Monday, November 26, 2012


"Meditation is power"
The Buddha sits on my Tesla coil, enlightened also by the very high voltage arcing into the air around him.

My main goal for high voltage experiments has been to build tube lasers and eventually build a full Tesla coil. I want to reach a full foot long arc and get to more then 1million volts eventually.  I still have a long way to go, but this is a good start.  Mostly for me--it's about money and how resourceful I can be at building coils with very little of it. I have finally built a REAL Tesla coil that operates via an arc and capacitor combination. Not just a flyback or transformer setup in series.  It was not as difficult as I thought it might be, and since my successful Coil Driver circuit was perfected I have been able to run a lot of things.  I also learned a great deal about TV circuits and Flybacks.  I have many projects planned, one is to build my own O-scope from scratch.  I have done something similar before--back in the mid 1990s I built a "ocilograph" from scratch with a B&W TV but the picture was weak and I never perfected the drivers and amplifiers for it's deflection coil.  I now know how to do so.  This is one of my planned projects.  I have used many means to drive flyback or LOPT transformers from old TVs to homemade AC ones.  Hartley Oscillators to my take on the ZVS as I posted before--and now, my favorite, a flexible synthetic oscillator and mosfet combination. Simply a 555 and power mosfet IRFP260 was my obvious choice for getting the most out of flybacks without burning them out.  Thus the Coil Driver 1628 was born, which I will explain later--powers a TV flyback and here thus the Tesla coil circuits.   I am sure I am not the first one to ever use a TV flyback to run a 150Kv Tesla coil--however--I have never seen anyone do it on the Internet or anywhere else.   I decided to power my coil with a large TV flyback (yes DC due to it's built in diodes)- as I had no choice.  I simply had to-- on a very low budget put this coil and two others together with whatever I had laying around.  The primary is made of old TV coax, the coil itself wound around an old plastic bottle.  I built the adjustable arc chamber inside a pill container which surprised the very loud sounds it made (possible since the arcs are slow and thus not enough heat generated to melt the plastic--makes for easy adjustment of arc).   Since my largest Tesla coils powered by flybacks run at a pulsed frequency rather then the more constant 60hz a NST (Neon Sign Transformer) will produce the heat generated is less and arc chambers that keep things quiet are more easy to make.  I have since saved my pennies and ordered a 12Kv NST which I got and modified so that I did not have to worry about any GFI circuits and got a coil going over night with a new primary--again made of very useful old TV coax! I had to remove the darn GFI "smart" circuits because they will shut down an NST if it is used to power things like a Tesla coil since they produce many voltage and RF fluxes.  I made short work of the GFI circuits only because I have a very good understanding of transformers and high voltage transformers.  Do not attempt to remove a GFI from an NST unless you really know what you are doing it can be VERY DANGEROUS.  It is better to buy a NOS (New Old Stock) transformer or transformer from another country that does not have the crazy GFI laws.  Funny thing is, they don't prevent you from being shocked or fires from starting very well!  I was surprised at this, it took several min before the GFI circuits did anything about serious fault problems and I was not even in "setup mode".  My tests showed that with the GFI an arc could run for more then 10min with a load, plenty of time to start a fire or shock someone.  The GFI circuits and the law to need them is a joke when it comes to the NST! I really despise big brother laws like that--and putting chips in everything to protect mainly adults from ourselves. This site is not about politics--however.  None of these pictures show the coil powered with an NST--they are all with the coil powered using a large color TV flyback coil and my Coil Driver 1628 build.

So all of these pictures are of the flyback version powered by my Coil Driver which was built to drive flybacks and other transformers as well as figure out unknown and unmarked transformers.  To make this simple as I can explain, the "PWR Coil Driver 1628" which I have named it since I built it--drives a large TV flyback which then drives an arc chamber.  Then the HV is passed into 3-4 homemade capacitors (each about 1500pf 50kv) and then the primary of my Tesla coil--which is about 17 turns of shorted TV coax.  I max out the flyback with my driver which has a lot of flexibility (it can be used to even control motors or power iron core 60hz transformers all the way up to small RF AC arc welding transformers) and thus get nearly 50,000 volts out of the large flyback. I am thinking of using another chip to drive the frequency range even higher--another timer chip that can go into the HF range in the future, this could be really interesting.  I also am adding a singing arc system, either will be input to the 555 or a bifilar wound transformer on the mosfet's gate.  I did that and it worked very well with the prototype version of my Coil driver.  I will post videos of my singing arc later.  So back to the Tesla coil--the flyback voltage (about 30-50kv) is then arced so that it can produce the discharges needed to power my Tesla coil with homemade capacitors.  It has a primary resonance without capacitors of nearly 14Mhz!  Really high! But that's just the freq. of the primary air core coil alone, not taking into account the caps in this resonant circuit or anything else.  I have yet to calculate all of the math in my Tesla coil.  At least I finally got a fully operational Tesla coil going and now I am finally posting it!

Much of my success was hours of experimentation and electronics intuition.  As you can see I did not just find a how-to on the internet.  I wanted to see if it could be done with a TV flyback and proved that it really could--and very well!

You can't keep a good scientist or photographer down!
I have to experiment and get ideas around my pain attacks and physical illness issues that are a daily problem.  But doing things when I can, I have spent as much time as I can working on this and continuing my exploration of high voltage electronics.  I have over 20 years experience in electronics, --now combining my photography with electronics is one of the best things I have ever done.  It has been fun, but reminders of my physical difficulties come up all too often.  I don't like to talk about it much in my blog.  I just want to show what I can accomplish despite my life challenges.  Have fun looking at my plasma pictures!
 Here is a corona shot--this is what it really looks like and soon a video will be up showing a bit more.  Notice the big home made capacitors in the background.

If you are not comfortable doing what you are with high voltage, you should NEVER do it unless you are supervised by someone who is.  This is VERY DANGEROUS and experience is necessary.  I have spent years reading and working on many types of projects before I got here.  Don't take shortcuts and if you want to get into high voltage or Tesla coils--find a mentor who will help you knowledgeable and trained in electronics.  I am now a licensed Technician in radio and have done everything from taking collage courses to a mentor-ship in my pre-teen and teen years and then studying on my own. It took me years to get good enough to do many of the things you might see in my blog.  So please, don't just try something you don't understand. You can have lots of theory, but it does not really prepare you enough for building the real thing.  There are subtle things, hidden and complex about electronics, especially in RF and high voltage!  It took me years working with other kinds of high voltage stuff and many bad electric shocks--to get good enough to build this stuff.  I was lucky.  I have seen destining U-tube videos.  be careful with electricity and always treat it with respect!

 Many arc shots are not done with a ruler to show scale or size, I figured I should take a picture using this one which gives you an idea of how big my streamers are.  I used a wooden ruler with a metal strip on the side A real pain! If you know what I mean--from experiments with HV!  When you forget it's there you can quickly get shocked!  However, not being plastic and having the metal strip made it great for showing streamer size.
 "Glass is not an insulator anymore"
To nearly 200,000 volts--glass is no longer really much of an insulator.  The power goes through it almost as if it were not there.  I could feel it too.  It does act as an insulator, but not as much. This is not doped glass and to more normal voltages would seem a 'total' insulator.  Glass jars like this are such good insulators they can be used to make capacitors which can handle up to 40-50,000 volts.  Any higher then that however, and you risk punching holes through even a couple of millimeters of glass and creating an arc that ruins the capacitor.  To 100,000volts and more, it's almost instantly penetrated by the flood of electrons.
 Measuring arcs can be hard, to find the basic rough voltage of my coil, I use a hot-glue stick.  This is because hot-glue is one of the best insulators I know.  It will not react to high voltage even into the 100s of thousands of volts.  So I lined it up with a ruler and marked off CM.  My largest arcs are about 15cm when the coil is powered by the TV flyback and about 13cm when it's powered with my new primary and a 12Kv NST (no pictures of that are in this post).  Arc measurement gives you some data on how many volts you have.  At normal air and sea level--1.1mm=1000volts.  So 9cm=about 100,000volts.  This is when the arc starts and becomes visible--makes a crack or 'bolt' in the air and starts doing this often or constantly rather then just hissing.  There are exceptions-- so this is not the best way to measure HV, but for a low budget it is simple and quickly gets you in the ballpark. Some conditions can change that seriously so you have to be careful how you measure it.  Only when an arc STARTS and where it starts is where you measure--NOT how long you can draw it out!  For higher current systems, 12kv can arc over 3 inches but only if you start the arc at about 14mm and draw it out.  This is because the atmosphere is on fire and the lack of air lets the arc travel further then it would through normal air.  The same effect can be seen if you try to send an arc through a camp fire or large flame, voltage will arc much further--several feet! Be careful!

