MAKE a HIGH VOLTAGE SUPPLY IN 5 MINUTES

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Introduction: MAKE a HIGH VOLTAGE SUPPLY IN 5 MINUTES

About: Make a better Instructable, and the world will beat a path to your website.
In this Instructable you will learn how to make a High Voltage High Frequency power supply in 5 minutes and for less than $20.

All you need is a compact fluorescent light (CFL) and a flyback transformer.

Flyback transformers are found in TVs and CRT monitors. They make the high voltage, high frequency current necessary to trace the electron beam across the screen. They are small and compact, and you can take them out from an old computer monitor or TV.

CFLs are very popular high efficiency fluorescent lights. They are similar to their ancestor the fluorescent light tubes but use electronic ballasts instead of the big and heavy ballasts in the old technology.

The electronic ballast works by generating high frequency currents that are fed to a tiny high frequency transformer that boost the voltage and run the fluorescent tube. It is the high frequency that makes the assembly compact.

The electronic ballast generates less than 1000 volts. But by replacing the fluorescent bulb of the CFL with a flyback transformer, spectacular voltages can be achieved.


Please visit my latest instructable, how to build an 2.4Ghz yagi antenna for long range WiFi or surveillance cameras:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-to-Build-WIFI-24GHz-Yagi-Antenna/


Step 1: Some Info on CFLs

CFLs can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Generally the bigger the wattage the larger the voltage output. For this Instructable I got a 65 Watts light bulb.

Most CFLs have a similar circuit topology. All of them have 4 wires coming out of them. The wires are in pairs, and each pair connects to a filament inside the light bulb.

The CFLs I came across have the high voltage on the outer wires. You only need to connect the outer wires to the primary coil of the flyback transformer.

You will find a comprehensive description of CFL circuits on this page

Step 2: Some Info About Flyback Transformers

Flyback transformers come in all different shapes and sizes. Pick a big one.

The challenge with the flyback transformer is to find 3 pins out of 10 to 20 pins. One pin will be the high voltage ground the other two pins will be that of the primary coil that will connect to the CFL's electronic board.

If you can get the schematic of the flyback transformer that will save you time. However you can figure out the pins by following the instructions here.

Danger - if you are going to get the flyback from a TV or CRT you need to discharge it. It can hold a dangerous charge even days after the TV or CRT is turned off (see picture for details).

Step 3: The Finished Setup

This is how the finished high voltage supply looks like.

Remember, this is a DC supply. The output from the thick wire is positive. In TVs and CRTs this high voltage output drives the negative electrons from the filament to the screen.

If you need AC high voltage, you have to remove the built-in diode or find an old flyback transformer that does not have a built-in diode.

Step 4: Troubleshooting

The first time I build the circuit, it worked immediately. I used a 26 watt CFL.

Then I decided to get a bigger CFL and I build it exactly like the first circuit. It didn't work. I was disappointed. I thought that the CFL electronics were shot.

But when I reconnected the fluorescent tube to the four wires, the CFL worked again. I realized that this type of CFL circuit needed to "sense" the filaments in order to operate. Remember, I was only using the outer wires and leaving the two inner wires alone.

So I put a resistor across the outer wire and the inner wire. The circuit worked! But within seconds the resistor was in flames.

So I decided to use a capacitor in place of resistor. The capacitor allows AC currents but blocks DC while a resistor allow both AC and DC currents to flow through it. Also a capacitor does not heat up because it provides a low resistance path for AC currents.

The capacitor worked great! The arcs produced were very big and thick.

So in summary there two things that can go wrong:

1. You wired it wrong, either on the CFL side or the flyback side.
2. The CFL electronics needs to sense the filament and you can use a capacitor as a substitute.

Use a high voltage rated capacitor. Mine was 400V and I got it from another CFL circuit.

While troubleshooting, be very careful, you are dealing with very high voltages and high currents.

When soldering, disconnect the circuit from the power outlet.

Step 5: Disclaimer

The circuits in this Instructable use very high voltages and currents.

These currents and voltages are deadly! You can easily hurt yourself, as well. Build this circuit at your own risk.

This type of high frequency high voltage current is used in surgical cauterizers. So if you get shocked you will burn yourself and cut your flesh. There is also a considerable fire hazard from the circuit.

Use the Nikolai Tesla's safety techniques when working with high voltages:

1. Only use one hand (put your other hand on your lap or pocket)
2. Wear insulating shoes
3. Use a dead man stick or insulated pliers when touching or manipulating the circuit.
4. Use a power bar with a thermal fuse rather than sticking the circuit directly in the socket. This will limit the current that will go through your body.
5. When soldering, disconnect the circuit from the power outlet.

Generally, in electricity it is the the current that kills. if the currents are low there is little danger even if the voltages are very high (think of Tesla holding the his Tesla coil).

This circuit has high currents which makes it considerably dangerous.

a 65W CFL can deliver 65mA easily (65W/1000v).

And if you look at the picture below, at greater than 50mA the little guy is dead.

