Picture of Taking apart a plasma globe
How to take apart a USB plasma globe, which contains a tesla coil, wire it to work on a battery, and get neat little sparks from it. It can set thin paper on fire ... and it does something weird when a magnet gets near it ...

As I will explain later this deals with HIGH VOLTAGE so please, if you are a minor, do this with the supervision of an adult, and if you are an adult, dont do this alone in case you zap yourself and need CPR. Warning! Danger!

That said, I got this globe at Best Buy for $20 bucks (USD) in the computer section.

Step 1: Open the box and take out the globe

Picture of Open the box and take out the globe
out of box.JPG
get a screwdriver.JPG
take screws out.JPG
circuit board.JPG
on the bottom will be screws ... use a philips head screwdriver to remove them, then put the screwdriver into one of the screw holes to gently pop out the bottom of the base
RedstoneM14 days ago

I got pretty much the same globe, only the crating was another one and it was for 5€ (around 7USD)

RobertB234 months ago

Moving charged particles experience a force in the presence of a magnetic field. The force responsible for this phenomenon can be understood using the notion of Lorentz's Force; which, is essentially a mathematical expression for the electromagnetic force acting on a moving charged particle. What we see here is that the plasma is contained by the fields produced by the magnets.

izidor76 years ago
Hy all This is a nice example of a dude who likes to see how it works (like me)! Respect man And for you all folks, just to mantion, this globe dosen't use a Tesla coil, (that you all had seen) but i think you didn't knew that the treansformer isn't a flyback. There is a litle confucsion about this. For you who don't know, A FLYBACK has a diode on the secendary and it is beed driven by a single electronic switch, (with a positive vave form), this is why it's called flyback, because while the high state on the primary on the secendary flows no current because of the diode, and while the voltage falls on the primary the secondary discharges . and that gives you a pulsed DC voltage whitch voltage dependes on the pri/sec turns ratio. even those 5V flybacks are the sam elike the crt flybacks 30 kV.... Because of the special construction the flyback transformer is the most eficient transforer. but, fot a plasma globe it isn't good, and that is because it gives only DC voltage. and for the plasma globe you need a AC transformer with one pole grounded. The transformer used for the plasma globe is a normal transforer, and depending on the freq on whitc it works there are been used some cores... like steel (for 50Hz) for an example the MOT transforer, and the ferrite transforemr, (50-100kHz) for some hogh power SMPS , Inverters and so on... and the air coiled transformer like the tesla coils..... Depending on the freq you use you'll use some of those transformers . but it must be a AC transformer for a plasma globe and that's why it's imposible to use a flyback for this. I hope you understood what i said! By!
not all flybacks are DC. i have several AC flybacks. i've even built a few(not recommended unless you have a coil winder)
more flyback information
Funny, that was my opinion, untill i found out the facts....

one month ago, i would agree with you, but, i can't

Listen the name and the term, FLYBACK is being used in general, but the real meaning is a litle bit diferent. the so called AC flyback transformers aren't flybacks at all, but they are being so called just to refer to the todays HV transformers...... what i whant to say is. the old AC flybacks where AC. the thing is. for the tv tube you need dc. and in the old tv'os you got it from a AC transformer and some multiplirers like this http://www.play-hookey.com/ac_theory/ps_v_multipliers.html

The so called AC flybacks where flybacks,! but the flyback was concidured the AC transfrmer + the multiplier, because with it it is a flyback, but when you remove the multiplier. it is only a AC transformer, and i guess you didn't connected a multiplier to your diy transformer???

The new flybacks work the same way but you can't remove the multiplier without destroying the flyback.... because of the epoxy reisin.


every transformer being driven with a single positive puls waveform and a one way anty directional rectifier is a FLYBACK.
And all the other transformers aren't!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! was that clear?
you misunderstand the definition of flyback.
a voltage multiplier is not needed to make it a flyback. it is the type of coil that makes it a flyback. 
build your own, then you will understand. 

He's correct. A flyback without a rectifier is just a high voltage AC transformer. A flyback can run at quite high frequencies, high enough that the arc from the one in a plasma ball can burn you. The only thing crucial about the air gap is that it increases efficiency of the transformer. A flyback can saturate rather quickly depending on the circuit, parts used, and the amperage of the power source used. The simple flyback circuit on Google is a great example of a circuit which saturates the flyback fast. Even my own experience of swapping parts for different ones and better ones still resulted in the flyback saturating in under 5 mins under load.

 what i mean is that a "regular transformer" does NOT contain an air gap in the core, nor does it operate at such a high frequency.  the air gap is crucial. it is what makes all the difference. a flyback transformer can never become saturated. 
-max- freezier1 year ago

You can find the flyback effect on wikipedia. It is actually the entire configuration. the transformer is not critical unless operation under specific circumstances is required. No core in the transformer means the magnetic permeability (energy transfer between coils) will be minimal, however, there will be minimal losses due to Hysteresis (core's resistance to change in magnetic flux) Eddy current losses (especially for solid steel core transformers), and many other losses. This, along with trying to avoid saturation (when primary inductance is too low and starts acting like a short-circuit once the core is saturated) Joule losses (basicly resistive loss) forces engineers to use the the most appropriate materials for the core, based on frequency, mode of operation (resonant, flyback, etc). Qualiticly, there does not appear to be a difference from my observations of a flyback transformer operating with, or without a gap in the core. (I had it connected to a ZVS driver, which operates on the basis of LC resonance though. My 555 driver never worked in the flyback configuration because no load on the transformer would cause nasty transient voltages across the MOSFETs and blow them.)

