Introduction: Plasma Speaker DIY

This instructable will show you how to build a 555 timer driven plasma speaker that can play music from any device with a headphone jack. It will go through the materials, circuit diagram, and how to make it. The music is quiet, but clear and high quality sounding.

Below is a video that will demonstrate this working as well as help understand the instructions that are given on this instructable:

Step 1: Obtain Your Materials

All the materials for this can be obtained from an old television/ computer monitor and radioshack.


  1. Flyback Transformer(Found in an old CRT)
  2. 555 Timer chip (Found on ebay or radioshack)
  3. Fast diode(Found in an old TV)
  4. Audio cable(Found in a pair of headphones)
  5. 3 1nf capacitors
  6. 110nf capacitor
  7. 1 100nf capacitor
  8. 1 220uf capacitor
  9. 2 47ohm resistors
  10. 2 50Kohm potentiometers
  11. IRF540 Mosfet(Found in an old TV, almost any mosfet will do)
  12. Wire
  13. Popsicle sticks(For frame)
  14. Computer fan
  15. 9 volt battery clip(For the fan)
  16. Car battery/ dc power supply


  1. Soldering iron
  2. Wire strippers
  3. Voltmeter

Step 2: Wiring

This plasma speaker is easily wired. You can solder it onto a perfboard, hook it to a breadboard, or just messily solder all the components together. I would suggest not doing it the way I did as it was harder and not as neat. I didn't have a perfboard. After all the parts are soldered together, you can test your plasma speaker.

Step 3: Fan

The plasma speaker mosfet needs to be constantly cooled to avoid overheating. The fan cools the large heatsink and is powered by a separate 9 volt battery

Step 4: Primary Coil Winding

The primary coil has to be wound on the ferrite core of the flyback transformer. It is best to use 5 turns of some small gauge magnet wire. I used 5 turns of 24 gauge enamel coated copper magnet wire. You could experiment with different amounts of turns to get different output voltages and amperage's.

Step 5: The Frame

I built a frame that would hold all my messy electronics together, have a place for a fan, have a handle, and isolate the output flyback wires. There is a picture of my new frame and a picture of all my electronics spread out on a shoe-box. The frame also makes it portable

Step 6: Testing

To test this, hook it up to a music player, and turn it up to full volume. Turn on the fan next. Hook up the negative and positive leads to whatever power supply you are using. I have mine hooked up to a variable voltage DC power supply. When running at 13 volts, this draws 1.8-2 amps.

The flyback makes some vary large arcs even without music. When it plays music, the music is very quiet, but is extremely high quality sounding. The arc can be adjusted by the potentiometers. To get a louder music, hook the speaker up to an amplifier. The arc that is best for music is when the 2 output leads are about a centimeter apart and the arc is smooth. Have fun!

*This is dangerous!!! High voltage can seriously hurt people and kill some with pacemakers. Build this only if you have a good understanding of electronics and respect electronics. i am not liable for any harm you have caused yourself and others.