Intro: Taking Apart a Plasma Globe
How to take apart a USB plasma globe, which contains a tesla coil, wire it to work on a battery, and get neat little sparks from it. It can set thin paper on fire ... and it does something weird when a magnet gets near it ...
As I will explain later this deals with HIGH VOLTAGE so please, if you are a minor, do this with the supervision of an adult, and if you are an adult, dont do this alone in case you zap yourself and need CPR. Warning! Danger!
That said, I got this globe at Best Buy for $20 bucks (USD) in the computer section.
Step 1: Open the Box and Take Out the Globe
on the bottom will be screws ... use a philips head screwdriver to remove them, then put the screwdriver into one of the screw holes to gently pop out the bottom of the base
Step 2: Pull Out the Wire From the Globe
Use the screwdriver to pull the red wire up from out of that black plastic tube in the center of the globe. Its just stuffed up in there so it should come out easily.
Step 3: Take Out the Circuit Board
This step is optional, and in later steps I have put the circuit board back INTO the base. So you may want to hold off on this step until you have another good container to mount the board into.
But note this first pic as it details whats what on the power wires going into the circuit board.
Use the screwdriver to remove the two screws that are holding the circuit board from the plastic case. Take care not to touch the metal parts of the circuit board in the process.
Step 4: Hook Up to a 9 Volt for Battery Power
Now we can wire this up for battery power. (pictures may explain this better) Connect a battery clip to a 9 volt, then connect the RED wire from the battery clip to the part of the power connector that has the RED wire soldered to its back metal post. Then connect another wire from the BLACK wire connection on the power connector to the BLACK wire on the battery connector. Red to Red, Black to Black - red is positive, black is negative. MAKE SURE that the switch is OFF on the tesla coil board BEFORE connecting the wires and DO NOT connect to the thicker red wire that you pulled out of the center of the globe!!!!! That is a special HIGH VOLTAGE output!!!
I am not liable for any damage you do to any equipment or yourself if you mess this up.
also do NOT let the positive and negative leads, or the high voltage wire, touch any of each other or it will short out which is a bad thing for the equipment ...
Then power up, and voila! Tesla coil plasma ball on battery power! If you know how to solder, then you probably see how it would be simple to just solder the battery connector to the two wires where the input is. If you know what you are doing, you should be able to make battery, or usb, or wall socket adapter for 3 ways to power this baby.
Step 5: Making Single Bright Sparks With the Tesla Coil
DANGER!!! WARNING!!!: this part involves close contact with HIGH VOLTAGE. Only ever put ONE HAND near it at a time, put your other hand behind your back, and do this with another person there to perform CPR if you zap yourself badly. If you use 2 hands on it and the zap goes across your heart, YOU MIGHT DIE or something bad like that. with ONE hand for like 1/10th of a second i got zapped and it went right up my right arm (which is only slightly preferable to the left arm, as your heart is a little to the left) and all the way up my shoulder INSTANTLY. and it HURT. had to shake it off, sit back and catch my breath. I was lucky as it tends to tighten the muscles and push your hand CLOSED around whatever you are holding, making the shock worse. By continuing to read this you agree that I am not liable for any damage to any property or yourself, up to and including total destruction of any part of anything or part of yourself, or death from attempting this.
Ok ... with those safety warnings out of the way, what I did was to place the globe base upside down in a roll of duct tape. The globe diamater was about right for the cardboard in the center of the roll, but be careful as it may slide down the smooth glass. I actually screwed the circuit board back in for this part, but left the wire hanging out over the edge of the base/ balance is important so it dosent fall.
Now, the electricity needs to go to a conductor, so i used an adjustable clamp thing i had to hold a penny up to the wire. The gap between the tip of the big red wire and the metal surface should be 1/4 inch or less but not quite touching.
Step 6: A Spark! and FIRE!!!
You may have to lean in the upside down globe (again, only move the non-conducting base, for example by the duct tape holder or the glass base) so that the wire is almost touching the metal (in my case the penny) to get a spark. you should then be able to pull back, gently and slowly, a spark to get to be around 1/8 to 1/4 inch long
Note: i was watching game 4 of the world series when i tried this, and the high frequency made from this little spark caused static patterns on my tv screen. The size of the spark had something to do with the pattern of static, from across the screen somewhat evenly to slightly slanted lines .. this was on an old tube style tv, not a flat screen plasma or lcd tv. It left little burn marks on the penny too.
When I put a piece of tissue paper between the wire and the penny, it caught fire! See the video .... i knew i was gonna need a bowl of water there!
Step 7: Or Use a Screwdriver to Make Sparks .. and Wasup With Magnets?
And if anyone know why putting magnets near the assembled plasma globe causes the purple glow to stop flowing to the inside of the glass, but gust contain itself to an 'eye' at the center - please reply and let me know ...
Well, this is my first instructable. it was fun to make. please leave any constructive feeback, comments, notes or suggestions, or other ideas as to what else can be done with this little high voltage power supply .... like how can i measure how much volts/amps is coming out of it, epsecially where theres only one lead going out? the manufactureres website says nothing about its electrical ratings