The arc, such as in a Jacob's ladder happens when the air turns into a constant plasma from high current and high voltage --thus can it can arc as long as the air is hot enough to make a more easy connection due to the change in it. In a ladder, it goes up because heat rises.  At the top, the two electrodes break that path and the bottom ones are closer together and again an arc begins--thus they become the path of least resistance again.  As long as the air is on fire and thus is in a plasma state, the path of least resistance is the arc itself so the voltage will travel further because there is less air in the arc.  Thus lower voltages can draw out an arc far further then they could produce if just in cold air.  This mainly applies to higher current situations such as the direct output of a flyback or coil or NST and not most small/medium Tesla coils much since they produce smaller and thus outwardly 'cooler' arcs.  They do produce plasma just less of it.  That is what you see in the air as an arc. There are even smaller arcs that are so cold they are not visible to the human eye.  Such arcs happen when you take a piece off of a tape roll, they can range from a few thousand volts to millions but special gear is needed to even detect it.  Electricity is everywhere, even our bodies use low voltages to power our muscles. This is why they contract and move when we get zapped with static or some other voltage.

 Testing arc size again, you can see the jars as capacitors glowing blue in the background as well as the arc chamber, the cardboard around it to act as a light block as the arc inside is nearly as bright as a camera flash.  Yet this small arc chamber stays cool enough to use intermittently for hours and I took 100s of photos.  It uses two screws and is only possible because of the DC flyback--which is in mineral oil to prevent unwanted arcing back to itself or it's primary.  In some ways the flyback system has more options then the NST system which one of my next few articles will explain.  They both use the same idea, of making an arc with high voltage and then running the same power across that arc through a capacitor or several and into a air-core transformer.  The Coil Driver 1628 can be seen here too, it is the green box glowing with light from it's current limiting system and LEDs on the bottom left next to me.  This is what powers the flyback which in turn powers the Tesla coil.

 A "micro Tesla coil"
Using smaller capacitors and a smaller coil I wanted to duplicate a Utube video I found showing a tiny coil with a large corona like this.  I did it.  The coil is kinda messy I admit but it was very impressive.  I had to run it at a much higher frequency and only use 1 capacitor, but it produced more then 30-70Kv from about 10Kv (a homemade AC flyback ran it just as well as my large TV flyback).  My guess from it's corona is that voltage spikes are far higher then the 1inch spark I got going to the light bulb.  Different size coil+capacitor combos require different size arcs and thus frequencies to get a resonant circuit right.  The most important thing about tuning your Tesla coil may well be the size of your arc and exactly how you create it.  Because this makes the energy for the tuned circuit it drives which are your capacitors and the coil's primary in series (in most systems).  A variable primary would be the best idea for medium to large coils, but that can be difficult and even more expensive to do.
 Everything gives it's own mark when placed on the Tesla coil.  A glow or "ora" of energy is given off.  Especially where things are conductive.  But at voltages this high, almost everything gets a reaction of some kind.  This is again a ruler, this time side ways with it's metal side making a corona.

 A clear light bulb placed on top of the coil which has a water bottle (metal) as a cap top.  This made for a very strange effect of plasma and look I really like.   Despite being all glass on the side, the high voltage went right through the glass and even around the bulb, high voltage arcs on smooth surfaces better then it does through just air--yet still it reached out into the air after all this resistance.  The resistance between the glass bulb and it's top screw in connection so high it would be difficult to calculate in mega-ohms.  A capacitance effect definitely transfers voltage in some cases here, much as RF can produce high voltage in things at a distance.  Yet it still amazes me what high voltage does with things that are normally 'total insulators'.

1--LIVING THINGS respect all living things, do not kill. Generally, Tesla coils may seem like bug-zappers but due to there construction they are not good for it unless you want to burn out your parts and have short-circuits from dead bugs all over it!  Some coils are low power enough or if insulated can be operated low enough to touch the arc, but many will cause a burn or shock if directly touched without protection.  Very large coils can even be deadly if misused.  All projects, and Tesla coils should be unplugged and shut down when you are not home so that unauthorized users cannot operate them and kids/pets carefully watched if one is being used in a home with them.  DO NOT LEAVE A TESLA COIL ON UNSUPERVISED!
2--DO NOT PUT RADIO TUBES ON A TESLA COIL it will probably RUIN the tube because the grids and other small wires may arc and blow out.  Don't wreak tubes, they don't' make many of them anymore and we need them.  Put them on Ebay and sell them to people like me!  All radio/TV or vacuum tubes of any kind are worth quite a bit of money now days.  If you put a light bulb on a Tesla coil remember that it may be ruined due to arcs through the glass--and a CFL bulbs may be destroyed because of the very high voltage (may stop working with 120v)
3--NEVER PUT ANYTHING LIKE YOUR CELLPHONE OR DIGITAL DEVICE ON OR NEAR A TESLA COIL!  Keep digital/electronic cameras at a good distance and memory cards as well.  I warned you--try it and it will probably never work again.  This is because these new devices are very sensitive to high voltages and Tesla coils and destroy parts from several feet away!  Parts like Laser diodes are particularly sensitive to static electricity.  Keep your electronic parts far away from your Tesla coil or HV power supplies.  Before turning on--look in all directions where things are and make sure nothing that might be fried is near, from a laptop power supply to a guitar amp or a remote control--it could be wreaked by being too close to a coil!  Just 10Kv near enough to our TV remote fried it not too long ago and it did not even arc into the thing, it was just too close to the wire.

 Tape generates static electricity!

This is a hack of all time--get a 6 volt lantern battery, and put a %50 off sticker on it. Then hook it to a Tesla coil for 5min.  Now you will have a SUPER BATTERY!  You can run anything with this new battery and it runs on zero point vacuum energy-- energy produced by the universe itself when there is nothing present at all.  Particles try to escape the produced energy field and so once they pop into existence they are held in place by the 6Volts until they produce massive number of electrons! Just think--After this hack you will be able to power anything and never need to buy another battery again!  Need AC? It will do that too!  Just hook up an inverter. You get HUGE voltages at even more massive amperage out of a simple lantern battery that will run anything for years and years. Think of it--you never have to buy batteries or pay a power bill again.  The universe will automatically adjust the battery for you, so when nothing is connected it produces very high voltages (as seen in this hack pic)!  Keep it hooked to static-foam to prevent over-output.  ;)

Just kidding--Of course!  This is a 6V lantern battery on my Tesla coil.  This was actually the 3rd coil I wound.  I got more volts out of the 2nd one so now and in most of the pictures I use that one.  The concept of zero point energy is real, but you of course won't get any from a lantern battery!  I saw a bunch of videos on getting "free" or "cheap" batteries from other batteries.  Trust me, lantern batteries do NOT have D or AA cells in them.  They have an old type of "A" battery which is no longer sold by itself.  Four of them.  If you take one apart you will see what I am talking about.  They are in a tar-like substance that holds them together, each cell does do well--puts out more power because it is larger then a D cell.  It is 1.5 volts but won't fit any modern gear.  You could use these cells to get less volts at higher power then a D cell, but they are far too long to be used as a D cell.  Lantern batteries are NOT full of cheap batteries.  I don't know how the idea started.  Maybe there are some cheap batteries that use a number of AAs I can't be sure about every brand. 9Volts are similar, they have about 6 cells in them each 1.5 volts.  These cells are a bit smaller then an AAA battery but close to the same power.  You might be able to get 1 to work in a device that uses an AAA battery--but it is not worth the effort or danger of shorts and problems.  Funny thing these Internet myths. Batteries of this type are pretty simple so this lantern cell I use a lot for testing circuits was not harmed a bit by putting it on the coil for these pictures. Rechargeable cells are getting "smart" with circuits in them and may react differently so I would not recommend putting most batteries on a Tesla coil.

