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01514001.JPG (407904 bytes)smwheel.jpg (947 bytes)Fun with Plasma

I was playing around with a small xenon flasher unit (the type used on security alarms & the like), and found that if you remove the flash capacitor, the high-voltage DC pulses from the inverter produce some very interesting effects in the xenon tube.

You tend to get a thin 'plasma stream' snaking through the tube, and adjusting the voltage produces lots of interesting patterns and effects - some of these are undoubtably due to the change in frequency of the inverter's output as the supply voltage is adjusted. If you slowly increase the voltage until the tube 'strikes', you can decrease the voltage below the 'striking' voltage, producing a wide variety of effects.

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You can 'bend' the plasma stream using a strong magnet, and with some practice, make it form into nice little loops!

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