Chinese 1800 Watt Induction Heater – Horizontal Oven Heat Insulation Test

Test with using regular mineral wool for house insulation, to insulated the work coil in order to achieve higher steel temperatures. Here is another try, …

Chinese 1800 Watt Induction Heater – Heat Insulation Test

Test with using regular mineral wool for house insulation, to insulated the work coil in order to achieve higher steel temperatures.

2200 Watt server power supply for induction heating

A new 2200 Watt power supply made from server power supplies, and with steady cameras 🙂 Test of it in a long induction heater run …

Unboxing a Chinese 1800 Watt Induction heater

I finally got around to get the IH out of the box and repair it, here is part 1 of a series of videos on …

Snubber capacitor calculator

Here you can calculate the snubber capacitance that is needed to keep transient voltages below the maximum allowed value. Stray inductance is the inductance in the primary circuit of the inverter. If the stray inductance is not known, the two estimates can be used, high estimate for cable/wire primaries or long distances. Low estimate for copper busbar and short distances.

Switch between the input fields to automatically calculate the values.

Stray inductance nH
Peak current A
Max transient voltage V
DC bus voltage V
Results
Snubber capacitance uF
High inductance estimate uF
Low inductance estimate uF

Formulas used

Calculated snubber capacitance = Stray inductance * Peak current^2 / (maximum allowed transient voltage – DC bus voltage)^2

Snubber capacitance is given in Farad, stray indutance is given in Henry and voltage in Volt.

Estimated high inductance snubber capacitance = Peak current / 100

Estimated low inductance snubber capacitance = (Peak current / 100) * 0.5

TL494 flyback driver

It took some years and someone recently bumping up my old thread about this project for me to write up a article, find the pictures, …

TL494 flyback driver

Published on: Jun 14, 2013. Updated on: Nov 28, 2017.

Introduction

I wanted to design a versatile driver circuit that could drive a half- or full-bridge of MOSFETs or IGBTs through a gate drive transformer (GDT). This should make a driver that is able to run flyback transformers found in CRT TV sets and computer monitors.

The TL494 IC is designed for maintaining all the functions needed in a switching mode power supply using pulse width modulation (PWM). The output transistors can be run in either single ended mode or push-pull. The pulse width is normally controlled through a feedback signal in the power supply, but for this project we want to control it manually, this is done differently in almost all schematics found.

 

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

 

Considerations

Flyback transformers from a CRT TV are typically driven at 15 kHz and flyback transformers from computer monitors are typically driven between 30 to 150 kHz.

The TL494 IC uses a 5% dead time to insure proper switching and at frequencies over 150 kHz this minimum dead time is higher.

The design goals for this project will be a driver with a variable duty cycle from 0% to 45% and a variable frequency from 50 kHz to 150 kHz.

This should make for a efficient driver and one that works out of the audible spectrum. In order to design with components at hand, the frequency span is not going so low as 15 kHz.

 

Specifications

Voltage supply IRFP250N: 0 VAC to 120 VAC
Frequency span 38 kHz to 150 kHz.
Duty cycle span 0% to 43%

 

Schematic

Construction

25th May 2009

The breadboard prototype is ready to be tested, the tape is to hold the timing capacitor in place since the legs on it was too short.

In the first oscilloscope shot we see the output waveform without pull up resistors, it is about 38 kHz at 43% duty cycle.

In the second oscilloscope shot we see the output waveform without pull up resistors, it is about 38 kHz at 5-7% duty cycle.

In the third oscilloscope shot we see the output waveform without pull up resistors, it is about 150 kHz at 43% duty cycle.

 

27th May 2009

PCBs was made for both the driver and half-bridge section. The full bridge rectifier used here in the pictures is only rated for a mere 4 A. This is not enough for running a flyback with low input voltage and high duty cycle. A 25 A bridge with heat sink should be used to ensure some overhead.

 

Test

29th May 2009

In the oscilloscope shot we see the waveform of the primary side of the GDT driving a MOSFET half-bridge. To test the circuit I first used a old half-bridge I had from an earlier project.

The sturdiness of this new driver shines through when I killed a flyback transformer due to over-voltage on the secondary side. Corona glow can be seen in the center towards the ferrite core.