-max- -max-1 year ago


If you mean by a regular transformer the thing the industry Puts in some devices , then yes( newer day's they are putting SMPS . they contain the flyback design, they are light weight, more efficient and cheeper!)
But, FLYBACK'S are just transforers that aren't that simple like the old ones!!! but work rather good for some time... (a litle bit longer then the warenty of the device) because they need the certain feed, and control. with much electronics.. witch is complicated compared to the old one. with just a fiew colils and a metall core. with no big electronics!!!! 
 here. Perhaps this will explain it. if you still don't grasp that flybacks and power transformers are very different, and it has nothing to do with what voltage drives them, i cannot explain it any better. as for smps, once again, there are multiple types of them, not all are flybacks.

Power Transformer Design

Inductor and Flyback Transformer Design
 Yes, that was my point, and I awius  didn't got it through

They shure loock diferent. and taste diferent. but they both obay the same law of physics!!!!!!

My point was. a flyback can't be a AC transformer, if that says somewhere in the second toturial you posted above. about flybacks...  plese tell me what the page. because i read 10 times that.. and I'm layzee to read it again! ( I awiusly missed that part :-/    )

My conclusion :
---Power transforer:
AC input <=> AC output
DC->into a driver-> into a transforer =>DC output
---Pulse transforer (SMPS)
DC->into a driver -> into the transforer -> AC output -> into a rectifier =>DC output
--- in case of  the SMPS it looks like a flyback, but it isn't cuz it goes a AC squere like vave into the pulse transfmer and AC goes out that is turned then into DC. the mutual thing of the flyback ant the pulse transformer are the airgaps and the ferrite cores that leed to high work freq.

What is wrong with this conclusion???

Thanx for the paitence and for the help!
ok, let's forget for a moment at witch voltage the secundary  and the primary are! for a moment.

What is a transformer.??? it is some kinda device that transmits energy between two coils. without physical (wire to wire) contact .  There are some cored transformers and some without cores.. the core is critical because the different core need's a different freq to work properly.  For instance. the metall core is ment to work on 50/60 Hz.. ok, the losses are high but  who cares...  the industry dosen't .. and there are the ferrite cores .. depending on the mix of materials  the freq are higher...  and there are the air coiled transforers.. like the sesla coil... 

A flyback is a transformer driven by a positive squere-like vave signal. ( no negative , below the ground zero voltages accure from the source) on the primary and with a half-wave rectifier on the secendary. ( multipliers are also rectifiers!!!!!!!!!!) and that is a transformer. a FLYBACK! transforer.
the airgap in the coer is to improve the efficiency  and decrease flux going aroud and messing up radio signals! 
Over all, the FLYBACK is the most effective way to make a power supply..  because the losses are smaller then by any other way you could make a supply! take for instance the SMPS .. also flybacks...

If I'm wrong, plese truy to explain what am i missing!
Robert Powell11 months ago
You could connect a fluorescent lamp to the wire and it should light up a little
Robert Powell11 months ago
You could connect a fluorescent lamp to the wire and it should light up a little
sdaverede1 year ago
i have a problem with my plasma ball, is the same as the one on this post, and due to a bad AC-DC transformer, the capacitor got broken, so i need to replace it, unfortunately i took it off from the board and now i dont remember the numbers of the one i need to buy, could you pass me this data?


people! someone remembers the capacitor information? i need to replace them! thanks

yeah. cover it in tin foil. ZAP...x(
oberon77855 years ago
i've done this before with my 8inch plasma globe, it does produce slightly long sparks than using a penny on the globe or covering it with tin foil, but that isnt all that cool, the only reason i've kept it apart like this is cause when the little spark is active, and radio/tv in about a 15 foot radius will go static
tinkerman927 years ago
u know u can do that without taking it apart right lol just put a penny on the glass the penny lets it escape the glass seal cause i got board n put 1 on it n just started burning myself with little blue sparks lol
the penny thing wolt work nearly as well as covering the globe with tin foil.
garyarmijo15 years ago
I built a tesla coil that gives 500 or more volts in the thin air around it, and I have yet to measure the current.
We began the Tesla by testing the small Plasma globe I bought at the smithsonian and found that a magnet did not read anything sitting on top of the globe. When we put a 2 x 2 inch x 1/4 thick piece of copper though, it read 200 or more volts.
I did not read the current, but that would only be to connect the meter in series with a wire wrapped around the base of the globe (bare) to a ground which we have been hammering a steel rod into the ground 2 feet. Ultimately a copper rod hammered or dug to a depth of 8 ft is Ideal.
bear1995 years ago
i would smash the globe
volthead5 years ago
I'm sure that most people know what a electromagnet is, An arc is a conductive path like a wire. So what happens when a magnet is brought close to a wire carrying current: It moves. And plasma carrying a current has almost no mass so it responds far more.
'Tesla coil' isn't the correct statement here. A tesla coil creates high voltage, high frequency by means of resonance rise. And in every example i've seen they are 'air core' transformers with secondary coils well over 100x larger than the primary. This transformer on the other hand is a fly-back transformer (a tiny version of the one in your 'old tube type t.v. AKA cathode ray tube or CRT for short) these have a ferrite (iron) core. While this is not a tesla coil itself, It may be an adequate power source for a small table-top version of one. But this is still a very neat hack! :)
freezier6 years ago
that little thing can't hurt you. well it can hurt you, but not kill you. unless you have a pacemaker. plasma balls can burn you, but its not going to stop your heart. not enough current. even if you were grounded with one hand and grabbed the electrode with the other hand, you wouldn't die. it would hurt. you would experience involuntary muscle contractions. if there was a high current power source nearby and your muscle contractions made you contact that, then you might die. I've taken the total output of 4- 1 gallon glass SWC's @120,000v across my hands, and while i wouldn't recommend the experience, I'm not dead yet.
can this thing kill me
Depends,ITs only high voltage and low amperage,hook it up to a car battery and you can kill the planet,attach it to a 9V and You may Be fine.
Zettu7 years ago
The magnet turns the coil into an inductor, it has to do with electromagnetic fields resonating and collapsing, if anything i said is wrong, feel free to correct me, but that is how i and many other people understand this effect.
Spedy Zettu7 years ago
Any coil of wire acts as an inductor, no extra magnets required. This time of coil, when ran at resonance, will burn out. That ISN;T a tesla coil. Its a type of transformer know as a flyback, or LOPT. Tesla coils, as they are generally known, are air-cored resonant transformers. As for the last picture, the plasma is very sensitive to magnetic fields. There is more than 1 lead coming out of the HV winding, its just on the bottom. Hope this was informative.
You're right, It's not a Tesla coil, but it produces high voltages at high frequencies and low current, like that of a Tesla coil. That's why people tend to get them confused.
If you stick a plasma globe (just the globe by itself, I mean, without the power source) on the breakout point of a Tesla coil, you should get some nice results.

