[Noisebridge-discuss] High-Voltage

jim jim at well.com
Sun Mar 10 18:37:19 UTC 2013

    I'm interested and willing to help. 

    What do you mean by "High voltage"? I'm thinking 
anything over 240 VAC (about 360V peak to peak). 
    Vacuum tubes work with anything from about 60VDC to 
500VDC (or so). 
    440VAC circuits have of close to 700V. Mircrowave 
ovens I've seen have transformers that present internal 
voltages to something like 800V. Cathode ray tubes use 
from 1500VDC to 5000VDC. 

    And what about current draw--microamps, milliamps, 
or amps? 

    The space is supplied by two electrical services: 
240VAC single phase, which comes from the distribution 
panel at the top of the stairs, and three-phase delta, 
which comes from the distribution panel near the 
elevator. The three conductors go from the primary 
distribution panel to the sub-panels in the dirty shop 
and in the cooking area. 

    I think your approach (depending on the actual 
voltage you want to work with) should be to determine 
a place in the space to work. 
    I'm guessing 
1. set up a workstation somewhere in the electronic area
2. bring whatever electrical conductors provide your line 
   voltage (most pipes carry a black, red, and white 
   conductor--using the red and black provides a nominal 
   208VAC. Use black and white if you're installing a 
   120VAC receptacle. 
3. install however many five or ten amp circuit breakers 
   to control the current of the black or black and red 
4. run 12 gauge THHN wires to the workstation and install 
   whatever is the proper receptacle for 120 or 240VAC. 
5. install a switch to shut off power and LABEL IT. 
6. set up a transformer that steps up the voltage to what 
   you need and LABEL IT. 
7. From the transformer secondary run proper wires (with 
   insulation that is rated for the higher voltage and 
   conductors rated to carry maximum current) to whatever 
   connection devices you need. 

On Sat, 2013-03-09 at 22:45 -0800, John Butterfield wrote:
> Hello,
> I'm moving to the bay area from Los Angeles in a couple weeks and I'm
> curious about using the space there for high voltage experiments.
> 1) Is the space at all equipped for high voltage experiments, or does
> anyone know of a HV lab in the area that's open to members like a
> hacker space... or want to start one?
> I have a difficult time explaining exactly what it is I mean when I
> say, "high voltage experiments".  The first thing that pops into most
> people's minds is, "oh you want to build a Tesla Coil", and while I
> wouldn't be opposed to building one, I wouldn't want to slap something
> together just to see big sparks. I'm more interested in the empirical
> exploration of the physics and mastery of the subject than about the
> spectacle, and then applying that knowledge to explore new ideas.
> Specifically, I'd love to get some help building an extreme
> electromagnet that can be tuned to test the effectiveness of using a
> magnetic field to quench a spark gap discharge from a high voltage
> capacitor. I've already built an adjustable spark gap that I'd like to
> combine with the electromagnet, though I would be happy rebuilding the
> adjustable spark gap with a sturdier more precise design.
> Also, I'd absolutely love to get some HV scope readings of the spark
> gap circuit and it would be really fascinating to see ultra-high-speed
> video of the spark gap.
> So, hopefully that gives you some idea of what I'm looking to do, and
> with that said...
> 2) Is anyone interested in working on any of these projects with me?
> 3) Does anyone have any knowledge or shared interest in any of the
> following?:
> Fusors / Fusion
> * Building a basic Farnsworth/Hirsch fusor (basically a toy just to
> see the mock idea of a real fusor -- like in a bell-jar)
> * Building a DT fusor, with a proper vacuum chamber and neutron
> detector (expensive)
>         * by extension, the polywell design (Robert Bussard)
> * Building any other kind of focus fusion reactor
> Vacuum Tubes
> * Finding and using old vacuum tubes suitable for HV circuits
> (semiconductors are a real bitch with HV)
> * Blowing glass to build custom vacuum tubes
> Oh, I'd also be interested in chatting if anyone's familiar with
> handling super conductors and cryogenic cooling systems.
> Thanks!
> `John
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