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Topic: Plasma Ball anatomy (Read 19869 times) previous topic - next topic


Dec 25, 2009, 02:02 pm Last Edit: Dec 26, 2009, 08:24 am by kas Reason: 1

Plasma ball appeared on the market back in the 80'S at that time they were rather costly
They can now be had at no price (12$ + shipping here http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-134-49-fr-70-2xi4.html).
Now, let's sit down, plug it to an USB port and watch it... nice...nice... what next!!   ::)
For most of us, the answer is obvious: what's inside ???
Six screw later, here we are:

A PC board with an HV transformer, a transistor, a couple of condensators and resistances

The schematic:

The flyback transformer does trigger the base of the NPN D882P transistor; the system naturally oscillates at 20kHz

So what's next ???       Arduino of course!!!   ;)
The idea is to remove all that junk, and drive the HV transformer from an Arduino's DO  

Stay tuned

Special thanks to Selfonlypath who convinced me to remove the dust sitting on my plasma ball since months.
Have a look at his youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/selfonlypath.


Wow, cool! :) I can't imagine what could be possible to do with an arduino and a plasmaball...
Federico - Sideralis
Arduino &C: http://www.sideralis.org
Foto: http://blackman.amicofigo.com


omg thats so cool! dude keep working on this, i smell a huge use for this in many ways! please keep this updated or post a link to a blog!


Dec 26, 2009, 07:00 am Last Edit: Dec 26, 2009, 09:35 am by selfonlypath Reason: 1
For more info of plasma management with application on wireless medecine and free energy, please see http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1256402716.

As a reminder, the real plasma secret is to control three parameters in order to make chaos or non-linear or parametric oscillators going beyond classical Maxwell equations of electro-magnetism:
- voltage amplitude of flyback transformer
- pulse length excitation
- frequency of pulse length

N.B. Plasma ball was patented by Nikola Tesla  in late 1800's as one plasma device without electrode wear & dangerous ozone O3 coming from air spark gaps.

P.S. Please be careful with fly-back transformer: very high voltage that can kill, strong Back-EMF so make sure to use isolator (4N25 or best IL610) between arduino pins output and mosfet or IGBT driver.



Wouldn't a simple interface to an Arduino output pin just be through a optoisolator and have the isolator output transistor provide a 'short out' of the base to ground of the existing transistor? That way there be no need for the Arduino program to have to provide switching frequency to the HV transformer, just enable the existing oscillation or inhibit oscillation



Hey retrolefty, what existing oscillation are you refering to ?


From the posting above between the pictures:

"The flyback transformer does trigger the base of the NPN D882P transistor; the system naturally oscillates at 20kHz"

That's what creates the HV, the oscillation using the transformer for feedback to the transistor shown.



Dec 27, 2009, 04:07 am Last Edit: Dec 27, 2009, 04:11 am by selfonlypath Reason: 1
Interesting, i did not see that specific comment of natural oscillation. I feel then the method you propose is just having arduino turn off or turn on that specific oscillation.

Personnaly, I rather generate HV via direct pulsing the frequency, pulse length & voltage amplitude. This gives access to a very wide range of plasma tendrils types but also optimizes the power supply versus level of plasma generated. To do this, i just deconstruct a standard plasma globe, only keep the globe & trafo then connect an isol-mosfet driver between arduino & trafo, the arduino generating whatever triplet (Frequency, duty cycle and amplitude ) of interest.


There is a reason they use self oscillation and not something like a 555 timer. Apart from being more cost effective, these transformers are designed to work at a specific frequency. If you go too far above or below that frequency it will stop producing sufficient voltage for a plasma breakdown inside the globe.

The transformer is ferrite cored, which typically work best at around 22Khz. I have pushed a few of these little plasma globes before, however they are susceptible to corona breakdown inside the little transformer, which causes internal shorting.


I cannot say anything with USB plasma 3,5" globe & its associated trafo because I don't have one.

Nevertheless, I've long experience with 5" and 8" plasma globe where i use my own isol-drivers & freq gen so I can tell you no problem to push them high or low frequency.

Please visit my website http://www.youtube.com/user/selfonlypath but you're right, playing with such plasma & HV trafo tech can be very dangerous so best know the rules.

P.S. On 5" and 8", they do have a local oscillator but I throw them away.


Dec 29, 2009, 10:58 am Last Edit: Dec 29, 2009, 11:01 am by selfonlypath Reason: 1
For those of you interested to deconstruct 5" and 8" plasma ball all made in China, here are the trafo P/N: FBT-18 and BSM04-D02. I personally do not recommend using BSM04-D02 which has lower quality, tend to over heat if pushing frequency either up or down from its designed frequency. FBT-18 is much bigger & stable but ultimately, for those of you seriously interested in plasma engineering wether for visual entertainment or Zero Point Energy devices as i'm doing, best to build your own flyback trafo which then can really make sure of another issue raised by THINGS (corona destructive effect inside trafo). Always remember that when attempting Tesla Coil design, a HV trafo has an internal capacitor between windings so even if it looks like an inductor, it can become an incredible LC resonance circuit interacting either with backwards current through PSU via mosfet switching or plasmic diode & negative resistor ;)

In all cases, always isolate signals between arduino pins and isolated-driver (mosfet or IGBT) otherwise HV could destroy arduino & computer connected via USB port to arduino.


Dec 31, 2009, 04:04 pm Last Edit: Dec 31, 2009, 04:34 pm by kas Reason: 1
Phase II (still without Arduino)  ;)

Let's make our own electronic control device
First remove and save all components in the plasma ball base. The HV transformer has to be directly connected to the ball power socket.
The schematic is straightforward: Optocoupler for safety + Logic level N Mosfet
R1 limits current within the 4N25, to protect the internal diode
R2 acts as a pullup resistance

For more serious job (higher voltage/frequency), 4N25 should be replaced by a faster device, Mosfet should have higher Vds, driven by a Mosfet Driver to overcome gate capacitance.

For now, the Arduino is replaced by a square wave generator

Power supply delivers 3.3V, peak to peak output signal is 14.7V

Final (easy) step: the square wave generator will be replaced by an Arduino with adequate software

Stay tuned,
Happy New Year  :D  :D  :D


We have one of those plasma balls that i think i ruined while spring cleaning.

Its got this layer of plastic around the globe that started coming off.

Do you have or had a plasma ball and will it still work if i peel the rest of it off?  I'm kinda afraid to turn it back on....Does this directly affect how the static in the ball works?


Jan 01, 2010, 09:16 am Last Edit: Jan 01, 2010, 09:16 am by selfonlypath Reason: 1
I don't vizualize or understand what plastic layer: maybe post a picture...
For me, the globe is in glass, not plastic !


The plastic may just be a anti-implosion protection device, so if the glass shatters it doesn't spray too far.

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