 The Filament in this light-bulb was knocked loose by the Tesla coils power.  Here you can see it just arcs where ever it can, and a screwdriver is not enough to insulate you from this kind of power.
 Nor is a CD case.  This reminded me when it was live of the displays the Borg had on Star Trek.  Those used a gas, probably nitrogen like what is in the light-bulb.  Sorry it's a bit blurred, most of these photos were taken quickly at a slow speed to capture as many arcs as possible.  I later perfected the camera settings but often found it hard to hold the bulb steady even for a 1sec exposure. You can feel the jolts of power from this coil!  I would not say it hurts, it all depends.  The phone book is a great insulator for that and made arcing fingers possible even for my wife to try.

 This is a static-resistant box used for electronic parts.  It's empty but because the plastic was made to be conductive made for an interesting effect on the coil. All four corners turned into arcing points of light and the power shot up like lighting to the bulb from any place it was.  This is another means of insulation from the full-blown power of the coil but not as effective as a 3inch phone book.

 Glass again is NO problem for the coil!  The glass arced right into it.  This is really what it looked like.  All these pictures are real attempts at getting exactly what the human eye would see with a very expensive camera.  NO PHOTOSHOPPING Or additions have been made.  The expensive digital SLR was for obvious reasons at a distance and using a long lens.  If you were standing in the room, these images are very much what you would see.  The only difference was the pulsing effect that happens when you run a Tesla coil off of a DC TV flyback.  So about 4-10x a sec the lightning flashes. A video will soon be up, I just have to get it transferred from u-tube.  I can also shoot 1080p at broadcast quality but I have yet to master uploading such large files to u-tube.

 This shows yet another effect, I wanted to catch what happens when a corona of UV light forms from tiny arcs that the human eye cannot see and then arcs form on the other side of something.  This happened here because the can is very flat and thus not likely to arc, where as the bottom of the bulb is more pointed and quickly started streamers into the field of ion-charged air making for a cool effect. The power however, is still coming from the Tesla coil.

 I started to think of capacitors for the top of my coil, it is very important for medium sized coils. In order to get good streamers and arcs you need a good top capacitor.  I was shocked at prices on line. $60 $80 so I was going to have to come up with something on my own--and they did not even give you the projected value or size sometimes of the ones they were selling.   It's just a hunk of metal!  That is an insane price.  I figured pie tins would be perfect, I finally ended up with coffee cans and pie baking pie tins.  These worked out great when placed top to bottom or top on bottom they nearly look like a store bought cap!  Finding the right capacitance is very important, it has to be just big enough and not too large, or not too small.  This can cut your arc sizes almost in half if you do it wrong.  I found that adding another coffee can added a full inch to my arcs! So tiny changes can mean a lot. Also the charges being at the top of the coil must be able to cover the secondary.  This way, coils that are likely to arc back on themselves from primary to secondary will be less likely to do so since the same charge is present across the entire top of the coil out to the radius of the secondary. This can be very important in keeping unwanted arcing from happening.

A picture of it really running--when I had things setup right my arcs get as long as 15cm!  Streamers start to come out of everything!

 The longest arc picture.  This was taken with my 4th coil. This coil is the longest but had primary and secondary problems--this is why I have insulation on it as can be seen.  The primary was really messy, but it still pulled off an amazing arc.  My current coil I mainly use is slightly less powerful but works better with the NST system and also has a lot less loss.  And it looks neat!  I wound this one's primary out of stranded wire I tripped from a vacuum cleaner cord!  It was too small and looked terrible.  My voltage however, was really high on this coil.  I think I will rewind it and come up with some more TV coax or something like it to do the primary further out then I did this time.  It does show how messy you can make a Tesla coil and that it will still run.  You can see all the parts of the set in operation here.  From my capacitors to the arc-gap which is nearly dead-center in the screen, to the TV flyback which is in oil to prevent unwanted arcing, and the coil driver I built lit up in green on the left next to me.

 Lights off for this one, I put a nightlight bulb on it with a spring and balanced it. I saw discharges all over the bulb and inside then again as seen before the bulb put streamers out at the top.  This looked really cool and made for a good picture.

 Here is where I put my finger to the coil through a phone-book.  The phone-book made enough insulation (for a short time before it burned through and made tiny holes that started shocking me!) to make lightning bolts come out of my fingers!  Tesla coils are a lot of fun, you can see where the power tries to find a way through all around the book if you look close.

 My wife wanted to try this one, she put her finger a few inches from the book and without even making contact a good number of bolts came out of her finger.  We could just feel this hardly--not that bad.  Many NST coils are too powerful to do this with or it would be more difficult.  My flyback system has some advantages so I am keeping the primary and arc chamber I need to run it.  All of the pictures in this post and on my site so far were shot with the flyback system--a color TV flyback (very large) is used to power the Tesla coil in the same way an NST does in most systems.  I don't use saltwater capacitors however--I have done fine with large ones made using 2 layers of Aluminum foil, one inside and one outside with a top connector.
 Here I put my whole hand down and it began to arc-- I guess the phone-book has some use after all!

WATER AND ELECTRICITY usually don't mix well!  As it is clearly conductive!  Less then 600K in most cases so high voltage spreads fast through even really clear and clean water.  Not only does it go through the water here--it also goes through the glass.  This was amazing to see and even more impressive to see live rather then in a picture.  Once again the bulb is blurred because I always moved it a bit, tended to move it during the exposure time.  I could have set for faster exposures at higher Iso levels to match the human eye but I was so into getting these first coil shots I just let it go knowing I'd get good enough shots.  Most of them were about 1-4sec. or so at iso3200 or 6400.  The camera I am using can go far higher then this even without serious noise!

 I wanted to see how fast I could light a flame with this. YEAH if you have Gas in your home--check everything before you run a Tesla coil!!!  This will spark off anything that could lite in the air.  I was able to light this lighter by just holding down the gas button.  The lighter would lite just getting close to the coil when streamers started to form near the flame where there is a small amount of metal.

 A coke can placed on the coils top capacitor which is a coffee can.  Streamers come out of it in all directions and there is nothing grounded near by or anywhere close.  It would do this anywhere it was setup. Streamers like this is one way of knowing you have well over 100kv or 100,000 volts in your Tesla coil.
 LIGHTNING WILL ARC across water!  As you can see if you zoom into this shot of arcs going into a jar full of regular non-salted water.  The arcs cut across it probably because of the fact that a field of distributed energy is almost equal across the top of this water.  Since the voltage comes from the bottom through the glass.  A capacitance sets up between the water and the can charging all of the water equal moved or hit by an arc.  This should be happening in nature as well as long as the water is very flat, especially with voltages in lightning. (sometimes billions or even trillions of volts!)