Did you make an instructable on that?
No, I didn't. Like I said, the video isn't mine, and neither is the coil or globe.
Just to be clear, that video is not mine.
a LOPT is not a transformer. but essentially you are correct.
You are kidding right? LOPT stands for Line OutPut Transformer...
Spedy Spedy7 years ago
Arg, typo attack! there should be an "edit" button. "time" should be "type" And more on the magnets and plasma: Like the Aurora Borealis, which spirals around the earth's magnetic poles, the plasma in the globe will do the same same thing in a magnetic field!
sorta; Aurora is charges praticals being accelerated into and down towards the poll, smashing into molecules in the upper atmosphere and causing the electrons in them to either leave 'ions' or to produce photons. as the electrons fall back into their stable orbits. hence the cool lights... the ionised gas in the globe,and the ions are being attracted to the magnetic poll. on the magnet.
yes chargeed particals also come off fly back transformers thats y u hav only 1 main high woltage wire the other is the earth with watever the spark touches now becomes the earth
kaboom05 Spedy7 years ago
THANK YOU some 1 understands
maker12 Spedy7 years ago
alson in old scanner cfl drivers, ans ALL CRT TVS! BIG 28KV ONES TOO!
Spedy maker127 years ago
What? I assume you are talking about where to find flybacks. I'm pretty sure CFL drivers aren';t flybacks though.
Derin Spedy7 years ago
it isnt
maker12 maker127 years ago
i ment also....
Zettu Spedy7 years ago
sorry for sloppy info, i'm still learning :) thanx for the info i'll remember that for later There are so many types of coils, its insane I have been working on making a Bedini Motor, or SSG as some have termed it, the Simplified School Girl Motor, YouTube it if you would like to see some of the peoples replications of it.. Cya
the magnets make the plasma globe's arc stop hitting the glass because plasma which is what the arcs are made of is affected by magnetic fields because it is made of only ions
LaxLuvr6 years ago
I like this instructable because you showed some effort but it is NOT a tesla coil! if you didn't know that then you are lucky to be alive. These can kill you. Please be careful when dealing with high voltage power supplies. Please remember that wood is quite a good conductor when you dealing with high enough voltages. I have a few questions. What happens when you remove the cover and leave the red wire un-grounded? How do you measure the output voltage? How long does the battery last? Is it possible to make a small jacobs ladder out of this? I would appreciate any help.
This device is a USB powered plasma globe. USB can't supply more than 5W (5V x 1A) so the device is relatively safe. It generates a few thousand volts at a very, very low current. It might be unpleasant if you touch it, it might burn your finger, but it won't kill you by electrocution. If you turn it on and generate a spark in an environment with a lot of dust or chemical vapors it might blow you up.
i agree i've taken apart one of these and i burn't my finger a small bit when i touched high voltage wire. a slight tingling sensation is all because its low current, but the current and voltage depends on each plasma globe
"electrocautery" is what I think your talking about. It is used in medical procedures to remove warts or something like that. look it up on wikipedia for more info.
I don't know.... Standing in a metal pan of water and wrapping your face in tin foil while doing this may be funner!
Just for those who may not be acquainted with electricity, DO NOT DO THIS. You will in most cases be SERIOUSLY INJURED or more likely KILLED.
I've get zapped by some of these things before. It's really nasty, but it doesn't have enough current to kill you, unless you have a really weak heart.
it takes 30mA's to stop a human heart. While a tesla coil is by nature high voltage and low current, I'm sure this little gadget is way over 30mA's
you're wrong. i touched my plasma globe that supplies 2-5 kV at more than 30mA and all i got was singehd skin
This is not a Tesla Coil. It's a neon transformer. Probably solid state. They supply 6000 volts max and far from 30 milliamps. They can't kill you unless you have a weak heart.
Its a LOPT not a neon. Its closer to the power supply of a CRT or TV than a gas discharge tube
I can tell by looking at the picture, that the transformer is almost identical with one, I found inside a neon table lamp. Anyway, the point is that it doesn't have enough power to kill you.
Although you are most probably right that there is a neon transformer in there, you forget how a tesla coil works. The 6kV from the transformer are, in the tesla coil, turned into about 50kV in most cases. It wouldn't be a tesla coil without that.
viacin viacin6 years ago
if the battery could sustain it.
Say, how could ANY gadget powered by a 9 V battery injure or kill somebody?
There is enough power in a 9v battery to kill you. Electricity is a really odd thing, a tiny amount can kill you, and huge amounts can be harmless depending on just how they are applied.

