Luca is building a Nixie clock, and in this post he covers the high voltage power supply section.
Nixie tubes are digit displays that use ~170V between the digit wire and a wire mash, to agitate the gas inside the tube. This surrounds the digit wire with a orange glow and it becomes visible through the tube.
Luca is using the MAX1771 based DC/DC boost converter to supply the high voltage required. This DC/DC steps up the 9-12V input to 180V output, as a bonus it has an additional 5V output for the rest of the circuit board.
Nixie clock HV power supply – [Link]
If you accidentally blow the wrong fuses on your AVR devices then you might want to check out Jeff Keyzer’s HV Rescue Shield. [via]
The basic idea is that there are certain blocks of memory (fuses) on the microcontroller that control how it starts up, which can’t be erased by a standard programmer. Instead, you need a device capable of generating a high-voltage signal to put the chip into a special programming mode, so that they can safely be re-programmed to correct vales.
Jeff’s solution was to create an shield for the Arduino, which has a built-in DC-DC converter that generates the 12V signal necessary to reprogram AVR chips. The whole project is open source, and schematic and code can be found at the project website.
HV Rescue Shield restores bricked AVRs – [Link]
Mark Rehorst build his own Van de Graaff generator and documented the procedure on the article below. Van de Graaff generator is a device capable of producing high voltages by collecting electrostatic charges on a large metal sphere. The high voltage generated is able to make peoples hair stand up! Check the article below for construction details. [via]
DIY Van de Graaff generator – [Link]
OK, maybe rolling your own vacuum tubes was a bit difficult? Why not start out by trying to make your own plasma globe? It uses an off the shelf 250 mL flask, saving you the difficult glass blowing parts. This isn’t a step by step like instructables, but it is a great starting point with a bunch of useful information. It would be a great addition to your Jacobs Ladder. [via]
Make your own plasma globe – [Link]
Mike writes –
Do you like the idea of tesla coils and other high-voltage sparking stuff, but don’t have the time, money or patience to build something that elaborate? Here’s a fun little project that can make big, fat, noisy sparks at least 2 inches long, and can be built very quickly and cheaply. The Marx generator consists of an array of resistors, capacitors and spark gaps arranged as follows… [via]
Make a “Quick & Dirty” Marx generator – [Link]