Jacob's Ladders

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Allan Butcher

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Sep 12, 1986, 5:26:47 PM9/12/86
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Does anybody know how to make a functioning Jacob's Ladder - you know,
the big "V" shaped apparatus that throws an arc of lightning upwards that
was always in the mad scientist's laBORatory ??? I know you need a lot
of voltage, but what else and how ???

thanks

Allan Butcher and Dave Doss
Univ of Texas McDonald Observatory
Near Fort Davis
Western Territories, Republic of TEXAS


No bucks...no Buck Rogers...support your local observatory

Jeff Rininger

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Sep 16, 1986, 11:32:13 AM9/16/86
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In article <12...@utastro.UUCP> bu...@utastro.UUCP (Allan Butcher) writes:
>
> Does anybody know how to make a functioning Jacob's Ladder - you know,
>the big "V" shaped apparatus that throws an arc of lightning upwards that
>was always in the mad scientist's laBORatory ??? I know you need a lot
>of voltage, but what else and how ???
>

That's pretty much it - I use an old neon sign transformer,
although any transformer with about 7500 VAC will work. Make
the "ladder" out of #12 or so copper wire, adjust the shape
of the "V" so an arc starts at the bottom and travels to the
top. For a very large "ladder", you can suppport the wire every
50 cm or so with insulators. Be careful; this can kill you. . .

D.N. Lynx Crowe@ex2207

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Sep 16, 1986, 3:20:11 PM9/16/86
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Note that Jacob's ladders also produce a great deal of RF interference
capable of wiping out nearby radio and tv reception, which makes them
unpopular with neighbors and the FCC ...

--
----------------------------------------------------------
D.N. Lynx Crowe {dual, hplabs, lll-crg, ptsfa}!qantel!lynx
----------------------------------------------------------
One should NEVER trust a government, especially ones own.
Government is an organized crime.
----------------------------------------------------------
Quote: "We're live right now, hope you are too"
-- Dr. Gene C. Scott
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Don Licsak

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Sep 17, 1986, 3:14:24 PM9/17/86
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>
> Does anybody know how to make a functioning Jacob's Ladder - you know,
> the big "V" shaped apparatus that throws an arc of lightning upwards that
> was always in the mad scientist's laBORatory ??? I know you need a lot
> of voltage, but what else and how ???
>
> thanks


Suggest you write Dr. Viktor Frankenstein, c/o Frankenstein Castle,
Transylvania. Enclose a SASE, reply takes 6-8 weeks.


--

Don Licsak ihnp4!hsi!licsak
Health Systems International
New Haven, CT 06511


"For Peace Of Mind, Resign As General Manager Of The Universe"

Gary

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Sep 17, 1986, 4:05:14 PM9/17/86
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> Keywords: how to ...
> Xref: hplabs net.sf-lovers:8877 net.misc:2057

>
>
> Does anybody know how to make a functioning Jacob's Ladder - you know,
>
> Allan Butcher and Dave Doss
> Univ of Texas McDonald Observatory
> No bucks...no Buck Rogers...support your local observatory

Yes. You need a high voltage (~10KV) _AC_ supply that can output
relatively high current (in the milliamp range, not microamps).
Use AC ONLY. High voltage DC is even more dangerous than AC.

Go down to a junk yard and see if you can pick-up a working
oil-burner ingition transformer. They are 'just right' for
that application. Second to that are neon sign transformers.

Be careful!

Gary

Bob Tidrick

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Sep 17, 1986, 6:47:32 PM9/17/86
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In article <12...@utastro.UUCP>, bu...@utastro.UUCP (Allan Butcher) writes:
>
> Does anybody know how to make a functioning Jacob's Ladder - you know,
> the big "V" shaped apparatus .............

> thanks
>
> Allan Butcher and Dave Doss

You first need about 15,000 volts AC. More if you can get it but this
is the easiest to find. I used a spark lighter from an old furnace. 60 Hz works
very well. The element may be made from somthing as simple as a straightened
coat hanger. Use some good insulators on the bottom. Space them a good two
inches appart. The bottom of the elements must be farther appart than the
bottom of the V which is about 1/4 inch appart, depending on your voltage.
The V should split appart about 1 inch for every 6 to 8 inches.

If the spark does not ignite the elements are too far appart If it does
ignite but doesn't go up widen the gap at the bottom of the V.

The angle of the V and the heat of the spark will determin how fast the
spart rises. Humidity and voltage will determin how high it goes.