 One last stream here to show.  This one was almost 6in long.  I am shooting for 12 inches.  A foot.  My ultimate goal is to run a 1megavolt coil.  1,000,000 volts.  So now you know why it is a myth that there are 2 million volt stun guns fitting in a pocket and costing $100 bucks!  Look at what it takes just to get several hundred thousand volts and how much gear!  You could make this smaller, but just one HV capacitor that can handle voltages in the range of my driver costs over $100.  Making millions of volts takes a lot more then a 9v or rechargeable batteries usually have and also requires a lot of gear that takes up space. 
 KF7DFP's Power Coil Driver 1628--connected to a TV flyback in mineral oil--
 With multiple frequency possibilities, built solid enough to be able to be thrown into a backpack and taken anywhere there is a way to power it, and with a remote SMA control port--this is my coil driver.  It will turn a power transformer into an inverter that will power a 50W light bulb OR even a big CFL.  It can also power DC and even some AC motors! It will also power high frequency coils at or way above human hearing.  Four range settings and 2 potentiometers control the frequency.  Built in static and kickback protection for parts and the DC is provided by 2 switching supplies built under the box.  A Hi/Lo switch gives 16 or 28volts output direct from the mosfet and the whole system is grounded making it possible to run things like ignition coils as well without kickback damage or unwanted arcing.   Features I added such as a 220nf res. cap. for some flybacks can be switched on and off as well as a "Turbo mode" for extra output when using certain projects like the Tesla coil.  The relay remote control also acts as an overload protector and this driver also has a ballast to protect flybacks from being over-powered when not in Turbo mode.  It also protects the mosfet and visually shows you current draw with any transformer you are using--even in turbo mode!  The Turbo mode switch kicks in a capacitor across the 50w 12v ballast bulb which becomes a charge discharge circuit with the lamp (a resistor).  This almost doubles the possible output of the supply.  A forced air CPU fan cools the whole thing and makes it possible to use this driver almost continuously without fear of mosfet damage!  It will challenge any ZVS.  I have built ZVS systems before but have a problem with grounding them since they use a 2 phase system of powering things, also frequency sweeping to find resonant frequencies is not possible.  The 555 driving a good mosfet built right does not have such problems--so I chose to build this coil driver around that chip.  Just in case of unlikely overload and part damage, the 555 and even main power 7812 regulator is built into a socket so that they may be replaced if there is a failure.  It also has quick replacement for the mosfet and the 12V ballast bulb.  Not that it has been needed!  I am really impressed with the system. I got the idea for a ballast bulb and started saving parts and money on parts right away! I made this circuit a really useful system for many high voltage and transformer experiments.  It can put out over 60-200+ watts and powered all the Tesla coil pictures you saw above.  The schematic in full is below--this is for REFERENCE ONLY and I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for any misuses or abuse of this design or anyone who builds it.  BUILD AND USE ELECTRONIC PROJECTS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 A homemade flyback coil running a plasma display--powered by my Coil driver. The florescent light bulb is actually "burned out" but rescued from a dumpster ones that won't start anymore continue to glow for a very long time when exposed to high voltage.  This one simply lights up when near any AC voltage such as the output of this homemade flyback wound around a TV flyback core.

 My VERY first successful Tesla coil project.  This idea came from a desktop Tesla coil I saw on line and wanted to reproduce.  After some effort, I did.  The corona can be amazing and only shows up on the last winding.

 The Tesla coil 3c.  This is the coil the produced almost all the pictures in this post.  It's primary shown for very high voltages used powering it with the TV flyback which is powered by the Coil driver.  I put it on a wooden board with hot-glue to hold it and then remove and put back coffee cans at will to change top-capacitance at will.

 My Coil Driver--in action!
Powering a color TV flyback in mineral oil up to about 45-50KV!  A very large output for a flyback--only usually practical if put in oil and powered by a really good driver.  A homemade winding of about 14 turns is used to power this one.  The light from my current limiting ballast system shows as I draw and arc.  This was cut down even more with aluminum foil since the bulb is cooled with the mosfet.  Fan shown on top and micro-switches to turn on and off different functions.  Yes it works to put a metal lid on the jar--as long as you use hot-glue to seal it and keep it neutral.  If it becomes grounded you might have problems.  I have several flybacks in metal lid jars--no problem with them has happened.  Mineral oil is the best way to run a flyback and does not require you to break off leads or anything.  The flyback becomes more efficient and no more unwanted arcing.  It's hard to believe until you try it.  A flyback that has been in oil can even be dried out and taken back into operation outside the oil if needed.  This was my idea because I had so many flybacks that arced back on there cores or on the bottom pins.  This is a way to eliminate all of that!

 A plasma bulb display with the high frequency micro-Tesla coil.

 The KF7DFP PWR Coil Driver 1628 schematic (power supplies not shown, can by any DC plug in supplies that are ground isolated or batteries.)  Test for ground isolation by testing if (+) or (-) shorts out the supply when connected to ground--this may be eliminated by not grounding some switching supplies.  Build your own supply or use DC supplies like laptop supplies without a ground connection.
 THIS ALONE WILL NOT POWER A TESLA COIL!  It powers a flyback which then powers the arc and capacitors that power the Tesla coil.  Just a note for those who are beginners--I call it a "Coil Driver" because most HV transformers are called "coils".  It's the power supply that you can use to power the stuff that runs a Tesla coil, basically.

Using a 12v 50W light bulb as a current limiting resistor (even when your power voltage is way higher then 12V)--will save you the pain of a lot of blown parts!  A car headlight will work fine, for larger systems put 2 in parallel or series.  I learned that started back with my first ZVS circuits.  It acts as a 2nd fuse and moderator for anything you hook it up to and if the mosfet shorts it won't blow other parts by shorting them too.  They only short into the bulb.  With the turbo mode on, this becomes a bulb with a correctly polarized capacitor on it--which means nothing to DC--so the bulb will still save you!  It was purely my idea after several mosfets and flybacks were painfully lost.  Please credit me with it if you feel you have learned something useful here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


MY WORK CONTINUES ON "Mostly Macros Imaging" but I will begin posting here again as long as this blog stays well.  I will just keep my new blog as a backup and transfer at least my main first post onto this one.  I have a lot of work to do.  I have been working on electronics and photos of my projects--I have built many in the past few months! I have taken 100s of photos which have not yet posted.  It is a lot of work and so it will take a while before I am ready to post them and I have this blog problem fixed.  There have also been some family issues that have been difficult in recent times--I will somehow transfer the posts and post many more pics of my electronics, including my TUBE (6L6 GC) flyback driver.  I am building my timer mosfet driver into a clean and small package as well.  I will update this blog as soon as I can starting with the posts done in my other blog.  I have also not contacted some of my friends lately, please forgive me for that I have a lot going on.

The most important news here is that I got a call today saying this site was BACK on line!  After a serious crash and then blackout--I assumed that my blog was basically history.  I could not even access my Google account.  In turn I made a new blog called Mostly Macros Imaging which I may import or continue to use I am not sure.  I may just put a link into this site.  I will wait and see if this site remains stable.  It is very possible that Goggle simply had an error that they did not tell me about which may have had something to do with the anti-virus program that claimed many blogs were fake. I do not know, but if this site keeps stable--I will continue to post.  I had figured that all these years of work and pictures were gone.  It all came back and it looks like Google got the problem fixed!  It will take me time but I will at least post a link or move the articles from my new site into this one.  I am not sure how I am going to handle this yet.

