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12.09.2014
If you're reading this Instructable, one thing is probably true: you're interested in high voltage! Now, onto my favorite part of electricity: circuits!Circuits exploit the aforementioned physics concepts in order to harness and manipulate electricity. Once you've gathered the required parts, you can begin the very tedious process of constructing this Marx generator!The Marx generator can be divided into three sections. The spark gaps for the Marx Generator can be formed by simply bending the resistor and capacitor leads of adjacent stages together.
I really enjoyed building this Marx Generator, and if you've come this far, I hope you're getting similar results! Step 2: Electrical Physics PrimerWhen we refer to electricity, we are talking about the interactions of charge carriers.
Step 5: Circuit Schematic and OperationOnce you've gathered the required parts, you can begin the very tedious process of constructing this Marx generator!The Marx generator can be divided into three sections. Step 6: Additional notes on circuit constructionThe spark gaps for the Marx Generator can be formed by simply bending the resistor and capacitor leads of adjacent stages together.
Step 7: Sparks!I really enjoyed building this Marx Generator, and if you've come this far, I hope you're getting similar results! Step 3: Connect to battery and have fun!Connect either one wire from the primary (the low voltage side) to one terminal of the battery (don't worry, you can connect it any way round). Step 5: Enjoy!Well, I hope you find this instructable useful to you, and if you need help or have some questions, or found a error, please make a comment! Have you ever wanted to build a high voltage devices to make sparks like Tesla Coils, Marx Generator, and so on.. If so, you've come to the right place; Marx Generators can satisfy your thirst for sparks, bangs, and thrill. These charge carriers can be subatomic particles like protons and electrons or charged atoms, ions, in solution. Circuits are composed of circuit elements, discrete components each designed to perform a specific function by manipulating electricity according to some physical law. I also hope that you've enjoyed reading this Instructable and maybe even learned something cool about electricity from it. I made this Marx Generator several years ago, but it went out of commission after some experimentation and remained so until I fixed it up about a month ago. Due to their very low mass to charge ratio, electrons are the primary charge carriers in solid conductors. An understanding of how circuit components work aids in the analysis of complicated circuits.
Often it is preferable to mechanically trigger the first spark gap with a screwdriver so that the latter stages may be allowed to charge more fully.If the Marx Generator you are building is going to be particularly large (as mine was), I would recommend more permanent spark gaps than the makeshift ones pictured above. If you have any questions about construction or parts, feel free to ask in the comments section.
I decided it would be cool to detail the construction of the device, so others may too experience the excitement of Marx Generators!I'd like to use this Instructable as an opportunity to describe some of the theory underlining the physical phenomenon that the Marx Generator employs. A Marx Generator is an electrical circuit consisting of capacitors, resistors, and spark gaps arranged in a ladder structure capable of producing high voltage impulses (which result in sparks) by first charging the capacitors in parallel and then discharging them in series. The basic Marx Generator circuit by itself only requires three unique components: resistors, capacitors, and spark gaps.
The 555 timer, configured in astable oscillator mode, generates a square wave which is fed into the base of the high-power transistor. Electronics attracts a mixed crowd of enthusiasts, including some who are more familiar with physics and some who haven't had as much exposure. However, for the purpose of providing an adequate introduction to electronics, I shall introduce several other major components as well. The transistor switches the current through the smaller winding of the transformer, inducing a stepped-up voltage across the larger winding.The second section is a Cockcroft-Walton (CW) voltage multiplier.
Wrapping tape around the capacitors worked for me, but I reckon there are better solutions. There already exist several very good Marx Generator Instructables (a tutorial by Plasmana). Magnetic fields influence only moving charges while electric fields influence both moving and stationary charges. You can estimate the actual spark voltage by measuring the maximum spark distance and applying the 1kV per mm approximation. The electric field produced by a single point charge (a proton, for example) can be shown by Gauss's Law to be proportional to the magnitude of charge and inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the point charge.
Particles in a field experience a force that increases with the amount of charge they carry. Electrical loads, such as lamps, add resistance, or impedance if reactive components are involved, to a circuit.
However AC input can be simulated by rapidly switching DC voltage on and off to produce the required rising and falling field to induce high voltage in the secondary coil. Marx generators are used in high energy physics experiments, as well as to simulate the effects of lightning on power line gear and aviation equipment. That is, F=qE, where F denotes force, q denotes charge, and E denotes electric field magnitude. Wires possess an innate, material specific quality called resistivity, and the resistance of a wire can be calculated as the product of the wire's resistivity and length divided by its cross-sectional area. The output voltage of the CW multiplier can be calculated as Vo = Vi (2n), where Vo is the output voltage, Vi is the input voltage, and n is the number of stages.
This can be achieved mechanically in several ways and is how the high voltage for the early experiments with Giessler and Crookes tubes was produced, leading eventually to the discovery of X-Rays.
Think of the human body as a sensitive piece of electronic equipment; it doesn't take much to fry the circuitry. A bank of 36 Marx generators is used by Sandia National Laboratories to generate X-rays in their Z Machine." - (Wikipedia) I suppose I did alright, though I forgot to mention the "low-voltage DC supply".