In fact, Here is a story of someone killing themselves with a 9 volt battery without even bumping up the voltage.


The discussion here:

goes into some more detail, including some references to studies showing that with some bad luck, even microamps can kill.

Yeah, I've also heard that a guy was able to withstand thousands of volts during his own exsecution in an electrical chair. Since the process has failed, they've let him free. Shortly afterwards, however, he was playing with his kis and got "electrocuted" by a 1.5V battery, which has killed him. So yeah, even a small power source can kill you, especially because it can deliver a huge amount of power for a short time (with some voodoo) which is just enough to stop your heart. But the guy in the article you've cited here didn't die because of a few microamps. He has managed to deliver just enough current for his heart to stop (apparently, the body's internal resistance is much lower than that of the skin, which can cause your body to draw some lethal current even from a 9V battery).
This is so wrong in so many ways I'm not sure it should be dignified with a response, but I'm pathologically incapable of letting such misstatements pass without comment, so here goes: First, no one on death row gets turned loose on the streets because of equipment failures. That's just silly. Second, a 1.5V battery could not kill anyone, even someone who survived the electric chair, which no one does, unless it fell on their head from a very great height or they aspirated it and choked to death on it.
Whoa, ok, I've just heard this story from somebody else. I haven't verified its truthfulness........
viacin CoolKoon6 years ago
the 9v battery is supplying the sorce voltage, but a tesla coil is nothing but a air gape TRANSFORMER. So that little 9v's could easily be 500 to 1,000v's (I'm guessing here, but it's based on my expierence with a 24" tesla coil at 15,000 v's) Besides, the volts (pressure) wont hurt you anyway, it's the current (rate of flow) that kills. PLEASE, IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS STUFF DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS PROJECT! THIS THING CAN KILL YOU IN A MILISECOND!! NEVER FORGET IT!
No it can't. The only way it can stop your heart is if someone stabs you with it, or maybe if you have an implanted pacemaker or defibrillator. USB can't supply more than 5W. That means your HV supply, no matter what its output voltage, cannot supply more than 5W (generously assuming 100% efficiency in the voltage/power conversion). If it produced 100kV the maximum output current would be 50uA. It will spark and might burn your skin where the spark hits you, but it won't kill you.
How about if you don't understand ohms law, don't preach? There's ZERO chance of dying from that thing. You could take it into the bathtub and be fine. its probably in the picoamp range.
CoolKoon viacin6 years ago
How could you get ANY decent current flow from a 9V battery (especially if you transform it to 1000s of volts)?
Well, short of eating a battery, you would have a really hard time doing any serious harm to yourself with your standard 9V battery. I just wanted to point out that electricity and water are not a good combination, since not everyone knows just how dangerous electricity can be. My personal rule of thumb is wetness and electricity don't mix ever, regardless of where you are sourcing your current from. On a bit of a tangent, I was just reading about tasers, and from what I understand they can use a standard 9 volt battery and still put out 50,000 volts. Link http://www.taser.org/faq.html
Ever watched the wattage? Voltage is just one component of wattage. Assume the input is 9v, .5 amps. Thats 4.5 watts. If it outputs 50k volts, the current will be something like .5/50000, or .00001 amps. Same power output as input.
CoolKoon Spedy6 years ago
Which is never the case (some power is lost in the inverter circuit, and even more is lost in the transformer)
Always remeber its the VOLTS that jolt but the Mills (watts) that kills!!!!
wattage is voltage * amperage.
Nope. It's the evil amperes that kill :P
That's true, but those thingies penetrate the skin I think. And yeah, I've heard about tasers causing deaths, but anything involving sufficient amount of volts (above ~90, especially at low frequencies) can cause heart problems.
Well, the voltage isn't what kills you, it's the current. From Ohm's law: Current = Voltage/Resistance, the higher voltage does result in a larger draw of current. I just found a table of the affects of different amounts of current on the human body, if you are interested. http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/elecovrv.html It is about half way down the page.
No, it doesn't. Ohm's law states exactly that if you increase the voltage the current will decrease (if the resistance/power remains the same). And in case of a taser I wouldn't even talk about some current as basically it's a voltage multiplier with a big capacitor to store the charge. Once the charge is released, it becomes an electric pulse (that seems to disrupt the heart because of its energy).
Ohm's law: U(voltage) = R(resistance) * I(current)

According to ohm's law, your statement 'if you increase the voltage the current will decrease if resistance remains the same' is mathematically impossible.
However if you increase voltage but power remains the same, the current WILL decrease.
Why would it be impossible? Ever heard of transformers? :P
Well, yes, I suppose magic beats maths any day of the week :D
viacin Madcoil6 years ago
ha ha ha. well played.
That magic would also be called "inductance" but thats what boring people call it.
And even in those circumstances ohm's law still applies. You can't increase the current in a circuit by increasing the resistance in said circuit. Changes in current or voltage in the secondary will influence the inductive reactance in the primary, consistent with ohm's law, even though you have to use the formula for impedance.
no one said you increase current by increasing resistance. no one.

yea: ohms law. V=R x I (and) R=V / I (and) the one i think ur having problems with; I= V / R .