 

Conclusion

This universal inverter makes it possible to adjust the output voltage and current exactly to ones needs. It makes a great and much more sturdy flyback driver than many simple drivers with just a single transistor, which is of course no surprise as it implements its own control IC, MOSFET driver ICs and a half-bridge of MOSFETs.

For a final constant voltage or current power supply it will not work, as there is no feedback adjusting the pulse width to a certain load.

 

Demonstration

Royer induction heater

Published 18. January 2013. Updated 21. March 2019.

Introduction

The Mazilli ZVS flyback driver is well-known throughout the high voltage community for its simplicity and ability to deliver 20-50 kV at high currents for a flyback transformer.

About one and a half year ago, Marko from 4hv.org gave the circuit a comeback with it converted to a simple induction heater.

I build the circuit as a proof of concept model in order to show it to my father that would like to start doing black smith work on small knifes.

To explore all my induction heaters, including the Chinese 1800 Watt induction heater, check out my youtube playlist for all induction heater related projects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1tg3mQL7lQ&list=PLw4xMO1xCMSUOj19zUmFE2-a2lcFBuzX_

 

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

 

Considerations

The MOSFETs used need a voltage rating about 4 times higher than the supply voltage and a on-resistance below 150 mΩ. In ZVS operation the switches see a voltage that is π times input voltage, so 4 times rating of input voltage leaves some head room for playing it safe.

If supply voltage gets over 40 VDC, consider using resistors between 470R-800R for the gates. Supply voltage needs to be minimum 12 VDC, lower than 470R gate resistors can be used in that case, if supply voltage dips under 10 VDC, there is a risk of MOSFETs failing from overheating by working only in the linear region or short circuit if one of them stops switching.

Supply voltage should not exceed 60 VDC, as this is very close to 200 VDC across the MOSFET. The internal construction of MOSFETs with a higher voltage rating makes them unsuitable for use in a self oscillating circuit like this Royer oscillator.

A MMC is made from 27 capacitors to avoid excessive heating in a single capacitor. The capacitors will still heat as massive current flows between the tank and work coil. To get a good result, a large tank capacitance is needed, if a capacitance lower than 4 uF is used, results might be disappointing. It is strongly advised to use a capacitor with made from polypropylene (MKP) or similar that can handle large RMS currents, it might even be necessary to water cool the capacitor too. A MMC as the one I use here can only withstand short run times and will even then heat up.

The value of the inductors are advised to be between 45 to 200 uH and depending on core material the number of turns varies a lot, use a LCR meter to check the values.

Water cooling of the work coil is a must! Even at just small runs with moderate power input as the ones I have conducted, the work coil would take damage from heat.

 

Specifications

Voltage supply 35 VDC smoothed with 40000 uF
MMC 3 uF from 9 in parallel strings of 3x 2 275 VAC MKP X2 capacitors in series.
Power consumption 650 Watt.
Best result Between red hot and white hot M10x20mm bolt

 

Schematic

 

Construction

17th January 2013

I succeeded in putting the entire setup together from parts I have salvaged from old equipment, only the MOSFETs was bought new and used before.

The transformer takes 230 VAC in for 32 VAC out, properly around 700 VA transformer estimated from the core size. It is rectified with a 25 A bridge rectifier smoothed with 40000 uF capacitance from four electrolytic capacitors 70 VDC / 10000 uF each.

The inductors are made from ferrite transformer cores from old power supplies. 14 turns of 1,5 mm^2 gave approximately 130 uH inductance.

Two IRFP250N MOSFETs mounted on each their fairly small heat sink, but big enough for the circuit to run for a couple of minutes and only get a little above hand warm. The heat sinks are glued together with a piece of acrylic plastic in-between to insure electrical isolation between the two heat sinks.

The work coil is made from 5 turns of 8 mm copper tubing, giving approximately 0,477 uH. The MMC consists of 9 parallel strings of 3 in series Rifa 1 uF / 275 VAC MKP X2 capacitors for 3 uF. This gives a resonant frequency calculated to about 133 kHz.

Measurements during a run of heating a M10x20 mm bolt at 33 VDC in, 260 VAC at 2.5 A input into transformer.

Resonant frequency is measured to 106 kHz. The measured frequency is different from the calculated as the work piece will influence on the coils electromagnetic properties.