Thus, the force experienced by one charged particle in the field of another is proportional to both the charge of the particle producing the field and the charge of particle experiencing the field and is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the two particles. The resistance of a resistor, the voltage across a resistor, and the current through a resistor are all related by Ohm's Law. Due to the reactive properties of capacitors, there are practical limitations to the number of stages in a CW multiplier.
As you can gather from the Wikipedia article, Marx Generators don't have much practical use to you or me, but they certainly are cool!


Potentiometers, rheostats, and trimmers are types of variable resistors, which can be configured to form adjustable voltage divider circuits. I used 16 stages in my design and experienced no serious performance issues.The final section is the actual Marx Generator circuit.
Unfortunately, resistors add the undesirable side effect of reduced charge rate and lower firing frequency. Within electricity, there exist two realms of analysis: electrostatics and electromagnetics.
It takes the 8kV DC output from the CW multiplier and produces high voltage impulses of about 180kV! One possible workaround would be to replace the resistors with inductors which exhibit high impedance upon firing and minimal impedance while charging. Just curious.Square wave generator is better, use a irf620 and a astable 200 hertz 555 circuitYep!Could you wire a 555 circuit to switch it for you? Electrostatics deals only with stationary charges and is not able to describe as many physical situations as electromagnetics, which accounts for the more complicated physics introduced by charges in motion.
I used a combination of ceramic and metal film 1kV capacitors (between 220 and 560pF) for the CW multiplier.
The Marx generator circuit consists of resistors, capacitors, and spark gaps arranged in a ladder structure.
The inductors would have to be sufficiently large to effectively block the parallel discharge.Alternatively or additionally, transistors could be used in place of the spark gaps, and the Marx Generator could be made to be completely solid-state.
Maybe this Instructable is your first exposure to electronics (plausible; I know how enticing high voltage can be).
Capacitors are often composed of two parallel conducting plates on which charge accumulates when a voltage is applied. Each stage of the Marx Generator circuit requires a capacitor rated for the input voltage (about 8kV).
The Marx Generator operates by having the bank of high voltage capacitors first charge in parallel through resistors and then discharge in series through spark gaps. An external circuit could monitor the stage voltages and trigger simultaneous discharge when all stages had reached the desired level. Does anyone else see a reason that you shouldn't do that?It works, ive created inverters that wayI believe it will work. Displacing charge on your hair by rubbing it with a balloon is an example of electrostatic interaction. Between the plates, these forms a uniform electric field having magnitude proportional to the surface charge density of the plates. When the first capacitor exceeds a critical breakdown voltage, the first spark gap will fire, effectively connecting the first and second capacitors in series.
Such a design would require the use of high power transistors and enough stages to generate impulses from a reduced input voltage. Microwaves, magnets, and the vast majority of electronic devices operate on the principles of electromagnetics.
As charge accumulates, the electric field, and thus voltage, between the plates increases in magnitude. Their voltages will add and trigger the second and subsequent spark gaps to fire, resulting in an avalanche of connections.
For our purposes, we will neglect electromagnetics in our analysis because the Marx Generator is one example in which electrostatics plays a much more noticeable role.
Once the voltage across the capacitor equals the source voltage, current will cease to flow.
The voltage across the equivalent series capacitor ideally follows Vo = Vi (n), where Vi is the input voltage and n is the number of stages in the generator with n = 45 for my design.
You should, however, be aware of some of the relationships between electricity and magnetism.
Decreasing the surface area of the plates will increase the voltage per unit charge and decrease the maximum charge accumulation accordingly.
If the combined voltage of all the capacitors is enough to ionize the final spark gap, a large spark will form, indicating that your battery powered Marx Generator is working! You should know that a time-varying magnetic field induces an electric field (Faraday's Law) and that a time-varying electric field induces a magnetic field (Ampere-Maxwell Law). In this way, the product of the voltage and charge of a capacitor remains constant and defines an innate quality of each capacitor called capacitance, C.
That is why is use zvs drivertransformers are met to work with ac or pused dc currents does this really work?Yes, the input is a square wave pulseby tapping the switch you are creating pulsed dcWait, I don't understand. As a capacitor is charged through a resistor (an RC circuit), the voltage difference between the capacitor and the supply decreases and charging slows. Using calculus, we can solve a first-order differential equation for the current through the RC circuit with a steady supply voltage as a function of time.
The result indicates the current decreases exponentially towards zero, with steeper decrease resulting from smaller capacitance and resistance values. If you reverse the transformer, inputting 9 volts, you should get the same amount as your mains supply. The measures of voltage and current quantify the energy possessed by stationary and moving charges. The product of resistance and capacitance in an RC circuit is known as the RC time constant.
This would mean that the output is not in the several kilovolts range, but actually much lower.
It is equal to the energy change that would result from moving a charged particle from one position to another divided by the charge possessed by that particle.
When the 9V supply to an inductor (the transformer's primary) is interrupted, a much higher voltage is generated. The result of charged particles moving from a higher voltage (higher potential energy) to a lower voltage (lower potential energy) is electrical current. In AC circuits, reactance compounds resistance to yield complex impedance Z, defined as the sum of orthogonal resistance and reactance vectors.