AND teh change in the coil will only infulence the reactance if both the magnitude and the phase of whatever your impedance is and this depends on both the resistance and the reactance. involved before judging if it is inductive or resistive. or resistive i think. but you never use that.

any who. its still silly to play around with high frequancy phase.
No, but I answered a comment that said QUOTE: 'Ohm's law states exactly that if you increase the voltage the current will decrease (if the resistance/power remains the same).' Are you saying this sentence is compatible with ohm's law? Because it's not. If the RESISTANCE stays the same, the current will increase, if the POWER stays the same, the current will decrease.
Doh, I forgot to factor in the fact that the battery itself would limit current, along with the windings in the transformer. In the constant Resistance and Current scenario, you are completely correct, but I was thinking just along the lines of a constant Resistance, with voltage increasing and pulling as much current as it could. I have no idea about the effects of the capacitor in the circuit though. Pseudo-edit: Just saw your post, madcoil.
Every power source can supply only a limited amount of current (actually power). Fortunately a battery (especially the dry cells) can never supply enough electrical energy to kill a person (well, maybe enough to kill some with cardiovcascular problems but then those can be even killed by scaring them really badly). Anyway a capacitor is actually something like a battery. It has however much smaller capacity but it can carry much bigger instantaneous currents (can be discharged much faster than a battery can) by storing the charge (energy drained from the battery) as an electrostatic field. If the capacitor is big enough and the EMF of the charge is high enough then it can supply lethal currents for a short time (in the range of tens of milliseconds I think but it can be up to several seconds) without draining too much current from a battery.
dont waste your time clicking that link...it gives 404 not found(not trying to offend anybody if anybody did get offended im sorry)
you could drink the battery acid...
a 9v can produce that current but for a millisec or so
a transformer uses the energy in a 9v to create a magnetic field witch then pushes the electrons in a small coil to create BIGGER amounts of energy
Spedy kaboom056 years ago
Ok. Lemme explain this. I don't know how much current a 9 volt will supply, but you aren't gonna die from it. The coil does not make any energy. It just changes it. On one side of the transformer, low-volt high current goes in. On the other side, High volt low current goes out. The wattage stays the same (except for losses) and a transformer won't get you more energy than you put in. You ain't getting more power out than you put in. If you power it with a small power source, small power goes out. Big power source (wall outlet, power lines..) Means big out, and that could kill you. Personally, I doupt anything USB powered will kill you.
Moral of my story was water and electricity are dangerous when mixed. Not if this would actually kill you or not.
Kataze CoolKoon7 years ago
It's not the voltage that will kill you, it's the current.
YEA your right but for arguments sake voltage can disrupt the nervous system and cause the heart to begin beating out of sync. and this rarely (but has and can) lead to death. but generally the amps kill you first lol.
aka amperage
again... RF burns and possibly death. very very unlikely from this model tho. a RF burn is not a "burn" there is no pain, however as this ionised plasma in the globe is at such a high freq. it damages your system. much like very loud noises damage your hearing.. thats the easiest analogy I could think of. and to get the plasma plumes the the voltage would have to be very high. i mean in the thousands and up. however amp is proportionate to the voltage. so a usb with already a really low amperage will not kill you however electricity is never a sure thing. so saftey ALWAYS is a good step. and yes if you know what you doing you can kill someone with a 9v batt. let alone the voltage in a usb. (***)just be careful.
No you won't. You need some schoolin'.
YEAH BOY im gonna go try that right now
Berkin kaboom056 years ago
That'll be an interesting way to die.
BobS6 years ago
About the danger to your heart: I think STATISTICALLY the chance is small. But the 'weak heart' part is misleading: It is about the electrical conductivity system in the heart (AV pacer, HIS bundle, etc). Cardiac arrest can happen to very healthy athletes, they do not have a weak heart. If the voltage happens to run through this conductivity system (and just like the moving arc, you cannot predict its path!), it could 'temporarily' disrupt the normal rhythm: you could end up with VF (ventricular fibrillation= cardiac death). Temporarily: that is, if there is someone with a defibrillator and oxygen around!
yeah, just use the plasma globe as a defribrillator! lol
casey321b6 years ago
that would be an awesome lighter.
yea just take out the transformer, connect to a battery and you're done! :D (actually much more complicated than that. but oh well nice idea if they could make stuff like this smaller)
ggiihh16 years ago
how bad would it be if somebody was to say use this as oh.. I don't know... a tazer?
Berkin ggiihh16 years ago
Considering 12 amps go through those, it would most likely kill you.
ehm, you know this thing is originally made to run on usb power? usb only supplies 500 mA so it wil never send 12 A through your body
500ma is well beyond the minimal kill current, so if that's what USB supplies, it can reach kill potential. However, the reason that you don't die when you touch the red and black wires is that although USB has the capabilities to do so, it doesn't. Let's look cloder:


So we know that ohm's law states that:

V=IR => V/R=I

This means that the current flowing through your body is equal to the voltage output of the USB line (5V), divided by the resistance of your body. Because the resistance of your body cannot even be determined by using a multimeter because it is so high, let's just assume that it's equal to about 10 million ohms. Therefore 5/10000000=I, so I is about five millionths of an amp. Nowhere near enough for you to even feel it.