In the following oscilloscope screenshot:

Yellow: Inverter current, here measured to 10 Ampere.

Blue: Inverter voltage, here measured to 100 Volt.

In the following oscilloscope screenshot:

Yellow: Tank current, here measured to 200 Ampere.

Blue: Tank voltage, here measured to 100 Volt.

Three pieces of metal heated to what is possible with input voltage of 35 VDC.

 

Conclusion

A good and reliable oscillator as long as supply voltage is kept within safe area of operation for the MOSFETs and only short run times are used unless there is used good components and water cooling on work coil, MOSFETs and capacitors.

Further improvements in use as a heater / melter would be a higher supply voltage.

 

Demonstration

Kaizer SSTC III

Introduction

The idea was to build a very small and compact Tesla coil as a gift for my mother that works in various science classes for the lower grades in public school.

This driver circuit is very similar to the one used in Kaizer SSTC I. This time I have made a PCB containing both driver circuit and bridge.

 

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

 

Considerations

I knew this would get claustrophobic with so little space for a complete interrupter, driver and bridge.

Using the enclosure as the heat sink is the reason why a low break rate is chosen, to avoid excessive heating.

 

Specifications

Bridge2x IRFP460 MOSFETs in a half bridge configuration
Bridge supply230VAC directly from the wall, 4A rectifier bridge and 330uF smoothing capacitor
Primary coilRev 1: 55 mm diameter, 1.38 mm diameter isolated copper wire, 10 windings.Rev 2: 80 mm diameter, 1.38 mm diameter isolated copper wire, 10 windings.
Secondary coilRev 1: 50 mm diameter, 200 mm long, 1430 windings, 0.127 mm enamelled copper wire.Rev 2: 75 mm diameter, 165 mm long, 1500 windings, 0.1 mm enamelled copper wire.
Resonant frequencyRev 1: Self tuning at around 470kHz.Rev 2: Self tuning at around 180 kHz.
ToploadRev 1: Made of two bottoms from beer cans, 65mm diameter and 30mm in height.Rev 2: 45 x 152 mm turned aluminium toroid.
Input powerInterrupted mode: ?W at 230VAC input voltage.
Spark lengthRev 1: up to 140 mm long sparks.Rev 2: up to 250 mm long sparks.

 

Schematic and PCB files

PCB file for ExpressPCB

 

Construction

21st July 2009

I designed a compact single sided PCB that contains both driver and bridge section on a mere 65 x 75mm board. Here is newly etched board, traces are a bit shaky as I have drawn them all by hand.

The MOSFETs uses the enclosure as a heat sink, I sanded down the paint for metal contact and use pads to isolate between MOSFETs and enclosure.

BPS is kept low, but can be varied from 4 to 20 BPS, to avoid excessive heating as the enclosure is not an optimal heat sink.

In the bottom of the following picture you can see the bridge rectifier mounted to the enclosure and the input filter for 230VAC in. The red wires lead to the 330uF/400V smoothing capacitor and the 100nF/1600V Rifa capacitor is the DC blocking capacitor in the primary circuit.

The coil is connected directly to 230VAC without any kind of voltage regulation and also requires a external 12VDC supply for the driver.

Antenna and primary coil connections are temporary solutions for the sake of demonstrating the Tesla coil in working order. A fold out antenna from a small radio or such will be added later. Some kind of support with banana jacks with a secondary and primary coil mounted on will be added, to avoid wrong phasing of the primary coil.

Here the complete setup is size compared to a 330ml beer can

 

Sparks

Here is one of the more spectacular spark pictures I have taken, in my eyes it looks like a demon waving its arms over the head which also have a distinct face with glowing eyes and a open mouth, or maybe I am just seeing things from inhaling too much ozone 😀

24th July 2009

I borrowed a expensive macro lens for my Canon 350D camera and took some pictures with great details of the sparks, very sharp pictures!

 

Revision 2

1st August 2009

Doing a short demonstration I adjusted the antenna with my hand while the coil was running, this resulted in unstable oscillations and the bridge was short circuited. I am now replacing the destroyed MOSFETs and here I can feel the disadvantage of servicing on a compact design.