Current can be calculated as the amount of charge (C) passing through a cross-sectional area, such as a wire, per unit time (s). In short, at very high frequencies (approaching infinity), capacitors offer no impedance and act as short circuits. At very low frequencies (approaching 0; DC), capacitors offer infinite impedance and act as open circuits.


Only a square wave, its the flyback effect, good job figuring that out on your ownis this dangerous? Two factors determine the magnitude of current: the average drift velocity of charged particles and the net charge of all the particles.
Current can be increased by increasing either the speed or number of particles passing through a given cross-section of a wire.
Voltage and current can be related to power, the rate of energy consumption, by the equation P=IV, where P is power, I is current, and V is voltage. Inductors are simply coils of wire, and as such, wire itself can exhibit non-ideal parasitic inductance (likewise, two wires lying adjacent can exhibit parasitic capacitance). Inductors exploit the principles of electromagnetism described by Ampere's Law and Faraday's Law. From Ampere's Law, current running through a wire produces a magnetic field that encircles the wire.
Knowing that energy is always conserved and that voltage represents the energy change of an electron moving from one point to another, we can conclude that the sum of all voltages in a closed loop (the path an electron would take around a circuit to end up back at its starting position) must always* be zero. From Faraday's Law, a changing magnetic field (magnetic flux) through a circuit induces a current that counteracts the magnetic field. Combining the laws, we see that the magnetic fields resulting from individual loops in an inductor serve to sustain current flowing through the inductor. There exists a second rule, Kirchoff's junction rule, which states that the sum of the currents flowing into any junction, i.e. As with the capacitor, we can solve a first-order differential equation for the current through the RL circuit (resistor-inductor circuit) as a function of time. When the current through an inductor changes, an emf (electromotive force; voltage) is induced across the inductor that directly opposes the current which caused produced it. In direct current (DC) circuits, resistance dissipates energy in the form of heat and is dependent on the resistivity of the conducting material. The magnitude of the emf produced is proportional to both the rate of change of the current through the inductor and the inductance of the inductor. In alternating current (AC) circuits, resistance is transformed into complex impedance, which takes into account the frequency response of reactive elements such as capacitors and inductors.
The inductive reactance vector points in the opposite direction to the capacitive reactance vector. What isn't possible is constantly inducing a current through a transformer with steady DC. It is at this resonant frequency that voltage and current will oscillate in an inductive-capacitive (LC; tank) circuit as energy sloshes back and forth [indefinitely] between the inductor's magnetic field and the capacitor's electric field. One coil becomes the primary winding of the transformer and the other becomes the secondary winding of the transformer. When the current through the primary winding changes, the changing magnetic flux through the primary is transferred to the secondary via the ferrite core. This induces a current in the secondary that is proportional to the current in the primary. The ratio of turns in the primary winding to turns in the secondary winding determines the relative magnitudes of the voltages and currents in each winding. At low voltage they have a very high resistance but once they reach their break-down voltage they become an open circuit.
If the ratio is greater than 1:1, secondary voltage will be greater and the transformer is considered a step-up transformer. Keep in mind that the primary and secondary winding designations are arbitrary; a transformer may be reversed to obtain the inverse ratio.
Semiconductor diodes are composed of a single junction of two doped semiconducting materials. The reverse bias voltage (typically much higher than the forward bias voltage) is the potential difference at which the diode will break down and allow current to flow in the reverse direction (this is usually considered non-ideal behavior; however, in the case of Zener diodes, the breakdown resulting from reverse bias is exploited for its "avalanche" effect). Diodes are commonly used to rectify AC to DC using a four-diode configuration called a full-wave rectifier or diode bridge. During the second half of the 20th century, the proliferation of solid-state transistors in electronics made obsolete previous switching devices, such as relays and vacuum tubes, and sparked the digital electronics revolution. Although there are several different classes of transistors, most adhere to a common basic structure consisting of three pins: a base (or gate), collector (or drain), and emitter (or source). Bipolar junction transistors (BJTs) are composed of two adjacent semiconducting junctions in either an NPN or PNP configuration.
For a BJT, a small signal at the base can modulate the flow of a larger current between the collector and emitter. The high-gain properties of some transistors can be exploited to form logic circuits with binary states. However, once the electric field magnitude between the electrodes has exceeded the specific dielectric strength, the dielectric will breakdown and conduct. For the ionization of air, the rough approximation of 1kV per mm of separation is commonly used. Motors and solenoids are examples of actuators, which convert electrical energy into angular and linear motion. Microphones, speakers, and piezoelectric materials also fall under the definition of transducer.
The integration density of ICs has grown exponentially since the invention of the IC by Jack Kilby. This growth phenomenon, known as Moore's Law, has seen ICs become smaller, faster, and cheaper simultaneously.
Current technology enables billions of individual transistors to be packaged into a single IC. In this Instructable, we will be using a TLC555 timer, a common hobbyist IC, to generate a square wave signal.
Since there are ideally no inductive elements, I don't think there should be any electrical oscillations lasting more than a few cycles. However, on several occasions the spark did produce a response from a nearby old electronic toy.



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