--old news--
NORTON ANTIVIRUS SERIOUS NOTE:  I plan to put more electronics in my site--and articles--as well as new photos.  However I was shocked to see that blogspot experienced a SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH NORTON.  It says that my blog and most other blogs as well are "counterfeit" or something to that effect.  With a huge warning and some people even say they cannot access there site at all.  I had to shutoff Norton.  This is a BIG DEAL effecting 1000s of bloggers.   We are mad a NORTON and hopefully they will have the problem fixed soon.  They are apologizing--for what may be a serious problem which they claim was fixed but keeps happening for me at least.  I am sure that means they will fix it soon.  They say it was a total error-- blogs are very safe.  Unless you click on a link--you can't get a virus by going to one.

WARNING!  DO NOT attempt to build ANY high voltage devices unless you have experience in electronics and high voltage.  These devices can be unpredictable, far more complex then they look on paper and of course, very dangerous.   These pictures and basic schematics can be found on the internet commonly and are for educational purposes only.  I am an electronics technician with over 20 years experience.  Attempting to build a high voltage circuit without the help of an experienced technician could be dangerous or deadly.  Other hazards exist with high voltage as well.  I will not be held responsible for any use of the knowledge posted on this site. It is up to you to be safe and smart with any experiments you conduct.

I have not been posting pics because I have been working.  Working on some really AWESOME circuit power supplies.  One is my variation on a simple but effective 40-50Kv (40-50,000 volt) oscillator which uses a flyback or LOPT transformer from an old color TV or computer monitor (the bigger the better) to produce high voltage.  Sometimes very high voltage, a large flyback from a large tube TV can produce as much as 50kv if it is driven right.  This can be used to run experiments, drive plasma generators and many other things such as singing arcs and Jacobs ladders.  You can also build circuits that will double or even triple voltages such as voltage multipliers and Marx generators to simulate lightning.  So to merge my two great interests of electronics and photography I built three main kinds of power supplies for extensive testing. Each has it's advantages and drawbacks.  The first one is a relatively simple 1 transistor Hartley oscillator (HO) circuit that requires a transistor you will almost certainly find in the TV you pulled the flyback out of.   It is rated for high voltage, so unlike many of the schematics on line which call for a tortured 2N3055--you won't have burn out issues if you treat the circuit right.  The 1 HV NPN H.O. transistor circuit can handle the current and voltages used since these transistors are rated for at least 1000volts! The Hartley circuit can handle input DC voltages as high as 24volts or so, going higher may burn out the transistor without serious modifications to the circuit.  Attempts at running it as high as 35volts destroyed the transistor instantly even with current limiting measures.  The flyback is driven to do several things in a TV, it runs the horizontal control for the magnetic yoke as well as generates the high voltage for the tube.  It even often provides the filament voltages needed!  It's the heart of a TV and does lots of stuff.  With the right circuit however, it also makes a great HV power supply.   You can order these HV Horizontal control transistors on line, and they are far more efficient then a 2N3055 in this kind of circuit.  These can be very efficient circuits if you get the resonance right as they operate using a feedback winding.  However, generally speaking they would not be my first choice for highest voltage outputs or amperage. They are however quick and easy to put together with just a few parts and alligator clips.  You will want to use a good heat sync.  See my schematic for part numbers.  I could get VERY technical about all of these circuits as I have been experimenting with them in depth for most of this year.  The articles on my new Blog "Mostly Macros Imaging" (I still don't know when/how I will make them visible on this blog but they soon will be) give a bit more depth to some of the experiments I have been doing. One of them explaining how I built my own flyback able to produce about 10kv and the complexities of coil/transformer winding.  I have learned a great deal about designing high voltage generator circuits with my final goal being to build a 500kv-1million volt Tesla coil.

But I do not just plan to build it, like these other circuits, I plan to understand it's design and take part in that design entirely.  So I started off here with the most basic HV circuits and then moved on to the ZVS--a great circuit for lots of applications and many would argue, the best.  It's biggest limit being that when it is used with re-cycled TV flybacks, it cannot be grounded to earth.  The 2 phase pulse system is very efficient but makes it impossible to put a grounded load on the circuit or even a lot of mass without serious kickback.  Using oil may be the key to fixing this problem--I am now working on that and just began using it very effectively.  Mineral oil is the key to all your un-wanted arc problems!  Most recently the synthetic drive circuit which is a 555 timer or other chip that drives a power mosfet has grabbed my attention.  It is not as efficient as a ZVS but can produce close to ZVS power outputs and has a very wide list of applications.  The same circuit can be used to control a motor, drive a flyback (or even 2 if done right), even drive an old 110 to 20V line transformer backwards to produce 110V again--making an Inverter.  I was able to build my own inverter this way powerful enough to light a large CFL and even a 60W incandescent light-bulb!  I was also able to get it's frequency so close to 60hz I got a clock radio to keep time! Although I admit I would need filters and more stability to get it to really keep time well since cheap clock radios have poor oscillators for keeping time and require a true AC very clean sign wave. But it does work, just keeps time a bit fast and of course the radio works fine.  Learning the abilities of each circuit and how they work as I go along has been a fun and amazing process.  I knew about these circuits but this is the first time I have really put energy into building them and studying them carefully.  I am not without HV experience and of course have a good background in general electronics--but I have never jumped into high voltage this deeply until now.  No matter what you know on paper or in theory, nothing is like actually building the circuit yourself and learning it's possibilities, pitfalls, and options first hand.  This is what makes you truly knowledgeable about a subject.  Hands on experience is very important with all learning.  However when it comes to high voltage--often the operative words are "hands off"!  The main thing slowing my Tesla coil down right now is money--my budget is very low so getting the things required is difficult and will take me at least another year, possibly more.  Looking up things on line as I go I have also dispelled a number of myths--yes you CAN hook 2 flybacks in series. However--you may not be able to unless you use a ZVS since frequency and isolation is a factor in doing this.  And the biggest problem of all with flybacks in series is the HV diodes which are usually impossible to remove.  After you get to about 100kv--the diodes run the risk of being destroyed.  So unfortunately I cannot hook 3 or 4 flybacks in series--DC flybacks anyway--without most likely blowing out one or more of the HV diodes in the flybacks.  One will fail and the flyback is useless.  This limit makes most large TV flybacks probably limited to about 80-100kv.  I learned this all too well when I got a 12cm arc going (at least 120kv!)--it looked a half a foot long!  It only lasted 30sec or so. I now use an idea I came up with a long time ago to protect circuits on all my high voltage drivers.  Just 1 50W 12V light bulb on (+) of your DC input will save you a lot of money and grief as well as show you what is going on in your circuit.  A car headlight insert or those lights you can buy at nearly any store work great.  This gives you a solid 4amps to work with before it lights up and starts to take some of the current away.  If it does--something is wrong, and since you can get 3 for $8 or so--these little bulbs are cheap compared to mosfets lost due to ZVS meltdown!  Even if you power supply voltage is 50V--you can use just 1.  Going higher I might run 2 in series, but even if it does turn all the way on your bulb will act as a fail-safe and visible fuse.  Great for trouble shooting.  Desk lamps and other devices use these little 12v 50W bulbs--they often come with a small reflector built in.  If you want more power you can get 100W by putting 2 in parallel.  They have saved me a lot of money and effort in trouble shooting and I will mention them more later.  One of two flybacks in the ZVS failed when I bypassed my current limiting.  After testing the flyback in a number of ways (even building a resonance jar that will produce a voltage in any coil placed in it) I found the only thing that made sense for it's failure were those pesky diodes and that one of them just shorted inside the flyback once it reached it's peak voltage or got too hot.  I miss the days of tube rectifier HV.  You got an AC or DC flyback and it was YOUR CHOICE when you took the TV apart.  I sure wish I could find more of those today!  That circuit is later--first--check this out. 