A new secondary coil is in the making, it is wider, shorter and have half the resonant frequency of the first. It will be fitted nicely on a piece of acrylic for a complete look.

19th August 2009

The new secondary is finished, it took me about 8 days to do the winding as it is very intensive to wind with such a thin wire. Keeping the wire tight, windings close to each other, not pulling the wire too hard from the spool, watch for jams and overlaps and it all have to be done with a bright light very close to get a good view.

It uses the topload from my VTTC I, a 45 x 152 mm aluminium toroid, with this it have a new resonant frequency around 180 kHz.

Top of secondary was filled with epoxy to insulate the brass bolt from the inside of the secondary and the bottom earth connection is fastened with a nylon bolt.

It is all fitted onto a piece of acrylic with additional protection around the primary connections so it no longer possible to touch any conducting part of the primary circuit.

 

Audio modulation

I use a audio modulator made by the user Reaching (Martin Ebbefeld) from 4hv.org.

For sound input I use a cheap children’s keyboard from a toy store, its far from perfect for the job, especially because its waveform is highly distorted and its not clean tones but seems to involve a lot of modulation inside it to simulate different instruments. But its cheap and expendable.

Watch the film and look at the schematics for more about the audio modulation.

Conclusion

I am very satisfied with the final result, that I got to fit everything and use the enclosure as a heat sink turned out real good. Heating is not a problem with run times at about 2-3 minutes which is also the durations its been built to be demonstrated for.

Enclosure dimensions are 125W x 80D x 50H mm.

Revision 2 looks even better, performs better but was also a lot of work to wind the new secondary with such a thin wire.

Demonstration

Revision 1

Revision 2

Mazilli ZVS flyback driver

Introduction

The Mazilli ZVS flyback driver is well-known throughout the high voltage community for its simplicity and ability to deliver 20-50 kV at high currents for a flyback transformer.

I build this circuit almost a year ago on a vero board, but it kept blowing the thin traces due to high currents flowing. I eventually put the project in a box and forgot all about it.

Inspired by the point to point soldered designs Myke from the 4hv.org forums often uses, I tried to make something in that manner, not as pretty as his work though.

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

Considerations

The MOSFETs used need a voltage rating about 4 times higher than the supply voltage and a on-resistance below 150 mΩ

5 + 5 primary windings are suitable for voltages between 10 to 40 VDC, at higher voltages additional windings will be needed. Experiment with the number of windings to improve performance. Too few windings will result in excessive heating and too many will result in reduced power output.

A MMC is made from 6 capacitors to avoid excessive heating in a single capacitor.

This driver will push as much power as it can, so be sure to use flyback transformers that can handle the abuse if you want it to live.

 

Specifications

Voltage supply 35 VDC from a rewound microwave oven transformer.
MMC 0.66 uF from series string of 3x 2 275VAC MKP X2 capacitors in parallel .
Power consumption 400 Watt.
Longest arc 100 – 110 mm long white arcs

Schematic

Construction

15th may 2009

I have now rebuild the driver using 2.5mm² / 14AWG wire for a good current ability, larger heat sinks and a MMC to avoid as much heating as possible.

Sparks

16th may 2009

I found 4 different flyback transformers from my collection, among these are a 1980’s Bang & Ollufsen television flyback. A small flyback from a photocopier. A  flyback from a 1990’s portable television, it is without screen and focus resistor networks. A flyback with rectifier tube from a black & white 1950’s television.

The pictures with long arcs about the size of  100 – 110 mm was made with the 1980’s Bang & Ollufsen flyback transformer.

Conclusion

It was well worth it to rebuild this driver. It can now handle long run times with little heating despite pushing out around 400 Watt  of power!

Demonstration

Kaizer SSTC II

Introduction

This is a modified version of the first SSTC I built, the Kaizer SSTC I. It uses the same secondary, topload and driver board. New things is a full bridge of IRFP460 MOSFETs, audio modulation, shielded drivers and a new casing.

 

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

 

Considerations

In the quest for longer sparks I decided to use a full bridge to take advantage of the full voltage on the bridge.

The MOSFETs will be mounted on top of a heat sink so its easy to change them by only removing the secondary platform and solder them off.

The drivers will be shielded in order to avoid the EM field generated by the Tesla coil itself to inject noise into the drivers.

