Experimental Fun

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At work we have these PVC tubes that a set of instructions come in. These tubes get discarded, so I thought they would be really useful to make into HV capacitors. So I collected 6 of them and when I got home started working on the design, which is pretty basic. I cut some stainless steel sheet into strips for the electrodes that go down inside the tube. I made a hole in each cap and super glued the SS electrode in place, making sure there will be no leakage of the conductive salt water solution that the tube will be filled with once completed. Obviously electricity and water is not a good combination especially at high voltages

While the glue dried, I proceeded to wrap each tube in aluminium foil, I attached a wire at the top of the foil for a negative connection and wrapped it all in a few layers of electrical tape. Once this was done I attached a wire to the electrode that protruded from the end cap, this will be the positive connection. I prepared the saltwater solution with about a teaspoon of salt per litre. My approximation of the capacitance is 4.8nF, but in it turned out to be only 2.1nF .Which would equal to 0.105 joules.

Once finished I hooked it all up to to my Jacobs Ladder using a full wave bridge rectifier to convert the AC output into DC which these capacitors are designed for. There was a definite difference in tone and coloration of the arc. Since the Jacobs Ladder already flows quite a large amount of current it didn't make any usable difference. These could be useful on less powerful devices such as plasma globe drivers, or collecting static charge. I am still yet to beat the deafening effect of hooking 5 microwave oven capacitors up in a series configuration, you can see this in a video displayed at the bottom of the page.

Remember always use caution around electricity!  

Project Finished: 17 June 2016