"Plasma wall"
This is a Jacob's ladder making a plasma wall--pretty cool!  However--we are not even getting started with arc size.  This is about 40kv.  About 40,000 volts.  Most large flybacks can be pushed to 35-40,000volts without damage.  The same more or less--as most stun-guns and Tasers.  Which also use HV didoes and capacitors to produce a "punch".  I have bought about 6 stun guns over the past 15 years from several different companies and tested them.  Now days, they are saying they have as much as "7 million volts"!  Police, security--and everyone else--should know that this is a LIE!  For reasons I can only speculate they lied after they actually lowered the voltage from nearly 60-100kv in some units to about 40-50kv in most quality units now.  These companies decided to do this after complaints created by "kickback" which was impossible to control due to those large voltages arcing so easily.  You got shocked at the same time you shocked anything else.  Not cool!  Lower voltage however does NOT mean the stun-gun will be less effective against an attacker.  Actually using less voltage and higher current at a good pulse rate is a better idea--and this is why all pretty much all TASERS are 50,000volts.  However, how could they go from saying 100,000volts to 40,000volts!? It sounds bad. People would ask "where can I get the high voltage" when they really need to think about current, voltage, and frequency--as these matter far more then voltage.  But most people think that voltage is everything.  Not true at all. You can get 500,000volts from a Snuggie or blanket in the dryer!  IT does not kill you because it's current is very low.  So I guess a need to counteract useless fear over lower voltage prompted by bad kickback problems with the higher voltage models--they just started lying sometime in the late 1990s or so.  This is simple--and I need only say it once but everyone should know this--the best STUN GUNS you get will only give you about 50,000volts--even if it says "7,000,000volts".  The same (usually less) as you get from a police Taser. So cops should NOT be arresting people because they are selling or having these "million volt" super-stun-guns.  They are not any worse then they were before, no new magic has made it possible to get millions of volts and there is no reason to even try.  I own several of these stun-guns and I tested them myself.  I have been stunned with them as well, so I know!  I have also been a security guard. So trust me when I say from an electronics standpoint--they are just trying to sell bigger and better models and the only way to get to people is to tell them they have "millions of volts" now.  Tests show that often these new even very expensive stun-guns put out only about 30-50,000volts.  Giving a comparable shock and CURRENT to that of a police TASER.   This is important--since this issue has caused arrests when cops thought that you could make or they are selling "super stun-guns" that are thousands of times more powerful!  The only way to make a "super-stun gun" is to build it yourself and it would have to be very clever.  For millions of volts--something about the size of a small bag or briefcase holding large capacitors, voltage multipliers and a driver like a ZVS.  It takes serious technical knowledge to do that.  The parts for ANYTHING that can make millions of volts cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars--so doing it is very difficult and requires usually a very large coil like a 3 foot or more TESLA coil hooked up to very serious vacuum capacitors.  So lets get that MYTH about "million volt" stun-guns--out of the way!  It just is not practical or possible in such a small package.  Not at any useful current level anyway.  Most smaller, cheaper or 9v powered stun-guns I am sad to say, will only give you a hard-buzz and are not likely to knock out anyone let alone repel a mad and angry attacker.  If you get one--and I do carry one myself--get a rechargeable powerful one--and it may say "7 million volts" but it's really about 40 or 50,000volts which is the same as the police units.   Why they chose to possibly harm business with this lie I am not sure.  I recently saw an episode of a show like Cops about this- the cops were afraid of these units and talking about them as if they were very dangerous.  I can't stand it when people are not informed. It is simply a lie to sell more units.  And the lower currents they usually put out are less then police TASERS.  Some of the lower priced models are ok, and will disable someone if put in the chest or neck area.   However--make sure you test it on your leg--and do not buy a DOUBLE UNIT--they tend to go into high-frequency oscillation and loose there kick if both units come into contact with something.  This is no good!   The rechargeable ones seem to be the best--but I can promise you that none of them are a million volts.  Lower still in current, over a million volts is produced when you take tape off a scotch tape roll!  This amperage is so low it takes special gear to measure it and you don't feel anything.  But it can fry sensitive electronic parts.   Many problems would exist with a million volts in a box that small in a viable form--for one thing the diodes need to be larger to handle voltages like that, the coil has to be big enough to produce it at any viable current--and voltage multiplication capacitors at those ratings are very expensive--even in China!  So if you get one--be sure to buy an expensive unit and know that it's only about 50,000volts.  40-50kV is all you need--at the right amperage--to bring someone down.  The electric chair uses only about 2000 volts (at very high current) to kill someone.  So why all the hype about higher voltages?  Current is what kills or harms.  If you live in a state where they are legal, you also might want to brag only about your stun-gun being 50kv--and not have the sticker on it that says is "millions of volts".  Some cops might think it's illegal.  This is all so stupid, since it's really the current and frequency of stun guns and TASERS that bring people down, stun, hurt or could kill--NOT the voltage.  Even so, although it is possible the flybacks in some produce up to 100,000volts or so--arching several inches, it's really not a good idea to attempt to use that kind of voltage in such a small package with cheap parts and tiny batteries.  I knew this all along but even so ordered several different units and tested the voltages just to be sure--I was right.  The highest voltage I have ever seen from a Stun-gun was far less then what my ZVS produces--at far less current.  Way less then half the current.  To sum this up, they decreased the voltage in recent years in order to prevent problems with higher voltage systems in small packages--kickback getting to you.  So I guess they had to compensate by saying the voltage was higher to make people think they are more powerful.  They did increase the current in some units to better levels.  Notice how the prongs in recent years on most stun-guns have gotten closer together?    There is no need to make laws or be afraid of these things--they are very useful for repelling attackers without harming them permanently and should be legal in every state.  Voltage lies continue to keep this from happening in some states.

 This ark is about 1 and a half inches long and was produced by a relatively simple system of using a large Color TV fly-back coil.  Tube TVs require high voltage to produce an electron beam to light up your screen and draw and image on it.  This voltage varies, but most fly-backs can produce more then the TV uses.  So you can get about 35,000 volts out of even a small one.  Fly-backs are far better then ignition coils for raw voltage.  Ignition coils force you to ground one end to the input and are already in oil.  This is good, but upper insulation makes it very difficult to push them as hard as you want.  They are also built for low frequency and higher current making them more dangerous to humans. The low frequency part makes using them for plasma displays very painful! Typically you only get about 10-30kv out of an ignition coil before it starts arcing through it's insulation.  You could put one in oil and probably get 100kv out of it if you pushed it hard enough, but there is a danger of damaging it or melting the wires.  They are very good for anything you want to have arcing all the time as they were built to handle shorting out at high voltage and high current.  It takes some interesting circuits to drive them and I don't want to get even more technical here--if you want info email me or look it up on line, a 555 timer system with a large power mosfet would be a great choice.  They are small Tesla coils but cannot be run at high frequency so they are not much fun for plasma displays.  Like flybacks, despite ignition coils being low frequency--they are built for a DC and they will NOT operate at AC line voltages/frequency--like 60hz. They require a higher frequency.   Flybacks are a great choice for lots of things but the older the better. If you can order an AC flyback on line or get one from a really old all-tube TV--you got it made.  Often these connected to a large tube which rectified the voltage into DC.  SO this cap is your output rather then a suction cup for the tube.  Ground was often just the chassis.  These AC flybacks are an awesome find, a few companies also still make them.  The new ones have diodes embedded in there coils.  This makes the newer ones (made after the 70s or so) only good for some applications.  Since the diodes cannot be removed. However, the older all-tube TVs and some other TVs use a tube as a rectifier or external diode, this small tube will have a cap on it and be connected to the fly-back--this means you are lucky and found an AC fly-back!  Keep it and treat it with respect and care!  They are hard to find now days and great for making plasma displays and other stuff.  IT is nearly impossible to remove the diodes from most modern fly-backs.  However, arcs and many projects can be produced even with them in place and for some projects the DC is preferable to AC.  I use the arcs for photos and plan to post many more now that I have the power systems built.  This is one of the first schematics I drew of my 1 transistor Hartley design.  It came from an internet design which I modified to include a better transistor and use the flyback's internal windings rather then winding your own external ones.  There are some very serious reasons why you should NEVER break off those pins on the bottom of your flyback or cover them up!  The arcing can be controlled by using hot-glue or better yet MINERAL OIL.  Just submerge the entire thing in it, and run leads out of the jar it's in with hotglue to seal it up as much as possible.  Good Tupperware containers work for this, I will show this later.  This lets you run flybacks as high as they can go without any arcing that is not wanted and do things like run them in series.  My new power supplies have flybacks in oil just to make it more easy to control and use.