 

Specifications

Bridge 4x IRFP460 MOSFETs in a full bridge configuration.
Bridge supply 0 – 260 VAC from a variac, 8 A rectifier bridge and 1500 uF smoothing capacitor.0 – 365 VDC on the bridge.
Primary coil 115 mm diameter, 1.78 mm diameter isolated copper wire, 8 windings.
Secondary coil 110 mm diameter, 275 mm long, 1000 windings, 0.25 mm enamelled copper wire.
Resonant frequency Self tuning at around 250 kHz.
Topload 100 mm small diameter, 240 mm large diameter, toroid.
Input power Continues Wave mode: 2000 – 4000 Watt at 200 VAC input voltage.
Interrupted mode: 100 – 2000 Watt at 260 VAC input voltage.
Audio modulated mode: 300 – 400 Watt at 150 VAC input voltage.
Spark length up to 475  mm long sparks.

 

Schematic

The UCC3732X are MOSFET driver ICs, one non-inverted output and the other inverted, in order to get a push-pull drive of the gate drive transformer. A gate driver IC can deliver the high peak currents needed to drive MOSFETs efficiently.

The 74HC14 is a inverting hex schmitt trigger, it is used to get a proper solid 0-5V square wave signal from signals that are not perfectly square, the antenna feedback can vary a lot in waveform and amplitude, the 74HC14 converts this to a clean drive signal for the MOSFET drivers.

All unused input pins of a 74HC14 has to be tied to ground, floating inputs and a noisy environment is a recipe for trouble. The noise can couple between the gates internally and make the whole IC not work properly.

The music modulator works by amplifying the audio signal in the LM741 and at the BC547 transistors. The 555 timer ensures that the signal length of the generated square wave is much shorter than the audio signal, in order to not have too long on-time and thus damage the MOSFETs / IGBTs from over-current.

 

Construction

15th March 2009

I took apart a 19″ LCD monitor and a 24″ CRT monitor, from these respective computer parts I salvaged a good piece of acrylic from the LCD monitor and a fairly sized heat sink from the CRT. I cut the acrylic in half for a 2 level platform and the heat sink was cut in 4, its necessary to isolate the MOSFETs from each other as their housing is also a conductor.

19th March 2009

Driver electronics and audio modulator are installed under a metal casing from the CRT monitor to shield it from the heavy EM field surrounding the Tesla coil, this is to avoid problems with the driver being interrupted by its own EM field.

The bridge is made out of four IRFP460 MOSFETs, four MUR1560 diodes, four 5R resistors. The power supply is a 8 A rectifier bridge with a BHC 1500 uF/450 V smoothing capacitor, a 27K 7W bleeder resistor is added in the final build.

The audio in jack was later removed due to it making a short through its metal housing to the ground rail, I had overlooked that the audio in negative was not common with the ground rail, but there is a capacitor inbetween.

The secondary is held in place by a crate for ventilation on houses, its an easy and quick way of taking the coil apart for transport or storage, and it holds the secondary firm and tight.

A acrylic tube is added to support the antenna, in this way it is possible to adjust the coupling of the antenna to the secondary simply by pulling the wire.

The new shielding of the audio in signal is made from a piece of shielding from a industrial cable pulled over it and grounded.

The secondary with terminations. 110 mm diameter, 275 mm long, 1000 windings, 0.25 mm enamelled copper wire.

The complete coil looks, except maybe the electrical tape used to hold the topload together.

 

Sparks

Interrupted mode

At 250 VAC input voltage, 350 VDC on the bridge, it was possible to reach 475 mm long sparks, in interrupted mode, to a grounded object.

More pictures of sparks in interrupted mode, it is running at about 4 – 5 BPS.

3rd May 2009

Continues Wave mode

At 200 VAC input voltage, 280 VDC on the bridge and a power consumption around 10 A, peaking at 20 A, the coil was drawing somewhere in between 2000 to 4000 Watt. This resulted in very hot, thick white arcs punishing the dead iPod shuffle which remarkably left the player relatively unharmed considered what had just taken place.

These flame like sparks are 250 mm in length.

18th August 2009

I constructed a new topload from two cheap aluminium frying pans from Ikea. With handles cut off and screw from it grinded away it had a smooth surface and was fixed with a long screw through both of them.