Please be careful with these things. Not only is the voltage dangerous,
The spark will set things on fire quickly. It also kicks out large ammounts of
ozone, concentrations of which is corrosive.

HAVE FUN. I did
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
One of the symptoms of /\/\/\
an approaching nervous // \\
breakdown is the belief | O O |
that one's work is }| /\ |{
terribly important. | \__/ |
Bertrand Russle \____/
HAVE A GOOD ONE!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

jdo...@uiucuxa.cso.uiuc.edu

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Sep 22, 1986, 12:47:00 PM9/22/86
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Yes, I have an idea of how to do it. Here goes:

You need the power supply to a neon sign. (The part of the sign that
generates the high voltages needed to ionize the gas.) Replace the leads to
the gas tubes with about 6 or 8 gauge wire, and bend the wires outward.
That should do it. The only problem is getting hold of the power supply.

Bill Roman

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Sep 24, 1986, 1:41:46 AM9/24/86
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Well, I haven't tried it, but someone told me...

You need an oil burner ignition transformer or something similar, capable
of providing about 10 kV at 100 mA, and a coat hanger. Cut the coat hanger
into two pieces, attaching one to each output terminal of the transformer.
They should almost touch at the bottom, and spread wider up higher. Apply
power. An arc should form at the bottom; the ionized air, being hot, rises,
carrying the arc upward. Eventually it will break and reform at the bottom.

WARNING: 10 kV at 100 mA WILL KILL YOU !!! BE CAREFUL!!!!!!

The Aimless Wanderer

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Sep 30, 1986, 6:28:15 PM9/30/86
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When I was a stupid kid who didn't know better I made a 150,000 - 200,000
volt tesla coil (nifty plans from popular electronics). To get that high
a voltage I used a neon sign transformer to go from 110 to ~25,000,
then made a transformer to kick it up higher. The article told me how
to find out my final voltage.

Anywhoo, the point is that companies that make neon signs (Cal Neon in
San Diego) generally have used transformers stacked up somewhere. They
are about 3 X 4 X 10 inches in size, and if you're persistant when you
call them (secrataries and presidents usually don't know what your talking
about) they'll usually give them to you for free just to take them off
their hands. I'm sure that if you connected two wires to the output
terminals you'd get a Jacob's Ladder. THESE PUPPIES WILL KILL.
BE CAREFUL!!!

Jan Stubbs

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Oct 1, 1986, 4:18:07 PM10/1/86
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In article <12...@utastro.UUCP> bu...@utastro.UUCP (Allan Butcher) writes:
>
> Does anybody know how to make a functioning Jacob's Ladder - you know,
>the big "V" shaped apparatus that throws an arc of lightning upwards that
>was always in the mad scientist's laBORatory ??? I know you need a lot
>of voltage, but what else and how ???


I will answer this with a story about the Jacob's ladder I built as a
kid. I got a hold of a small neon light power supply which I think
was just a transformer which output about 8000 volts at about 100ma.

I took two peices of copper wire and nailed one end of each to
a wooden board. They were about 1/4 of an inch apart at the
bottom and then spread apart slowly to about 2 inches at the top.

I attached the two wires to the transformer output and plugged
it in. Presto, it began sparking across at the bottom, and the
spark slowly climbed up the ladder just like in the Frankenstein
movies.

Suddenly it stopped. Thinking it needed adjustment I grabbed the
upper ends of the wires to press them closer together. Unfortunately
I forgot to unplug it.


When I woke up... I had 2 little black holes in the ends
of my fingers. Moral? be careful!


Jan Stubbs ....sdcsvax!ncr-sd!stubbs
619 485-3052
NCR Corporation
16550 W. Bernardo Drive MS4010
San Diego, CA. 92127

jo...@athena.uucp

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Oct 2, 1986, 12:05:07 PM10/2/86
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I too, when I was a dumb kid, used a neon sign transformer to make a
Jacob's Ladder (must be a popular method). When we moved to another
house, I think that my loving parents used that opportunity to dispose
of the transformer (it was probably for the best). I have kept my
eyes open for another one ever since. By the way, THEY ARE VERY
DANGEROUS!

al...@orca.uucp

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Oct 3, 1986, 1:01:55 PM10/3/86
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In article <6...@athena.UUCP> jo...@athena.UUCP (John F. Ewing Jr.) writes:
> ... I think that my loving parents used that opportunity to dispose

>of the transformer (it was probably for the best). I have kept my
>eyes open for another one ever since. By the way, THEY ARE VERY
>DANGEROUS!