Of course, let's now look at the tesla coil. I am going to assume that it produces, oh, about 50kV, of 50,000 volts. So your new V, is going to be 50,000. Therefore, 50,000/10,000,000=I so this time, I equals 5/100, or about 5mA. Getting shocked by that won't kill you, but it'll be very unpleasant.

However, we were playing under the assumption that your body's resistance is about 10,000,000 ohms, but that is false. Your true body resistance depends on how far apart the points are, so if they're relatively close, I'd say that the resistance would be less than half of that. And if your resistance is halved, then the current is doubled.

Easier way of saying it: This thing could kill...
No, it couldn't. You're assuming the source has zero or near zero resistance. Think about it, 5 ma at 50 kV = 250W. How does 5V at 1 A = 5W become 250W? It doesn't. The HV source has a very high resistance. That means that anything that touches it, such as a human body will load it and cause the voltage to drop. You cannot get a lethal shock from a USB powered device, unless you charge a very large capacitor to a very high voltage then discharge it into your body.

If this device produced 50kV the spark would be quite a bit longer. I'd guess by the look of the video that it is producing 5-10kV.
yes most produce and run on 2-5 kV
what you are saying is logical, but the human body's resistance isn't linear. how higher the voltage is how lower the resistance is, i don't know it precisely. a 50kv tesla coil is deadly.
Xellers Xellers6 years ago
Oh, oops, I meant 5/1000 in the second to last paragraph.
What if somebody uses a non-USB-type plasma globe? I had one once. They run on full house current, unless there's a transformer in it.
i think there are 2 transformers in it, 1 to go from 230/110 to a lower voltage (like 5 or 12?) and then to a few kilovolts. because otherwise i think it s a bit too expensive
yes that is right. mine is plugged into 120 volts from thw wall and is transformed down to 12 volts.
Still, one should be careful playing around with even that kind of voltage. If it's high enough, it can destroy human tissue, and probably kill a person in the process.
Destroy human tissue? I only burnt my fingertips with a plasma globe. If you hold the ball with your whole hand, and touch someone, it zaps them. I do that to my brothers all the time.
ggiihh1 Berkin6 years ago
oh. so... bad idea. got it. Hey look a squirrel!!!!
if you held it on their body, all it would do is singe their skin. no jiggling about or screaming would be achieved. but it would be wake up your freind with one of those :D
Koil_16 years ago
OK you do realize that a USB device uses 5 volts right? I've tried overpowering these things before just to see if it would be a little more of a beefy storm. All that happened was that the thing burned out. It was somewhat less fun than I was looking for. I replaced the MOSFET with an old one I scavenged from an old dead motherboard which worked A LOT better than the original. The point here is that if you want more power, you gotta beef the rest of the thing up to handle it. Just some advice from the peanut gallery...
then you had bad luck/quality i can power mine up to 25 volts
same here. mine runs on twelve and managed to push 30v into it, much better (although the glass heats up and i think it might explode if i use it for more than 5 mins at a time)
Xellers6 years ago
I'm sorry, but after reading this instructable, I came to the conclusion that you have no idea about what you are doing, and know very little about the underlying principles of the device. This is certainly not a Tesla Coil as you claim in the first step, and it is not a good idea to guess about how something works when you're dealing with high voltage.
he's right it is not a tesla coil on its own, i am afraid. the wire with high voltage is connected to some steel wool which is put inside the little ball on a stick thing inside the plasma globe. without the special gases inside, all it does is a small spark and yes LaxLuvr it is possible to make tiny jacobs ladder out of it.
NozeDive6 years ago
Can I us one of these to make an "ion lifter"? I have an old one that plugs into a an outlet.
No, this outputs AC voltage, not DC, you would need a rectifier. Also, the current would probably be a bit too .low for it too work. But, if you can get a HV rectifier, then go ahead.
pandaman3306 years ago
I have a question could you just break the glass and plug it in or should u put a ground cable to it because I want to make a tesla coil
well I found out that in side there is argon gas so when it breaks this happens

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so I was just adding to my last comment about it
I can't follow your link
sorry I was trying to put up the video here is the link


