Jacobs Ladder

Posted on Feb 7, 2014

Build this exciting Jacob`s Ladder and watch electric arcs ascend the ladder and evaporate in space. It works from a clever 12, 000-volt power supply. Author Robert Iannini. ` People have long been fascinated by electric arcs-and perhaps put off by them. They show up as lightning, Tesla coil discharges, and long sparks that sting as you reach for t

Jacobs Ladder
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he doorknob on a cold, dry, winter day. This Jacob`s Ladder project turns electric arcs into a dramatic but harmless conversation piece. If you build this project, you`ll lean how a simple power supply operating from the 120-volt AC line can produce 12, 000 volts. In addition to powering the Jacob`s Ladder, the supply can power plasma displays, and it has even powered a light-duty, bench-type spot welder. Perhaps you would like to know the origin of the term Jacob`s Ladder. The Bible tells the story of Jacob`s dream about a ladder that extended from earth to heaven. Jacob, the son of Isaac, was the father of the founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. Among sailors, however, a Jacob`s Ladder is a long rope ladder that is hung over the side of a ship so the harbor pilot can climb aboard. The power supply for this project forms electric arcs across two diverging stainless steel strips mounted in a protected case. The 16-inch long strips are mounted on insulating Teflon blocks to eliminate possible leakage. The stainless steel strips are angled with respect to each other so that the arcs form at the edges of the strips that are separated by about 3/16 inch at their bases but the strips diverge to a distance of about 2 inches at their upper ends. The strips form a gap in the secondary winding of the output transformer. After power is turned on, the air dielectric breaks down due to the "almost" short-circuit state across the...

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