Not only are they dangerous electically, but they also produce copious
amounts of ozone (O(3)). They should only be run with adequate ventilation.
When I was in college, some friends of mine built and ran one in their
dorm room (it was Halloween). After spending about half an hour there one
evening, I had to leave -- nausia, headache, etc. Prolonged exposure can
cause more serious health problems.

-Alan Jeddeloh
Tektronix ... (what-division-am-I-in-now?)
Wilsonville, OR
tektronix!orca!alanj

ph...@saber.uucp

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Oct 10, 1986, 4:12:31 PM10/10/86
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An easier way of making pretty colors and noise involves freshly emptied
beer bottles and butane lighters. I did this many times in college, but
am of course far too wise and mature to try it now.

1. Darken room. Set empty 10-16 floz. bottle upright on table.
OBSERVE DISCLAIMER BELOW.

2. Fill bottle with butane (try about 1 sec/floz). Your mileage may vary.

3. Ignite bottle mouth.

4. Observe pretty colors and "vooping" noise.

A wide variety of effects can be obtained by adjustment of the mixture. Rich
mixtures yield an almost silent disk of colored fire that may take several
seconds to reach the bottom of the bottle. Lean ones give a brighter color
and more melodic noise.

Each event fills the bottle with noncombustible byproducts. Pour them out
before trying again. Or fill the bottle with water and empty it. Or try
a fresh bottle.

DISCLAIMER AND WARNING (Don't try this at home)

I have done this many times without injury, property damage, or ill effects
besides damage to my reputation. You may not be so lucky.
I am not responsible for burns, injuries from flying glass, or any other
damage to person or property resulting from attempts to voop bottles.
Don't use plastic bottles.

This message does not endorse or condone excessive drinking.
--
---------------------------------------------------------
All opinions except attributed quotations are mine alone.
Satirical comments may not be specifically identified as such.
--
Phil Gustafson Voice: (408)435-8600
Saber Technology Corp.
2381 Bering Drive Mail: decwrl!sun!saber!phil
San Jose, CA 95131 idi!saber!phil

Berry Kercheval

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Oct 14, 1986, 3:01:32 PM10/14/86
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In article <20...@saber.UUCP> ph...@saber.UUCP writes:
>An easier way of making pretty colors and noise involves freshly emptied
>beer bottles and butane lighters.

This works even better with 5-gallon GLASS carboys and rubbing alcohol.
Use about a tablespoon of alcohol, roll the bottle around to distribute it
and drop in a match. With care and experience you can get a nice oscillating
flame propagation front with neat sounds. Get stoned first.

Need I add a disclaimer that this may be dangerous? Wear eye protection.
Kaleidescopic scuba masks are trendy.

--berry

al...@orca.uucp

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Oct 15, 1986, 12:48:07 PM10/15/86
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>Use about a tablespoon of alcohol, roll the bottle around to distribute it
>and drop in a match. With care and experience you can get a nice oscillating
>flame propagation front with neat sounds. Get stoned first.
>
>Need I add a disclaimer that this may be dangerous? Wear eye protection.
>Kaleidescopic scuba masks are trendy.

When I was considerably younger I had a chemistry set (didn't we all?) and
was always running out of alcohol for the alcohol lamp. So my older brother
went out a bought a gallon of cheap anti-freeze. This was in the days when
cheap anti-freeze consisted of plain methanol. (There may have been some
rust inhibiters in it but that is not germane to my story.) The stuff came
in a 1-gallon tin can with soldered seams.

I punched a couple holes in the lid using a bear can opener and decanted the
stuff into a gallon jug (so I could stopper it tightly and prevent evaporation).
At this point I remembered the neat "foop" noise an empty alcohol bottle
made when I lit the fumes inside. Now, I was doing this out in the back yard
so any spillage won't do any harm other than killing some grass. Big brother
was in the house --- what trouble can little brother get into in just five
minutes???

The explosion blew the gallon can across the back yard. The lid of the can
was folded into a tent and blown off the can. The lid _had_ been folded and
crimped the the can and soldered. The blast tore the solder joint apart
and neatly unfolded and uncrimped the seam. The bottom seam held but the
bottom of the can was bowed out.

I was lucky in that the lid bounced off my thumb knuckle instead of my
face.

Y'all be careful out there!

Alan Jeddeloh
Tektronix
Wilsonville, OR
tektronix!orca!alanj

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