Sailor16 years ago
Plasma is the "4th state of matter" in between a gas and a solid. the physical state of the plasma is such that it can be contained within magnetic fields, (something to do with repulsing the magnetic field) there is a lot of research on the subject, I.E room sized windows on spacecraft where the only physical barrier between the vacuum of space and the internal atmosphere of the spacecraft is the plasma contained within a magnetic field. sounds like Star Trek but they are working on it now. Magnetic field containment is also used in the experimental fusion reactor "tokamak" which uses high energy plasma.
LaxLuvr6 years ago
Is it possible to make a super micro jacobs ladder out of this?
geeklord6 years ago
I'm pretty sure its because plasma is affected by magnetic fields(i bet 20 other people already said that...) Isn't that why there are big arcs of fire that come off the sun and mess up something that i can't remember on earth???
LaxLuvr6 years ago
was this a 3.5 " globe?
va1p3r6 years ago
Hi dudes i was wondering if somebody had this circuit ?
Koil_16 years ago
If you wanna try something that looks really cool with a magnetic field, try this. Take a piece of clear double stick tape and some solid core winding or insulated craft wire. Put a line of the tape around the globe at it's widest part. Use that to fix the wire to it. Wrap it with about 20 winds if you can get that much on there without it slipping. With the uniform coils wound you can use an oscilator circut or an AC transformer to apply a small voltage to the coil to energize it. You'll find the plasma starts moving in circles or pulsating. If you really wanna get technical you can take appart an old TV and use the aiming coils from the back of the picture tube. This kind of thing is after all what they're for.
SuperJesus7 years ago
........probably a transformer??? People, if you plan on messing around with a high voltage fly back transformer and you don't even know what its called or what it does, don't mess with it. Please take the time to learn about it or any other device that requires/exerts high voltage.
Agreed. No offence, but it seems like a lot of the people posting here should not be messing around with this project. If this is your first, or even 20th electrical project, please reconsider. Hey, no one wants to meet (super) jesus tonight, now do they? :-D
Koil_1 viacin6 years ago
Having watched a close but not so brilliant friend get a plasma burn I would have to agree. No matter how cool SuperJesus is, I just don't want to meet him that way. I'd rather wait until he comes to get me more or less....
Zensunni6 years ago
given the choice between a little spark to a screwdriver and a cool plasma globe, I think ill go with the globe. but it is still a kewl instructable.
Nimphious6 years ago
If I had to guess, I'd assume that the magnet interferes with an inductor on the PCB. The magnet causes the output voltage to drop because of this, and therefore at a certain distance you can make a corona appear, but not quite have enough voltage for the plasma to arc to the surface of the sphere itself. Anyone have a better theory?
denilsonsa6 years ago
Hey, use a better camera next time, or at least one that can get pictures in focus. All pictures and videos are too blurred, it is really hard to see anything. Also, even with my volume at maximum, I couldn't hear you on any of those videos.
Chewy19936 years ago
If you take apart a old scanner, be sure to keep the tube and transformer. the transformer with 16v input created about an inch spark gap. It was amazing! Whatever you do DO NOT TOUCH THE ANODE OR CATHODE! you can be shocked just by touching one if you're grounded.
viacin6 years ago
btw, if no one has posted it yet... Plasma has a magnetic field, and is attracted/repelled by magnets. In fact, a magnet is the best way to contain plasma. China's fussion reactor (supposed to open in 2010..ppft...maybe 2025) will use magnets to contain the super hot plasma inside the reactor sphere.
ACHTUNG!7 years ago
FYI the thing inside the plasma ball is not a tesla coil it is simply a hv discharge wire a tesla coil actually has a primary and secondary winding and is essentially and open air resonance transformer. Plasma balls however are not i recently took one apart and they work by a special mix of(dont quote me on the gas) i believe argon and a few other gases inside the bulb that makes a unique arc and uses high frequency hv current and IS NOT a tesla coil. just wanted to clear that up and good tutorial keep it up
It is a kind of Tesla coil. There is a transformer on the circuit board. If you want to make your own high power version, there is one on my site.
And I quote wikipedia: "Transistor Tesla coils use the lowest primary operating voltage, typically between 175 to 800 volts, and drive the primary winding using either a half-bridge or full-bridge arrangement of bipolar transistors, MOSFETs or IGBTs to switch the primary current." It is a small coil yes, but still a type of Tesla Coil.
ahh no, well it is the same principals as a driver for a microwave oven. transformer charges caps, discharges in to magnetron and the back emf of the magnetron charges the caps in a never ending cycle like a Tesla coil! and so on multiplying voltage....... ahhhhh get your story straight, if you don't know that you that you shouldn't be playing with that stuff!!!! D A N G E R I O U S!
That's why I said it is a kind of Tesla coil. It doesn't have a spark gap like a classic Tesla coil. Instead what most of them use is some type of transistor oscillator to drive the transformer primary. It is not like a microwave though. Magnetrons use DC input. Plasma globes are high frequency AC.
or they just use a diode.......... half wave dc...
any halogen gas will work. depending on the colors you wanted.
yep this is true. there is no Tesla coil in 1 of those... its just a high frequency high voltage, low discharge transformer....lol
kaboom057 years ago
sorry mi mistake with the fly back u just get mostly high voltage and postive or negative irons (iforget witch one) flying around witch enables the spark
kaboom057 years ago
FLY back transformer. in ur tv u have 1 at the back causeing millions of static volts and much much tesla ( tesla = can be bothered explaning) but all in all dont get cocky around the fly back transformers coz small lack of concentration and poof all that labour that ur mum went through has now just died
lug big lug7 years ago
the purple stuff that goes into a circle when a magnet gets near, is called plasma (4th state of matter)which can b controlled my magnetisim. put a wire attached to a aa batterie (both ends) and it should do something close tho the same, but it would look kewl.
and also hurt youself. as the energy uses your body to earth. not smart.
nope, it would not if u do not touch the wire
yea.. well thats kinda obvious??? its still a silly idea.
