Jacob's ladder

Jacob's ladder - two electrodes are located, located as in the figure. Most likely, it is the most beautiful application of an electric arc :))) And it works like this: an arc appears in the lower part of the electrodes, the air around it heats up and rises, the arc also rises and goes out, then the process repeats. The distance between the electrodes at the bottom should correspond to the maximum distance of occurrence of the arc, and between the electrodes at the top - the maximum distance of the arc. The current must be at least 5 mA. To power it, we will use the converter on the line.


Here are the basic safety rules: 1. Use only one hand (put your other hand on your knees or pocket), 2. Boots with an insulated sole, 3. Use a wooden stick or insulated pliers, touching or controlling an electric circuit, 4. Soldering disconnect the chain. 5. Read the safety instructions carefully !

Electrical Safety

Rules for working with electrical appliances and wiring:

1. Always treat electricity with respect. Be careful, attentive and, when working with electrical devices and wiring, think about each action.

2. Check to see if the place of work is well lit to see what you are doing. Often during repairs, you have to use a flashlight with a battery to illuminate the workplace.

3. Never touch a few exposed wires with your bare hand, even if you are sure that the circuit is disconnected. It may happen that by mistake the circuit remains on or on. Use a voltage tester to make sure there is no voltage.

4. Position bare wires so that one cannot touch the other, even by accident.

5. When twisting, connect the wires and isolate the twisting. Only then proceed to the next connection.

6. Never interfere with live wiring. Always turn off the power before opening the appliance or electrical fittings.

7. Do not rely on insulated tool handles or electrical insulating gloves as a protective measure against electric shock. They protect, but only in the event of accidental contact with live exposed wires.

8. Avoid working on wiring and devices in humid places. If the place is damp, place a dry board under your feet and stand on it. Wear rubber-soled boots for added protection.

When replacing lighting fixtures, turn off the lighting and carefully lower the lighting fixture. Remove the end caps from the twist and touch the plugs to the bare ends of the black and white wires. If the lamp lights up, the wires are energized. Check switches and sockets in the same way.

9. Before completing the repair, analyze your actions to make sure that you have not forgotten to do anything.

10. Always insulate the ends with certified wire connectors or tape.

Never use stationery adhesive tapes or any other substitute.

In general, in electricity - the current that kills. If the flows are low there is a bit of danger.

This circuit has high voltage currents that make it significantly hazardous.

65W CFL can supply 65mA easily (65W / 1000v)!

And if you look at the picture below, you will see that more than 50mA is fatal.

Step 1. Work with CFL

CFLs can come in many different shapes and sizes. Generally, the greater the power consumption, the greater the voltage produced. For this topic, I took a 65-watt bulb.

Most CFLs have similarities in work)). All of them have 4 wires that come out of them. The wires are in pairs, and each pair is connected to a thread in a light bulb.

CFLs I have come across have high voltage on external wires. You only have to connect the external wires to the primary coil of the flyback transformer.

Step 2. Transformer Preparation

Flyback transformers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Choose big.

The problem with the flyback transformer is to find 3 pins from 10-20 pins. One pin will be a high voltage ground, the other two pins will be the pins of the primary coil, which will connect to the CFL.

ATTENTION - if you are going to remove the transformer from the TV or CRT, then all responsibility for this lies with you.

Step 3. The final stage

Here's what a complete high voltage model looks like.

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

I remind you to be very careful, you are dealing with very high voltages and high voltage currents!

Step 4. Possible improvements

The first time I built this design, it immediately worked. I used 26 watts CFL.

Then I decided to put a larger CFL, and I did everything as in the first design. But she did not work. I was disappointed.

But when I reconnected the four-wire fluorescent tube, the CFL worked again. Remember, I only used external wires and left two internal wires alone.

So I placed the resistor on the outer wire and inner wire. The design seemed to work! But within seconds, the resistor quickly burned out.

So I decided to use a capacitor instead of a resistor. The capacitor allows AC flows, but blocks the DC, while the resistor allows both AC flows and DC flows through it. Also, the capacitor does not heat up because it provides a low-impedance path for AC flows.

The capacitor worked longer! And the produced electric arcs were very large and thick.

Once again I remind you - when soldering, disconnect the chain.

Pay attention to the bottom photo! See the photo below (where the wires fit) - The circuit is broken !!!

Jacob's staircase is one of the beautiful and very dangerous experiments! Good luck