Here is the schematic.  Sorry about the light, I draw my schematics in pencil and don't have the software to make them on computer yet.  I have been hand drawing them for 20 years so I'm used to it.  This was my prototype basic schematic right out of my notebook--lacking lots of details or really nice drawings--so forgive the possible things left out but I assure you if you follow it it will work.  I found that you need at least 5W-10W resistors for the 220ohms and be sure to get a high voltage transistor from an old TV--you will clearly see it, usually it' marked with it's contacts and most of them are NPNs.  It will be connected directly to the fly-back in the TV which is drives.  So it's only natural to build the driver out of the transistor from the same TV!  Just because part of a TV died, does not mean the rest of it is.  Dead fly-backs and driver transistors are relatively rare.  The driver transistors are so difficult to turn on it takes less then a 10k to turn it on!  Once this circuit is going, hooking it to a power 20W 8ohm resistor is a REALLY good idea so that if anything is wrong you wont' fry everything.  Then use a good supply, regulated or high amperage--to run it.  Don't run it above 24-26volts.  I HAVE TRIED and trust me the transistor will fry unless you re-design the entire circuit.  Be SURE to use a heat sync and remember--the wires in the secondary (high voltage winding) of a fly-back are thinner then a human hair!  if they break or short--that's it. So don't arc it into oblivion if you want to keep it going. Check temperatures and only run large hot arcs for a short time.  You will have to find the leads here--this kind of circuit does not work very well with an external winding done yourself.  The hardest part about building this circuit is probably finding the right leads to use.  You need the primary coil--usually off by itself shown on the bottom left--and then you need the feedback coil--one of the other coils in a fly-back that will work as one.  This makes for some great output. You can wind your own--but as I say it's better to use the fly-back's windings as they are setup really well for this kind of driver. You just need to locate them by experimentation.  Polarity of BOTH sets is very important and must be right, so use a large resistor to find out if your circuit is working and find the leads without damaging anything--like a 50ohm, and an EMF meter--and then alligator leads to see when it starts to oscillate and produce a bit of high voltage. If the secondary is wrong a tiny high voltage may come up--be sure to test both directions while in a test mode (using a 50ohm series resistor) Then kick up the voltage and remove the 50ohm current limiter. You will either hear a sound and get almost nothing--or get lots of high voltage and hear a sound.  If you hear a sound and get no high voltage--reverse BOTH of the primary coils polarity and you should get things running.  The high voltage should hiss and then draw and ark--you will also need to short out the two pins usually close to the focus module.  This is a large coil that is connected to the secondary and thus must be hooked up.  This is true with every flyback I have seen.  In fact you find ground by seeing what pins arc together first at the lowest power input, short them and then solder on a wire and that's your HV (-) .  As far as using homemade coils--for feedback they will work fine in fact playing with this you could get to the resonant frequency of the flyback and produce a really high output--but wind the whole thing?  It works, but not very well.  If you wound A LOT of turns on it maybe--but it's best to use the fly-backs built in coils for this one.   Kickback volts will happen depending on your load and setup--use a 10k and 0.1uF cap for that in several places and or large MOVs. There are other ways but this transistor is so tough that you can operate it for a short time with the leads arching from emitter to base to collector!  I've seen it!  You will want to KEEP ALL ELECTRONICS including your phone and laptop--AWAY FROM THIS CIRCUIT and any other parts you intend to ever use again. IT produces a very active electrostatic field due to the low frequency oscillation it makes.   So it can fry things at a distance.  Don't get your digital camera or laptop too close!  Once is all it takes.

THE AWESOME ZVS!  (Zero Voltage Switching) driver-->

Several names are attached to this circuit which in itself is also pretty simple if your not a beginner.  This circuit was apparently designed by Vladmiro Mazilli according to the internet. It is basically just a push-pull mosfet oscillator with a lot of advantages and uses.  There are several versions including the one shown here which is my take on it.  I changed several component values and added a 2nd fly-back in series--breaking what many on line said was impossible.  And this is not just an effect due to 2 identical or lucky fly-backs--I have tried this now with 2 other fly-backs and it works just as well!  The ZVS may be the most powerful, versatile and trust-able, circuit for high voltage production.  Great for lots of stuff.  It produces lots of current, and lots of voltage from a fly-back or as I have proven is possible--two.  On this circuit you want to keep things to about 22-40volts and no more unless you change values.  At that voltage range you will have a lot of fun!  I found that hooking 2 fly-backs in series is just a matter of frequency and making sure that your ZVS is setup for it.  There is only 1 ZVS driving both fly-backs the ballast 12V 50W lamp which is in my schematic--I will add here soon.  I will put my schematic up in full later when I have it properly photographed.   As you can see, power is just pumped into the flyback with a coil of wire, 3x3 or 4x4 turns should be fine. Keep leads short and neat, despite what my circuit looks like!  See my finished supply--the CD-707 for a full system that works well.  This one is the prototype only.  The capacitor MUST be directly connected in the system.  In other words--if one wire is 1in going to one drain, and the other is 3 inches--it may not work!  One must experiment and build a clean circuit if you want it to be stable. Depending on lots of factors including your DC supply voltage and frequency--more turns might NOT be better.  I find 3x3 to be more then sufficient at AWG #22 hookup wire. Just be sure to use large insulated wire, it will get hot even if you do.  One flyback homemade winding is center tapped and goes into an RFC.  Be sure to chose a powerful one (2amps+), a 100mH I got at Radio Shack worked fine.  This choke the drain capacitor and the resonant frequency of the coils you use direct the operating frequency which can be quite high.  Unlike other kinds of driver's--the ZVS automatically will tend to operate towards the high end of a coils resonant frequency and pulls little current when nothing is being used.  It's a very efficient circuit.  It also does not create very much low frequency static/harmonics and does not use any part of the flybacks own primary except the ground end of the high voltage--so connecting them in series is easy since the homemade primary coils are isolated from the flybacks windings electrically.  Use a strong wire with good insulation and put in an oil filled tub as a separate unit to contain the HV DC electrical field for best results.  Out of oil they are limited to the flyback's insulation capability.  Regular mineral oil available at almost any drug store will work. Kickbacks can burn through this insulation so be sure to use hot glue at the bottom to cover the core so that arcs do not get into it and thus make it through your insulation on the primary wire if you are not going to use oil