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957 Discussions

0
TheGreatResistor
TheGreatResistor

4 years ago

Hi thanks for the instructable i tried it was awesome i got 2.3cm sparks
but it also gave off a weird smell i thought the transistor burned off
but it didnt after research i found out it was OZONE. Is the ozone
produced by this circuit dangeros

0
eddiehitler45
eddiehitler45

Reply 6 months ago

Ozone is an even more reactive form of oxygen, which in itself is pretty hard on almost anything it contacts. With ozone it's fairly easy to burn pure diamonds, it's used to sterilise things as it kills even tough virus spores. It'll oxidise your lungs in an enclosed space with a lot of it. Small amounts can actually be useful to get rid of bad smells like flood damage and sewerage.

1
EduardR9
EduardR9

Reply 3 years ago

yes, my friend, ozone is very dangerous, ..but it small quantities is safe ... ..but I don't recommend you to "sniff"it directly from the assembly anyway .. do it in the room with opened window to make sure the air is circulating in the room ....there really IS something as ozone poisoning ..but you're ok , don't worry

0
siriusfuenmayor
siriusfuenmayor

3 years ago

this circuit could be run in reverse? i mean, if you input high voltage in the flyback you get low voltage on the CFL inputs?

0
eddiehitler45
eddiehitler45

Reply 6 months ago

Not really, flybacks are sort of fickle that way. I'm fairly sure they work off a resonance and don't like to be used any way but their designed operation. A microwave oven transformer would probably suit your requirements better. They're also much easier to change the windings too.

0
BalanB1
BalanB1

3 years ago

I used 32w CFL circuit, i mounted Heat sinks to transistors and i connected a ceramic capacitor 1nF 5Kv in parralel with primary coil and I powered up,first i was scared : 30 cm Sparks! awesome, I used my Fluke high voltage probe and a 10 Mohm impedance analog multimmeter and i measured 90 KV.

1
GergelyN
GergelyN

Reply 3 years ago

30mm you mean, right? (1.5MV sounds a bit too high)... Still impressive.

0
eddiehitler45
eddiehitler45

Reply 6 months ago

Agreed, this chap may not be 100% on what he's talking about...

0
BalanB1
BalanB1

Reply 3 years ago

Also i changed the full bridge electrolitic capacitor with a 100uF 400V electrolytic cap from TV for more power!

0
eddiehitler45
eddiehitler45

6 months ago on Step 5

Love the little diagram at the end, no need for ammeters anymore! I'm aiming for a >50mA source and now I can tell I've achieved it when I'm lying down dead! Awesome!!!

0
cobrakell.
cobrakell.

Question 1 year ago

I was also wondering if you knew how to modify the 3volt bug zapper circuit , ive went though quite a few bug zappers , as the circuit is very fragile... meaning my first mistake,add more power...i found that 9v batterys will fry the 3 pronged transister ,i tried replacing transister with a higher rated voltage with an nec d882 O m15 but the circuit still didnt work ,maybe pins are different ??? also tried 2 3kv ceramic 472 for a pulse generated spark . i probably need 101 3v is there a difference ? .. could you show an instructable if possible thanx.

0
cobrakell.
cobrakell.

Question 1 year ago on Step 3

I noticed you have a wire connected from the flyback to under the CFL circuit ?????and then to the spark gap..Is that wire connected to something on the CFL circuit not mentioned or am i seeing things ???lol...and Thanx for this awesome instructional. On most flybacks you can also wind coated 18 guage 5left and 5right with a center joining wire around the flybacks iron cylinder to bypass diode.Also a 600 watt push button\ dial light dimmer for $7 connected to a 120 volt power to a number of film capacitors in series and a car coil will produce 5-7 inch arcs , although again the light dimmer will not last long if too many caps in series but must put caps in oil container and and a use small p.s fan ..

0
drugpacan
drugpacan

3 years ago

The mistake was that I connect the transformer to the extreme conclusions from four to CFLs. I measured the resistance of the filaments of CFL lamps. It turned out each strand has a resistance of 3 ohms. Thus, the total resistance of the two strands was 6 th. I have created a semblance of snubber 6 ohm resistance + series capacitor 3.8n 1200 volt and transformer connected. Since the capacitor on the board already exists, between two close-pin soldered resistance 6 ohms, and the transformer took another couple of conclusions. If the CFL 26 watts of power, the arc starts at a distance of 4 centimeters and is very noisy, blue and red and thick. If the CFL power 11 watts, the arc starts at a distance of 2 centimeters. If the distance is increased to 4 centimeters, there is a glow discharge and begins to secrete large amounts of ozone

0
BalanB1
BalanB1

Reply 3 years ago

Nice!

0
BalanB1
BalanB1

3 years ago

Ok i builded it,and i used a resonant capacitor but it consumes a lot of power and full bridge capacior just exploded,i don't recommend to use capacitor from CFL circuit,try to use a lower capacitance capacitor and install a safety spark gap to discharge HV ripple to avoid damaging the oscilator.

0
pchowdhary1
pchowdhary1

3 years ago

check this out ppl... look how does 3.5 MILLION VOLTS look like .... beautiful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngiZBaS4Ago

0
LikhinM
LikhinM

3 years ago

Hi, can I know the value of the capacitor you used in place of the filaments...?

Thanx in advance..

0
drugpacan
drugpacan

3 years ago

Greetings! I have nothing works. Ballast CFL - rate transformer scheme. It is unclear where the soldered capacitor - parallel with the primary winding, or sequentially. If sequentially, the same nothing works. I do not know why not start CFL ballast?

0
SHOE0007
SHOE0007

4 years ago

For a flat aluminum glass capacitor I am using this as a power supply simple and safe to use.