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High Voltage Circuit trouble

  1. Dec 28, 2008 #1
    I'm working on building an electrolysis device in hopes of creating a healthy supply of hydrogen.

    I tried building a high voltage DC to DC upcoverter based on a tutorial found on http://www.instructables.com/" [Broken] With the new transistor, I was able to feed 5v from a computer psu without problem. This produced an output of 1000+ V. The power supply said the 5v lines were good for upto 29 A.

    Just when I thought I was in the clear, another problem occurs. When I hook up the circuit to electrodes (stainless steel forks) in a vat of vinegar/water electrolyte, the voltage between the forks read only 4V!

    I'm not sure what the problem is so this is where you come in, Physics Forums. My guess is that the electrolyte has too high of a resistance and the circuit is not allowing enough amperage to pass through the electrodes. Please pardon my lack of knowledge as I'm just a high school student working on this project with a friend.

    Below is the link to the circuit that was constructed.
    http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/2876/1000516xw4.jpg [Broken]

    And this is the circuit diagram.
    http://img224.imageshack.us/img224/3434/circdiagramgc5.png [Broken]

    Thanks for looking.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2008 #2
    Typically, flash circuitry like that in a camera isn't made to sustain high voltage while deliverying a steady current (just a short burst of low current at high voltage) nor are they intended to deliver high or decent levels of steady current. Chances are, the high voltage circuit simply cannot deliver the amount of current that the electrolysis process requires and is simply being loaded down, as expected.
  4. Dec 28, 2008 #3
    um... why high voltage? you trying to get killed? i used to electrolyze water when i was a kid, and i don't remember the voltage needing to be that high at all. i wouldn't go anywhere near water with voltage any higher than about 24VDC myself.

    bigger problem may be that unless you've got a decent electrode material, it'll corrode very fast.
  5. Dec 29, 2008 #4
    I agreed with Proton Soup that high voltage is very dangerous.

    Why did you settle on this particular electrolysis design?
  6. Jan 1, 2009 #5
    the current running through the water is loading down your output.
  7. Jan 1, 2009 #6
    Electrolysis is a Low Voltage process. It's something like a battery in reverse. The electrochemical reaction requires somewhere less than ~5 volts. The rate of hydrogen production is proportional to the current.

    Required is high current, low voltage.

    To discover the required voltage, one could reference oxidation/reduction potentials, if one knew the reactions going on. Even with carbon electrodes, you have to add a salt to the water, so things get complicated.

    I'm in no way a chemist. I'd use a variable power supply to discover empirically what voltage was required, and get better numbers too. :wink:
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
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