Hidden away in this not so flashy looking device are hours of fun and countless amazing experiments! I give you the Electric man! See video
The electric man is a device that allows you to electrify yourself with (in the case of this device) around 60KV!
It works by creating a High voltage potential (low current), one end of which (the negative) is connected to a grounding plate on your shoe and the other a metal plate connected to you.
This device is based loosely off of Information Unlimited's "Electric Man" which you can by the kit/plans/working device from here.
Do not use near computers or sensitive electrical equipment
Do not use near pace makers
Do not use in an explosive or flammable environment
Incorrect use may result in painful shocks
Do not use if you are unfamiliar with high voltages
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Step 1: Materials and Equipment
- 2X 12 stage 10KV Capacitor stack
- 24X 6KV Diodes
- Neon tube power supply - (Similar to http://tinyurl.com/lfqry9n)
- 42mm PVC pipe
- Insulated hook up wire
- 1mm thick Aluminium sheet
- Belt (of some type)
- 9V battery clip + 9V battery
- Electrical tape
- Strapping tape (used for muscle injuries etc)
- Rotary tool
- Butane Torch/hot air gun
- Soldering iron
- Pliers/wire cutters
Both the Capacitor stack and high voltage diodes can be found here (STACKA and VG6)
Step 2: Building: Step 1 - the Voltage Multiplier
Building this device on a whole is pretty simple, the most complicated part of the build though is also the most important part (and unfortunately the most expensive) - the voltage multiplier.
This Cockcroft-Walton voltage multiplier has 12 stages and utilizes two high voltage capacitor stacks to make the voltage multiplier compact (and therefore it's more "wearer" friendly). The multiplier also needs two high voltage diodes per stage (24 in total - mine are rated at 12KV but 6KV are fine).
This device could also be made with individual capacitors and less stages.
The voltage Multiplier used in the device is just an extension of the above schematic, where each capacitor stack is one "side" of the multiplier. But because of the unusual layout and size of the diodes (note there are diodes on both sides of the capacitor stack), soldering the correct configuration of the diodes can be tricky. Unfortunately I built this multiplier some time ago and don't have step by step pictures, but will try my best to explain it!
If you look the the schematic at each node between capacitors (except at the ends) there are two diodes connected. One with the arrow pointing towards the junction and one pointing away. We will use this configuration along with the fact that each soldering point on the capacitor stack is at a point between two capacitors to solder the Diodes in the right configuration.
On one side of the capacitor stack we will solder the diodes with the arrows of the diodes (Note, on the diodes that are used here that is the side with the silver marking) pointing towards one of the capacitor stacks and when you flip it over the other diodes will "point" in the direction of the other capacitor stack (refer to picture).
Note - the ends of the capacitor stack have slightly different configurations to each other. The input of the voltage multiplier, at one capacitor stack, is connected to one end of a capacitor that has no diode. At the output, one side has two diodes connected to one of its pins and no capacitor next to it. It is important that you get this configuration correct.
Once the voltage multiplier stack is finished you can connect the two input and output wires - the labeled GND is an input and output terminal so you need to solder two wires here (the output wire will be connected to a metal plate on your shoe and will need to be extra long - see step 5).
Step 3: Building: Step 2 - Voltage Multiplier Enclosure
This next step is pretty straight forwards but vital.
Because this voltage multiplier generates such high voltages we need to insulate it, this is done with a modified piece of PVC tubing.
To modify the tube so that it is compact and so the voltage multiplier stack can actually fit in it we need to heat and squish it. To heat the PVC tube I used and "hot air" attachment of my butane soldering iron, but a hot air gun will also work (and probably do a better job too).
Once the tube is soft and malleable squish it evenly with a flat piece of wood (or whatever else you have) until it is 2cm high.
Once cool, test to see if the Voltage multiplier fits, if not heat the pipe again and adjust (the voltage multiplier stack will be wrapped with electrical tape later to give it a snug fit so don't worry if the case is a little too big).
Step 4: Building: Step 3 - Neon Tube Power Supply
Because this piece is already made not much has to be done.
To make it a bit more compact i took the power supply apart and removed the input and output connectors.
At the input I soldered a 9V battery clip and at the output i soldered two wires, both of which will go to the input of the voltage multiplier stack.
This power supply generates about 2.5KV which will be doubled 12 times by the voltage multiplier stack to give a total voltage of about 60KV
Step 5: Step 5: Building - the Foot and Body Plates
Two metal plates are required to connect each end of the voltage multiplier to you and the ground. When you touch something you will complete the circuit and shock yourself and whatever/whoever you touch (an electric field will also be created around you when not touching anything).
The ground plate
This plate will be attached to your shoe.
Because of the high voltage, to properly insulate your foot from this plate it is important to use a thick soled shoe.