6th September 2009

During a run of CW at full input voltage, the full bridge blew apart completely, with a loud bang.

 

Audio modulation

I use a audio modulator made by the user Reaching (Martin Ebbefeld) from 4hv.org.

For sound input I use a cheap children’s keyboard from a toy store, its far from perfect for the job, especially because its waveform is highly distorted and its not clean tones but seems to involve a lot of modulation inside it to simulate different instruments. But its cheap and expendable.

Watch the film and look at the schematics for more about the audio modulation.

 

Conclusion

Upgrading the SSTC I with a full bridge was a absolute must. It is small changes compared to the better performance and the driver have no problems at all driving four MOSFETs instead of just two.

Getting sparks at 475 mm length in interrupted mode and white power arcs at 250 mm length is truly satisfying for this little coil, the secondary winding itself is only 275 mm in height in comparison.

Enjoy the demonstration.

 

Demonstration

Demonstration of different modes.

New topload, running in interrupted mode.

New topload, running in CW mode.

New topload, running in interrupted mode and closeup of sparks.

Kaizer SSTC I

Introduction

This is my first solid state Tesla coil, so I went with a sturdy and proven schematic made by Steve Ward. A lot of other coilers have replicated this circuit with great success and therefore it is easy to find information how it works and how to troubleshoot it.

 

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

 

Considerations

One of the differences from the original circuit is that I use 230VAC input instead of 115VAC. So capacitors and MOSFETs have a higher voltage rating.

The interrupter will be changed to go down to a very low break rate.

 

Specifications

Bridge 2x IRFP460s MOSFETs in a half bridge configuration
Bridge supply 0 – 230VAC from a variac, 8A rectifier bridge and 330uF smoothing capacitor0 – 325VDC on the bridge.
Primary coil 115 mm diameter, 1.78 mm diameter isolated copper wire, 10 windings.
Secondary coil 110 mm diameter, 275 mm long, 1000 windings, 0.25 mm enamelled copper wire.
Resonant frequency Self tuning at around 250 kHz.
Topload 100 mm small diameter, 240 mm large diameter, toroid.
Input power Continues Wave mode: 1000 W at 230VAC input voltage.
Spark length up to 250 mm long sparks running interrupted.

 

Schematic

All unused input pins of a 74HC14 has to be tied to ground, floating inputs and a noisy environment is a recipe for trouble. The noise can couple between the gates internally and make the whole IC not work properly.

 

Construction

22nd January 2009

I began the construction of the half bridge circuit in a small plastic box, the heat sinks are a Pentium II heat sink cut in half. The bridge is made from copper wire size 2.5mm² / AWG14.

The bridge is made from a 8A bridge rectifier with 330uF 450V smoothing capacitor, two IRFP460 MOSFETs with MUR1560 diodes, two 0.68 uF 400VAC film capacitors for the voltage splitter and 10R gate resistors.

The driver circuit is made on vero board with a external 12VDC power supply.

 

Troubleshooting

23rd January 2009

When I first tried to run the driver circuit separately to test the driver before connecting it to the MOSFETs, it only resulted in the MOSFET driver chips (UCC37321/UCC37322) catching fire and burning up like a small volcano. This did of course upset me when it happened once more when I had changed the chips. This led me to seek help and I learned that running the driver chips unloaded, without a MOSFET or GDT connected to the outputs, the chips will oscillate into oblivion and burn them self down.

With the complete circuit put together it all worked except the primary coil was phased wrong, but it was no problem since I used banana plugs for the primary connections.

I ran the coil as CW (Continues Wave, non interrupted so its switching at its resonant frequency) to stress it to its maximum, which also did result in failures at 230VAC in, drawing around 4 to 5A.

The secondary coil was grounded to the mains ground in my house, but by accident I were using a plug without a earth connection in, so the secondary earth was arcing to the phase and neutral in my power bar. Pushing around 1 kW into this rather small circuit with passive cooling became enough combined with HF noise on the phase and neutral and one of the MOSFETs exploded violently and the other died silently. Here I discovered my design did not make it easy to change the MOSFETs, a important thing to consider in future constructions.

