

This power module has a maximum power of 36 volts, so I could probably ramp up the discharge to power a much larger device.

One thing I like doing is sitting back and watching this in the dark.

I use my timer module I made in a previous Instructable, https://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-Shut-off-... and set it for 10 or 20 minutes, and just watch the electrodes.

It makes for a good meditation time, but that's for a future Instructable.

Update: I've made this unit into a machine to make Litchenberg Figures.

See the Instructable at https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Fractal-Art...

Step 1: Materials

The power module and flyback transformer came in one package. You'll need some two conductor wire for power, or use a flat connector.

They came from Amazon.com.

SainSmart Zero Voltage Switching Tesla Coil Flyback Driver for Sgtc /Marx Generator/jacob's Ladder + Ignition Coil

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00ZTTVX4O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Step 2: Power Access

I used a Really Useful box for my project.

Using a knife, awl or drill, make a hole for the power wire.

Step 3: Power Connections

The two blue coils on the side of the Flyback Transformer are connected in the middle. Each end will go into one of the three holes on the output side of the module.

The double (soldered) blue wire goes to the middle connection.

The two single blue wires go on either side.

Power is fed in the other end.

Black on the negative, red on the positive.

Ensure you wire the power correctly or you will blow the circuit.

Step 4: Adjust the Gap.

The connections to the hanger wire are with stainless bolts.

3/8" (1cm) gap at the bottom, sloping up in a smooth arc to about 3 inches (9 cm) at the top.
The coat hanger might have a coating so you should remove it. You can use sandpaper, a sanding block, a grinder, or even a file to clean the wire.

I used the bending jig to bend the wire into the nice shape.

Warning:

Never go near the spark when it's turned in. This could cause serious damage or kill you. Always be in control of the power when it's turned on and don't let anyone near it.

Do not adjust the gap while the power is turned on, and if you've had it on, but have turned it off to adjust it, the wires will get hot so be careful.

<p>I have build some of these. One was with a 555 timer circuit and output power transistor with a car coil and the other one with a neon sign transformer. However, I am so glad you told everybody not to touch the pole pieces because they get seriously hot after running for a while. Thumbs up!</p>
<p>It isn't just the heat, if there's any voltage running across the poles, you can be killed by it. VERY quick, and VERY dead.</p>
<p>So right that you are. Common people do NOT realitying that the killing effect of electricity does NOT lye in the Voltage or the Wattage, but in the Amperage, and even so there is both <br>AC and DC. The DC voltage in itself doesn&rsquo;t become much of harm, until it&rsquo;s potentional owercome the differences of resistance of your body connected to thsese points. <br>Me? Got a few &rdquo;smacks&rdquo; of them repairing these CRT-monitors, (TV- , PC- , Arcade-machines++), got them 20kV, (yes, right 20,000), through my hand a couple of times, didn&rsquo;t die, but bro &rdquo;all my tools in hand&rdquo; flew around. The &rdquo;NASTY&rdquo; thing in those old thing CRT-&rsquo;s was tha they were NOT grounded. They had their own &rdquo;floating&rdquo; ground.</p>
<p>You really cannot blame just one aspect of electric shock resulting in death. I (Current, aka amperage) times E or V (Voltage) = Watts (power). Lightning is very high voltage, but low current, so the overall power in watts is low, but it can still kill you. 120 volts at 10 amps = 1,200 watts of power and can also kill you! Think of voltage as pressure and current (Amps) as the tangible stuff like water or BBs. A BB with lots of pressure driving it will do much damage. A 2 pound cannon ball (Amps) with a relatively small amount of pressure (Volts) will also do some damage. The overall power (Watts) can be the same for both the BB and the cannon ball. Think of the damage a micro meteor traveling at 25,000 plus MPH can do to a satellite, as will a 2 pound mass going 25 MPH.</p>
<p> Actually I replyed to... but maybe the adm. allows me to reply ewen to you because the subject on the agenda is so interresting, (to me anyway).</p><p> Once upon the time.. I did rig up a test, (just of curiocity, or just for fun or?), anyway,<br>1. a ignition coil for cars<br>1. a NE 555-mutltivibrator<br>2. a 2N3055 transistor, (to do the heavy job)<br>Goal: to check out if the coil could provide an &rdquo;BURST&rdquo; of sparks during the total time of combustion sequence of the piston.<br>Results: YYEEE&hellip;the sparkplug igniates with the freq. of the 555 and amplified through the 2N3055 to the coil.. The smell of &rdquo;ozoniezed air&rdquo; was kind of a sweet thing to smell =&gt; succes&rsquo; ? NO. I installed it in my car &hellip; no ignition.<br>Anyone? Eweryone? Somebody? Work on futher with this</p>
<p>guys hi! What you will have to do is to construct a Capacitor Discharge Ignition module or a transistor assisted ignition. Your timing was not correct that is why it did not work. You need a points triggered or a Hall Effect detector [Volkswagens used this in the late '80's and nineties of last Millenium]</p>
<p>Actually I did make a Jacob's Ladder out of a 555 timer circuit with a standard vehicle coil (the older round type) and of course a NPN high power transistor. And it worked great. JMHO</p>
<p>Like to see your circuit. Thanks</p>
<p>I didn't draw a circuit. I just made the connections to power, and connections to the coil. Then I tested the output of the coil to see which wire had the best spark. This was long before I ever decided to make the Jacob's Ladder with the components.</p><p>The photo with the wiring also shows which wires are hooked up to which connectors.</p>
<p>That's experience speaking. I gave myself a quick burn. A quick douse with white vinegar helped restore fluids in the burned cells and I didn't get a blister.</p>
<p>The smart thing to do is to enclose the ladder in a transparent glass or plastic tube. The ends need to be open to allow air to rise through the tube. This helps the arc rise (the slightest room air currents disturb the arc). The tube also addresses the primary issue: safety.</p><p>An interesting varient of this is to make the ladder helical.</p>
<p>Gee.. Niiice, (with three &rsquo; i&rsquo;;s in the word). Once upon the time.. I did rig up a test, (just of curiocity, or just for fun or?), anyway,<br>1. a ignition coil for cars<br>1. a NE 555-mutltivibrator<br>2. a 2N3055 transistor, (to do the heavy job)<br>Goal: to check out if the coil could provide an &rdquo;BURST&rdquo; of sparks during the total time of combustion sequence of the piston.<br>Results: YYEEE&hellip;the sparkplug igniates with the freq. of the 555 and amplified through the 2N3055 to the coil.. The smell of &rdquo;ozoniezed air&rdquo; was kind of a sweet thing to smell =&gt; succes&rsquo; ? NO. I installed it in my car &hellip; no ignition.<br>Anyone? Eweryone? Somebody? Work on futher with this</p>
<p>If you could amend your Instructable, it would be very helpful to have a schematic for those who have not tried this before. I need one as it's been a long time since I built one!</p>
<p>Way cool &quot;mad scientist&quot; looking project. You always used to see these in the old horror pictures in Black &amp; White....<br><br>The last one I did (LONG ago), I took a flyback out of a large old school Video Display Terminal. I got it to climb to a width of about 4 to 6 inches. Made a lot of Ozone too.<br><br>Glad you included the safety warnings as many don't understand that highh voltage elecrical things without caution can injure or kill. I always warn when working on high voltage , keep one hand in a pocket, to lessen the chance of current crossing your heart and stopping it. Not easy to get a kick start, especially if you're working on your hobby alone.!</p>

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