- Trace the outline of your shoe onto the 1mm thick piece of aluminium.
- With a pair of scissors cut out the outline - try to make it a bit smaller than the outline, this will allow you to better conceal it/connect it to your shoe
- Solder a long insulated wire to one side of the plate (this wire must be about 5-10cm longer than the length from your hip to the base of your foot).
- With either tape or glue (depends if you want the plate there permanently or not) stick the same side of the grounding plate you soldered the wire to your shoe (if you use tape like I did cut the plate a little smaller so you can stick it on properly).
The body plate
This is the plate that will be attached to you, it is important that it is large so there is a good connection between you and the voltage multiplier (Note: any sharp edges will act as a point where charge will build up and will shock you - as well as stab into you)
- Cut out a 6cm square out of the aluminium sheet (it can be bigger or smaller depending on you)
- Round the edges
- solder an insulated wire to the plate.
Connecting the metal plates
The smaller body plate will be connected to the "GND" side of the Voltage Multiplier, while the wire connecting to the foot plate will be soldered on the output (thread this wire through the Voltage Multiplier case first - for neatness).
Step 6: Building: Step 6 - Putting Everything Together
Now that you have all the individual pieces it's time to solder and connect them all together to form one mass that will be threaded onto a belt.
To connect the power supply and voltage multiplier together, simply solder two short insulated wires from the output of the power supply to the voltage multiplier input.
Once soldered together, simply tape the two main halves of the device (the voltage multiplier and the power supply) together with electrical tape. Before you do this put the voltage multiplier in it's case, add a couple of layers of electrical tape to ensure a snug fit.
I also taped a 9v battery to the power supply side of the device (I just use the battery clip as my switch - connect to turn it on etc).
After everything is taped together we need to create a loop that the belt will slide through (the belt is what will hold the device on you - the body plate will be taped onto you separately to ensure a good connection). To make this loop I also used electrical tape. I created the loop by folding some tape back over itself until i had a piece of plastic (no sticky side) about 8cm long. I then taped this to the back of the finished device (length-ways) to create the loop.
Step 7: Using the Device
To attach the device to yourself simply strap on the belt around your waist and tape on the body plate using strapping tape (you could incorporate the plate into the belt but by taping it to yourself you ensure that it doesn't come off or shock you because of a loose connection).
The grounding wire (the one that goes to the foot plate) can get in the way and trip you up so i find threading the wire through your pants (or whatever you're wearing) makes it a lot easier to move around.
Put on your shoes with the ground plate and you're ready to go!
Step 8: Testing/Experiments
The video above is of some experiments I did with this device (there is a lot more you can do besides shock people :P)
Step 9: The Science!
Is it safe?
If you're wondering why i'm still alive after playing with with this device, it's all to do with the low current. The current output of the neon tube power supply is fairly low, this current is further decreased as the voltage is multiplied and also decreased due to the high resistance of my body.This means that the overall effect is similar to constantly rubbing your feet on carpet to generate static electricity.This means that this device is fairly safe, though you should only build it if you are familiar with high voltages. I also would not recommend prolonged use of this device.
Why do things move?
Pepper and foil experiments.
In the video the first two experiments performed are me placing my hand close to some pieces of foil and then pepper. The result is that you can see them jump up and down. This is due to the electric field created between my hand and the objects and the difference in charge.
As I am connected to the positive terminal of the device i am positively charge and the ground (which is connected to the negative terminal) is negatively charged. Therefore there is a potential difference (voltage drop) between me and the surrounding environment. The pepper and foil (compared to me) are negatively charged and as i am positively charged they are attracted to me (and I to them). We also know this is true because of the first part of the Lorentz force equation that states that.
Force =Charge x Electric field
we also know that
Electric field = Voltage/distance
therefore we can approximate that the force between my hand and the objects are
Force =Charge x Voltage/distance
From the last equation we can see that as my hand gets closer to the foil and the pepper the force on them will increase (which we can see). They "jump" like they do in the video because as they leave the table they are still negatively charged, but as they hit my hand they become positively charged (because my hand is a constant positively charged source being created by the device) and therefore they are repelled by my hand. They then fall back to the table and become negatively charged and the cycle continues (see pictures).
Unlike the pepper and foil when the tissue touches my hand it stays there and doesn't fall back down, why is that? This is simply because unlike the foil and pepper the tissue doesn't leave the table meaning that it's negative charge is constantly being replaced. The end result is that the tissue appears "stuck" to my hand. The reason why the tissue is attracted to my hand is the same reason why the foil and pepper were.
You can perform a similar experiment with a glass rod and a silk cloth. If you rub the glass with the cloth, the cloth with remove some of the negative charge (electrons) this will make the glass rod positively charged. With this glass rod you can hover the tissue just like i did with my hand.