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Tesla (May-June issue): safety warning, and some other ideas

Title basically says it all

Tesla (May-June issue): safety warning, and some other ideas

Postby crlMidi » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:51 am

The article (I have the French edition) should have warned against playing around with Tesla and similar devices that generate any significant amount of power. Beware of the internet!

I remember reading decades ago in Wireless World about related late 19th century experiments with microwaves. The article said the research ceased abruptly but didn't say why. One reason would be that cooked eyeballs are incurable.

Returning to the fun, another reliable source of ready-made power supplies is a defunct scanner, one of the now precious ones that used fluorescent lighting. Depending on how much you exeed the normal 5V supply, the little transistor generator develops 100V pk-pk or more, at about 100kHz. A small loop of wire (with limiting resistance), or a direct connection, easily lights up a Nixie tube. The DC striking voltage of Nixies is usually given as about 180 V, so for serious work I'd need a voltage doubler. Does anyone have a design? It's a matter of choosing high voltage diodes that are fast enough and sold in small quantities, and the right capacitors.

An untried idea: a lot of people want to make a Van der Graaf generator but, unlike in the old days, can't find a belt made of rubber that doesn't have anti-static additives. I suppose you could replace the belt supply with a piezo-electric gas lighter and a mechanical commutator to provide rectification. Alternatively, we could design a rectifying spark gap. This is based on the fact that a metallic conductor emits electrons to the atmosphere more readily than metal ions. The old and dangerous Ruhmkorff coil (mid 1800s and school labs a century later) generated DC by a similar mechanism.
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