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Jacob's Ladder construction help.

  1. Jul 14, 2012 #1
    So, I'm planning on making a Jacob's Ladder. I've considered the high voltage issues and such, and now I'm doing the actual design process. So, a couple of questions.
    The overwhelming design that I've seen online has been to simply take a high voltage transformer and couple it to the actual wire mainframe of the ladder. But I also thought of putting a switch in between one rail of the transformer and one side of the ladder mainframe.
    I also talked about this with one of the Berkeley professors, and he suggested something like this:


    Uploaded with ImageShack.us/[/PLAIN]
    Hard to see, but basically, you have a capacitor which is charged by the transformer. Then, when you flip both switches, the capacitor discharges into the Jacob's Ladder.
    Which would be safest? Also, as far as switches are concerned, can anyone advise me on this? It seems that everyone on the Internet who has documented theirs just hooks the transformer to the ladder, but this doesn't seem to be the safest option to me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 14, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Thundagere, You might die (that is, lose your life forever) if you mistakenly touch some part of that apparatus! WARNING: Neon sign tranformers output High Voltage at sufficient current to KILL humans! If you are not trained in working with High Voltage do not try to build this Jacob's Ladder.

    I think our posts will be deleted by a monitor soon, anyway, because we do not want to end up aiding someone who may kill himself, or a friend, while trying some dangerous experiment without sufficient training, safety equipment, or knowledge of High Voltage.

    Your schematic is WRONG! Just being a "Berkely professor" is not enough to give valid advice on the design of High Voltage equipment. Do NOT attempt to build according to that schematic.

    I am not kidding you about any of this. I would prefer to have you continue to visit here on PF and participate, and not be buried six feet deep in the ground somewhere.

    Live Long and Prosper,
  4. Jul 14, 2012 #3
    I'm aware of that, which is why I'm having a family friend (electrical engineer) supervise this project. He's not coming here for a while though, which is why I thought I'd try and get some earlier advice. Can you explain what's wrong with it?
  5. Jul 14, 2012 #4
    That schematic makes no sense. The last thing you want to do is switch high voltages. The Jacob's ladder should be hooked directly up to the output of the transformer with the power switch on the 110V input to the transformer. Drop that class and find another professor.
  6. Jul 14, 2012 #5
    Probably a good idea....I just talked with the guy again and he seemed to take back his earlier advice, so yeah, I'll do something else. Thanks!
    Oh, and FYI, it isn't a class, I was curious about one of the Jacob's Ladders they had at the campus and I asked one of the professors about it.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2012
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