How to Get 100KV Out of Your Flyback!!! VERY SIMPLE SETUP

Introduction: How to Get 100KV Out of Your Flyback!!! VERY SIMPLE SETUP

I saw this instructable on how to make a high voltage power supply with a CFL ballast circuit and and a long time after that it hit me, instead of breaking all my parents light bulbs why not use an electronic ballast? So I tried it and I was blown away by the results for, what would normally be a rather large circuit (not the CFL, a circuit with the equivalent power), just a ballast. *sorry about the blurry pictures, I had to turn the flash off on the camera and it messed up the pictures a little. Also I didn't get very many pictures because I had already made it before I got the idea to make an instructable.

NOTE: I see a lot of people burning up their ballasts or getting very poor results. Im not sure why but some ballasts just dont like it and some transformers dont give very impressive sparks. My advice would be to do some quick tests in open air without oil, if it works then set everything up, if not then try different ballasts/transformers. And this will eventually kill your ballast no matter what kind it is, mine lasted for a while though.

-=DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE: do not attempt if you dont have very much experience with high voltage=-

Step 1: Hook Up the Primary

I have an instructable for finding the primary and secondary windings on a flyback but you wont need to follow that for this setup. The first two pins on the transformer should be separated a little further than the rest, the are your primary, hook up the ballast to these and test it just to make sure, there should be lots of corona and will probably arc to the other pins. NOTE: do not let it arc for very long or the insulation will fail in a matter of seconds!!! You dont have to use a flyback with a core encase you have any broken ones but the results will be pore. 

Step 2: Insulate It

Because flybacks cant hold such a high voltage your going to need to submerge it in oil. Before you do that solder wires to your primary's and cut a length of the high voltage wire from the out put and solder that on the second output pin. I find that the small plastic Folgers containers wok well. After you have selected a container to put your transformer in and have soldered all the necessary pins put the transformer in with the wires sticking out of the top and fill it with oil until it covers the entire transformer. You can use vegetable oil, mineral oil, hydraulic fluid, and maybe motor oil but I'm not sure, I used vegetable oil and I'v been using this thing non-stop and it works great. After that cut holes in the lit to put your wires through and then do just that. After every thing is in place hot glue the wires to lid and the lid to the container to keep oil from leaking, make sure everything is dry or the glue wont stick. 

Step 3: Try It Out!!!

The first part of the video was when I first made it, as you can see it arced to the next pin and caught on fire, in the second part I was using the oil filled Folgers container.



  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest
  • Water Contest

    Water Contest
  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest

64 Discussions

I used a MOT (Microwave Oven Transformer) as a replacement for the flyback and got a 1 cm spark. I used the ballast but it fried my flyback either due to to much voltage on the secondary or too many amps in the primary and I did submerge it in oil but it just wont work anymore so i have to trash the flyback. I used a older ballast that only had two wires coming out of it and those were the hv wires . So I hooked those up and it fried it so i went back to my MOT and I need to submerge that in oil.(sorry for the typos)

1 reply

Yeah, it didnt take too long to kill my flyback from this, but certainly worth it. 6 years after build this I now have a box full of them, even after selling a bunch.

Please see "Fire Extinguisher using Voltage Multiplier"

1 reply

The electronic ballast puts out 600 volts... It has to be high frequency pulsed dc or ac, if not, it would not be able to run a flyback... Imagine how much you can get out of a flyback that usually runs on 12 VDC pulsed ?? I think the Fluorescent light ballast would have to have low current with voltage that high.. The ballast shown above is NOT a CFL ballast.. It is a fluorescent tube light ballast.. I know for a fact that CFL ballast are HF 600 volt pulsed dc..

I've obtained this ballast.

Will it work with my flyback?

It has a "Starter". Any knowledge about it working or not will be appreciated. TY

3 replies

in the ballast there is a small glass tube (you will have to open it up)that is called the starter it will flip an internal switch. You can take out the tube if you want.

I have since made other flybacks and abandoned the use of this ballast. I did find that the glass tube/starter was attached in series with the external wiring. I just removed it from the circuit when experimenting, to no avail for use with my flyback. It is now a fixture in my parts bin for any projects in the future.

Thanks for your input on the subect. I appreciate any knowledge that others take the time to share.

I havent tested very many ballasts, I just know for sure the one I used works. All I can really say is some might, some might not, it doesnt hurt to test it though.

I finally got the 2-3 inches arc I was looking for, simply by changing my connections. But, after less than a minute of testing, my ballast started smoking and burned. What should I do to prevent this? Is there a better kind of ballast than the Phillips' one that I used? Would a CFL be better? Thanks for answering!

1 reply

CFL's usually only give a couple kv, about a tenth the size of your cm long arcs. I just know that some transformers give very small arcs and some very big, I would say your ballast is the right kind, just try more transformers, its okay just to test it with no oil to see if it works

hoping for a quick reply, i used a 400v capacitor in series for connecting the ballast to the primary coil of the flyback cs otherwise the ballast wouldn work, but then the ballast burns up after a few seconds of spark.... i need help already burnt two brand new ballasts in 10 secs! :/

1 reply

I dont really know how any of the circuitry works, i guess i just got lucky playing around. All that ive found is that some ballasts work and some dont and same goes for FBT's.

I've been using a Phillips ballast and a Samsung Flyback Transformer for my setup, which you can see on the pictures. But I cannot make an arc that is up to my expectations. It only gets to a centimeter, or less. I checked the polarity of my pins to be sure to get the maximum voltage, and submerged my flyback in oil to avoid burning. What can I do to get a longer and bigger arc?


Can this kind of flyback work for a Jacobs ladder when hooked up directly without a circuit? I'm curious because if it'll hookup directly, I can still add a capacitor to the THT output. Any suggestions?

I found an old lighting ballast in the shed of the house that I recently moved into but as BFeely said, the older ones have an output freq of 60Hz. The ballast that I found is old enough to have this trait and will not work for this project. Anyone have a good idea where to find a cheap or free ballast?

1 reply

well i got a "broken one" and after popping it open i found out the copper on the PCB around one of the transformer had been burned up, a little wire and solder and it works great!

i got the old ballast my dad replaced in the kitchen a while ago, what i want to know is what made it fail and how to fix it so i can try this.

Were dose every one get ballast i cant find any