then if u made a electromagnet or a little EMP (placed far enough away that it will not hurt it) and placed it near or set it off it would create a really weird looking plasma form, I did it and it looked like a very weird color flame
hey, if you put a coin on the outside of the globe you can "free the power" (make the sparks come out of the glass. me n my friends did this n lit matches with it
please dont do that too much. its not very good for you.
last_decoy7 years ago
before u try this.... go to google yes google, im not putting its url here im sure you all can figgure that one out, and ask google what RF Burns are. then you will think twice about cracking this open!!!
ok...i did, and all it is is a burn...that just happens to be on the inside as well as the outside...
search a picture of one and see...........
honse2467 years ago
WHAIGHT if u just want the globe off then y dont u just take a hacksaw to it it would be the same thing just the globe is off and would probly heart rly bad lol but still it would be cool just to have a Tesla coil!
Spedy honse2467 years ago
If you hacksaw the globe it will break and send glass shards everywhere. For the last time its not powered by a tesla coil.
honse246 Spedy7 years ago
yeh so if u dont have a glode wolnt the electrisity go every whare if u tern it on?? i have no clu lol
no, if you remove the glass and alow only the electrode in the middle to remain, the effect would be much the same as when playing with the thick red wire that leads to it. As the videos displayed, that high-output lead only generated a spark about 1 cm long.
Spedy honse2467 years ago
No. The reason the sparks are so long in the globe is because of the gases inside it, usually low-pressure helium or sometimes argon. If you did it w/o the globe not much at all would happen, except maybe a little corona. (Please use the spell check function, it only takes a few seconds and makes it easier for everyone to read what your saying)
honse246 Spedy7 years ago
ahhhh! that makes sense. I always wounded that lol!
highvoltage7 years ago
Thank you for the correction, although couldn't you charge up several capacitors or very large capacitors up to a voltage that could be discharged through the human body and be lethal? I am well aware that capacitors just hold what voltage you hook up to them, but that voltage can become quite large with the use of some larger capacitors or capacitor banks. My point here being that small voltages can be made lethal, that's all.
highvoltage7 years ago
you're joking, right? "How could you seriously get injured by a 9v??". Well there are these really cool things called CAPACITORS, and they take that 9v and multiply it by however much the capacitor holds, and it all discharges at once. It really wouldn't be that hard to get it up that high, especially with some home made capacitors. Pretty cool though.
You my friend... are stupid. a capacitor just holds the current that you hook up to it. Now think of this. If my capacitor holds 450 volts, and I hook up a 9 volt battery to it, by what you said, the capacitor will be holding 4050 volts. Why don't you go hook up 4050 volts to a 450 volt capacitor... tell me how it goes.
It's actually very plausible that you can produce dangerous currents with a 9V DC battery. You're neglecting other factors such as amperes and other units used to measure currents. Of course, if you bridge the gap between a 9V DC 's terminals, there will be no way to shock yourself, but this Tesla coil can lower one unit of current and raise another that can make this very dangerous. Hope this helps.
Phoghat7 years ago
I think it might be a bit more prudent to hook up the 9V clip WITHOUT THE BATTERY, and then put the battery in.
cotton7 years ago
lol and the answer is the magnet is natureraly conductife and you are the ground so the energy hunrs you down
in response to your wimpy sparks (no offence) you could really increase the size by first using needles and metal balls as electrodes and arking not to a screw driver but a metal needle connected to a good ground connection like the copper water pipes in your home
Hellchild7 years ago
Dude whatever you do, DON'T SPIT ON IT! I did once when I was bored the spit was on my tounge and the globe and I got shocked through the glass! WTF!?!?!?!?!?
encompass7 years ago
well the reason is that every moving electrical charge creates a magnetic field, and so, the magnetic fields interact. You can actually predict how a magnet will effect a charge using the simple technique of the "right hand palm" rule...check it out on wikipedia etc. if u want an explanation
Sorry to be negative, but just a couple of corrections. As other people have pointed out, this is not a tesla coil. Also, while it may output a high voltage, there is almost no current. This means that you can touch the bare wire without it hurting at all. I just got one for Christmas, so I touched it without it hurting a bit. (but safety should always come first)
ramroids557 years ago
The magnets affect the plasma because the plasma is actually electrically charged particles and the magnet force from the magnets repel the electrons from the plasma. Pretty Nice Tutorial tho.
ARVash7 years ago
Magnets can affect the flow of plasma not sure why, but I know they do.
maslo7 years ago
Nice instructable, however the videos were IMHO too long and sort of boring. If you make them e.g. 30 long, they still will be able to contain the same amount of information while being more attractive. The next thing is, that your voice is too quiet - I almost couldn't hear ya. Anyway, keep going :-)
andy7 years ago
This is only a guess but perhaps the magnets are disrupting the operation of the coils, there's a resonance thing going on therein and the introduction of a magnet just might throw it out. As for the coronal eye of mystery, it could just be the result of reduced coil power, enough to light up the gas close too, but not enough for the full effect... drew
considering the output of the globe can't be more than a few milliamps, I really wouldn't worry about touching it with 2 hands. sure, you'll feel a zap, but it's not lethal. good job.
Ora7 years ago
Anybody wanna try to modulate the Tesla coil to make one of those musical ones?
I wonder if you could use that high voltage power supply from the plasma globe to drive an ion-flow pc cooler instead of just making a spark...?
funwithpower4242 (author)  MisterSlippy7 years ago
well .. i later put the spark from the wire to the circle of an old top of the set antenna (ya know, rabbit ears with the loop) and i did almost feel some kind of air flow, but very subtle, after a couple of minutes. where can i learn more about using HV devices like this to make ion flow things?
LinuxH4x0r7 years ago
Anyone know how to make a USB powered plasma globe? Nice Instructable.
i allways thought thos things were ...pointless, but idk good job.