I have lots of advice but I can't put it all here.  The complete computer-drawn schematic for this will be shown later.  My version became different from the version I got off the internet and drew on my notebook, but that is a start and that will work for one flyback.  First off, if you get those $3 Chinese bread boards--remember--each terminal is not like in the USA!  The terminals for power on top and bottom are only connected together every 2 x 2.  So you have to put in jumpers or you might spend hours wondering why your circuit does nothing at all!  I tested every part and only when I'd tested everything did I figure this out!  The capacitor is around 0.22uf and remember it gets HOT! Use a large one HV AC cap. and short leads. Find the right one, at least 200v. 0.2-0.7uf  My biggest peace of advice is to get a large current limit device--like a car front headlight--the 12v 50W ballast bulb.  You can find them in many places that are small now days so they won't take up lots of space.  They pull about 2-5 amps--so your circuit won't even be very limited unless it has a problem.  This circuit needs some serious amps to get going--most on line articles say "lead acid batteries"--like car batteries-- laptop batteries would be great but they must be modified first.  Laptop batteries may overheat or switch off, possibly even blow fuses if used with this circuit.  I use a Variac that is fused and bridge rectified to give me a large choice of voltages but do not go too high!  Above about 40% or so could damage flybacks!  They die very fast.   As I say--this 12v ballast bulb saved me more then once--to make sure you don't destroy all your components when you have a failure.  Experimenting with a new circuit there always is one problem at least!--use a 12volt car head light or desk lamp 50w 12v and your good to go. If it glows at drawing an ark then it's at the right time and you will know when your circuit is running well, it will glow slightly like a radio tube in normal operation--even at 45volts.  If something is wrong, it will light up really bright or even blow out if your using really high voltage and no other current limit systems--I use a good 3ohm 25w resistor at least too--ceramic so it can stand higher levels to protect everything a bit more.  It is not only a valve to stop wires from melting (and at these amps needed they can!) but it will stop one burned out part from cascading into another and burning it out.   The whole thing would have gone up in smoke twice now had I not used this method.  If you really want to see it fly and possibly fry, and add about 2cm to you already insane 8-10cm arks--remove it for a moment.  But watch temperatures.   The 2W 470s should really be 5W.  I changed that to 1k as they overheat quickly.  Whoever designed this circuit should have realized that.  The Zeners are there to protect the mosfets from exceeding 20volts on the gate. Thus they can be as high as 18 volts or so.  I use 1N5353 There are lots of cool things about this circuit but it requires lots of power, so I built an 4 level power supply for it.  Here I have 4 settings from about 10kv to 100kv on the system in a relatively small box for this many required amps.  2 switches control the DC output.  (In this case I am not using a Variac) Current limitations should be used for high voltages over about 100kv (10cm sparks that START at 10cm NOT draw out to 10cm!) you run into problems that might fry smaller fly-backs.  Don't push things too far or too long, using one flyback, I would not exceed an operating voltage of about 24 volts.  I am not sure you can push more then 2 fly-backs at once.  If you could you might be able to get a foot long arc, but I am afraid that may not be possible due to limits of flyback construction due to those HV diodes.  For unwanted arching at the bottom--use hot-glue.  Or just submerge both of the fly-backs in transformer mineral oil.  It can be removed and it is nearly a perfect insulator, non-toxic and has no odor.  So it stops arching very well.  Hot glue is also a great insulator, I use hot glue all the time and it's really cheap.   I would NOT break off any leads to stop arks as someday you may want to use those flyback leads in another circuit and really regret it.  Start out at about 22volts, no more.  If you start too low the circuit may not start to oscillate on it's own.  Keep leads to the hart of the circuit--the capacitor across both Drains (0.22-0.7uF 224-704-capacitor code numbers ("XX4"=0.X)--short.  Many of these can be found in computer monitors and tube TVs.  This part must be in good shape and checked heat, the circuit will do nothing without it.  And be sure to use a heat sync on your Mosfets. I use IRFP250s and have gotten used to them.  There are several kinds with different prices and sizes, do not use smaller power mosfets without checking specs!  IRFP250, 260 and 460 all work well.  Mosfets are actually also STATIC SENSITIVE so make sure they don't get too close to the HV.  The diodes are  FAST diodes--you can order them on line.  400+volts or more. (example:UF4007 --NOT 1N4007!)

Here we go-- 100,000volts or more.  Better pictures to come as they are already on my alternate site.  It is difficult to tell without about 300 mega-ohms.  I am working on that to get really accurate high voltage measurements.  I currently can measure only up to about 40kv.  The output here is near maximum but it will put out a bit more if I pushed it too far which might fry a flyback.  Use 2 large (30+ inch tube TV) ones if your going to use 2.  Be sure to get a good idea of what you can do with 1 flyback first!  I got the idea to prove and see if it could be done since I read so many people on line saying it could not.  You just have to take some special precautions and do things right.  Problems have already happened once.  My arcs for a very short time reached nearly 15cm-cold start!--but one fly-back stopped.  It took me hours to figure it out but when I did I was surprised after seeing so many high current large arcs pulled on U-tube out of sometimes small flybacks.  I have heard of other people blowing up flybacks, but usually it's from charging them with the wrong kind of power (like a 12v transformer or even line current!) --or using a ZVS to push them way too far or just letting it arc to itself or the core.  Often these videos are done however, without a ruler or stuff to really show size, so I thought I would prove my 3-4 inch ark--with one.  

 Here is another picture.  The ark is less then 2 inches from the ruler.  Showing how long it is to some degree.  The picture below is even better.
 Here we see the ruler being shocked with two arcs, this is because as you might know--old style wood rulers have a metal rod at the end of them for drawing lines.  This metal was a quick find for the HV which made it there very fast at 100,000volts!  This would be a "super-stun-gun" but look at how large it is!  You could not fit it in your pocket!  You can't run something like this off 9V batteries for long. This thing pulls at least 2-5amps at 40volts with the car headlight as a current limit 12v 50W X2-- and 3ohm power resistor.  So the power draw is about 80W+--most probably 150-300W or more with less current limits.  As I say, be careful, even with current limits, running this for more then 1min or so is pushing the flybacks hard if arcing.  This is built for momentary things like photography, not Jacobs ladders and stuff--but you can build a ZVS for that which will do great.  I even put a relay on it for a small hand operated on-off control.  This lets me arc on or off for photos when I want. I can also hook a CDS cell up to the control board and have it turn on or off with lights.  A simple circuit could also turn it on or off with an IR remote although interference from the arcing makes that difficult to do.  RF control is possible if you use FM or UHF--as long as the arcing does not create too much RFI. Arcs this big are serious and really show power.  You can feel it.  I would not want to be shocked by this, it probably puts out 1ma at full voltage but if loaded ma will increase to as much as 50 or more at less volts but still 10s of thousands. That could be enough to kill if you got hit with the full current.  It is always good to have an isolated safe switch that requires you to push it in so that if you are shocked you will shutoff the device automatically.  Just be very careful around ANY high voltage and unlike these pictures--use some HV cable for hooking things up--as it quickly arcs through the insulation on these kind of leads.  You can get HV cable at auto parts stores.  Ignition wire cable works great.  A simple bifilar-wound toroidal transformer placed on power or one on each gate of the mosfets will modulate it and create a huge singing arc!  I am not sure how long things will hold up if current limits were taken off, temp is good, but the fly-backs are taking a lot of power.  I wanted a big spooky old movie arc, so I came up with a new kind of ZVS for what I needed.  I chose 2 fly-backs that use a small electrolytic capacitor and current limiters to produce less current put more volts--it works great.  This is the largest high voltage supply I have ever built (as of 2012) and I built it from scratch.  For an updated schematic--stay tuned to my site. UPDATE: And my other sites articles will soon be here.   I will also be adding more pics at higher resolution of the arks and things arching into stuff as well as the DC plasma and particle photos I built this for!

This is the basic schematic I started from on line.  I drew it again fast--and have yet to complete and photograph a full version of my ZVS system.   My revision now includes a redesign of this circuit that allows for more power and a variable output.  The CD-303 and CD-707 homemade lab supplies. UPDATE: I have now drawn on computer my version of this circuit for running 2 flybacks and it will soon be posted here with more pics.  It differs in serious ways from this one, but the basic principle of a ZVS is the same.  You can get large and awesome arks with this circuit.   This is right out of my notebook.  There are also many on-line resources--just Google "ZVS driver" for those articles. Click to view schematic better. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

And here is the prototype in full operation!