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how do you measure HV? Answered

what's the best way to measure High voltage (I think my output is somewhere between 10kv and 50 kv)? Is there a formula for the spark length and humidity (I can measure humidity)? I need to buy an appropriate capacitor for my tesla coil, my initial HV is from an ignition coil.

Discussions

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FelixSP

6 years ago

Maybe a static DC Voltmeter?
http://www.celnav.de/hv/staticvoltmeter.jpg

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gmoon

10 years ago

Voltage divider? For instance, if the input voltage is 50KV, a 10M and 100K divider would give you an output of about 500V (495.5V).

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tazerboygmoon

Reply 6 years ago

Are you sure? I got 4950 volts

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forgesmith

10 years ago

How do I measure HV?

Well if my hand jerks back it's about 5kV, if my arm jumps back and it stings that's about 9kV, if I completely jump backwards and wonder what happened that's at least 15kV, if I get awake slightly singed and find myself up on the roof then...

What? Oh, you want to know how you can measure it! Never mind then.

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guyfrom7up

10 years ago

I have an oscilloscope, but how would I use it in this situation? I think a voltage divider would be bad in this situation cause dont resistors fail at a certain voltage

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gmoonguyfrom7up

Reply 10 years ago

If it's just DC, then a VOM / divider will work fine. You can use a scope, but you'd need a high voltage probe. Which is what? A voltage divider.

It's current that will cause resistor failure. If the scope or VOM is high impedance, where does the current have to go?

Of course, if you're nervous then a VOM is a lot cheaper to replace....

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NachoMahmagmoon

Reply 10 years ago

. ROFLMAO. Do GMTA or what? We even used the same page, just at diff URLs!

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gmoonNachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

Oh man, you're right... just a minute or two apart. LOL for sure!

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guyfrom7upgmoon

Reply 10 years ago

llol anyways the voltage divider didn't work, my multimeter went beserk, flickering random numbers (I think 1900 was displayed a lot), but I don't know...

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gmoonguyfrom7up

Reply 10 years ago

Even on the AC setting? What kinda frequencies are talkin' about?

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guyfrom7upgmoon

Reply 10 years ago

ohhhh ac settings, I'll try that soon Oh, and is there an answer to that diode question? Cause if its ac then I'll have to rectify it, and a couple lower voltage diodes are cheaper

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gmoonguyfrom7up

Reply 10 years ago

Did you really fry the VOM? And the driver. Wow. Ouch.

I'm gonna "punt" on the diode question...even though there are lots of HV diode boards (multi diode) listed for sale, and most have the "balancing" resistors (so they must be series.) See what other tesla builders use, and do the same.

But I can't resist adding this video:

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guyfrom7upgmoon

Reply 10 years ago

well, I'm a bit mad about the VOM, but it just gives me an excuse to get a newer better one. My driver was just a simple 555 timer that wasn't properly protected, I'm going to build a new one that is heavily protected. I'm going to see if I can just get one HV diode

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gmoonguyfrom7up

Reply 10 years ago

If you were expecting a continuous 50KV from the ignition coil, you could have big voltage spikes when starting/stopping the 555....

might have something to with the demise of both...

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gmoongmoon

Reply 10 years ago

I hope it wasn't bad advice I gave...

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guyfrom7up

10 years ago

well, my multimeter and my ignition coil driver is busted, time to go get/make new and better ones.

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Tool Using Animal

10 years ago

If I remember correctly, the general figure used is one megavolt per meter for air at STP.

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guyfrom7upTool Using Animal

Reply 10 years ago

according to your volt de graff instructable it's 3 megavolts per meter... which one is right?

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Gjdj3

10 years ago

I'm not sure... as Cameron said, an Oscilloscope might be the best option if you can get around the price.

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gmoonGjdj3

Reply 10 years ago

A 'scope is useful if you need to see the "shape" of an AC signal. A cheap VOM works fine for typical sine wave AC or normal DC voltage. It's a "scale" issue...

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CameronSS

10 years ago

For a precise/accurate measurement, I believe that an oscilloscope is the instrument of choice. They can get pretty expensive, though, if you don't already have one-check local universities' electronics labs.