For the next couple of days I could not get the coil to work again. Everything in the driver circuit was changed and measured with a oscilloscope without finding anything out of order. It was first when I by accident measured short circuit connections with a DMM that I discovered one of the secondary windings on the GDT was not connected to the MOSFET, it was because the gate resistor was destroyed from the short circuit of the MOSFETs. Changing the 10R resistor made the whole thing work like a charm again.

 

Sparks

Here are some pictures from the first light, input power is from 30VAC to 230VAC at up to 5A.

 

Audio modulation

I use a audio modulator made by the user Reaching (Martin Ebbefeld) from 4hv.org.

For sound input I use a cheap children’s keyboard from a toy store, its far from perfect for the job, especially because its waveform is highly distorted and its not clean tones but seems to involve a lot of modulation inside it to simulate different instruments. But its cheap and expendable.

Watch the film and look at the schematics for more about the audio modulation.

 

Conclusion

Building this clone of Steve Wards SSTC5 was a great introduction to solid state Tesla coils, I now have a understanding of how it works from interrupter to driver to bridge.

Further projects with this circuit will be a complete rebuild with audio modulator and a full bridge of MOSFETs, this will be a separate project.

 

Demonstration

In thew following videos, the SSTC I is playing music from the interrupter shown in schematic for the SSTC II.

555 Audio modulated flyback

Introduction

This is a audio modulated arc generator designed for simplicity rather than reliability, its made with very few and common components. There is however some serious trade offs described below in considerations.

WARNING: sensitive audio players might get damaged by this circuit. I bricked my iPod shuffle, seems that the controller chip for the mini jack got wasted as it could no longer detect charger, PC connection or play music as it could not detect headphones.

Safety

WARNING!: Working with electricity is dangerous, all information found on my site is for educational purpose and I accept no responsibility for others actions using the information found on this site.

Read this document about safety! http://www.pupman.com/safety.htm

Considerations

The arc have to be very short in order to limit the distortions of an unstable arc. The sound quality is low due to the way the audio modulation is implemented. If the distance between the elctrodes is too large, the high open loop potential of the high voltage transformer can generate some high transient voltages that through inductive kickback can destroy the MOSFET.

The 555 IC supplied by 12 VDC can not source much more than 140 mA before the voltage drop on the output gets very high. At 140 mA it is already 1,82 VDC. At 200 mA the voltage drop is at 2,5 VDC. The low output will affect MOSFET switching speed and result in higher losses. This graph shows the voltage drop vs. output current of the 555 IC.

In order to optimize the switching of the MOSFET, a small intermediate driver stage can be introduced with two transistors, a NPN and PNP. As illustrated in the red and green graph is the difference between running a MOSFET with proper switching and the other always in linear mode, where losses are very high. This is a future improvement and is not a part of this little project, but it is recommended to add this if you want reliability.

If the circuit can not produce a arc try to reverse the polarity of the primary coil on the flyback transformer.

There are basically 2 kinds of modern flybacks, television flybacks are driven near 15kHz and monitor flybacks are driven between 30-150Khz. Depending on which type we use, we have to adjust the frequency of the 555 timer to match the resonance of the flyback for maximum performance.

 

Choosing a MOSFET

There are some basic rules of thumb that I will just list here to start with, I will come with an explanation later on.

The voltage rating of the MOSFET (VDSS) needs to be 6 to 10 times higher than the supply voltage, reverse voltage spikes and EMF can be high enough to destroy the MOSFET if its too small. But we still need to use MOSFETs with a reasonable low on resistance (RDS(on)). Try to find a MOSFET with a RDS(on) value not much higher than 0.1 ohm, if you have problems try one with a lower RDS(on) value.

The gate resistor R3 is there to

  • Limit parasitic oscillations that could kill the MOSFET.
  • Limit the current that is needed from the driver stage, in this case our 555 timer.
  • Protect against surge voltages on the MOSFET gate, effectively this would require a much higher resistance, a high gate resistance would lower the operation speed significantly.
  • The values of a gate resistor could be anything between 10 ohm to 200 ohm, it all depends on the MOSFET, experimentation is needed. The alternative is complicated calculations involving data that is usually not available in standard data sheets.

How does the audio modulation work?

Pin 5 on the 555 timer is a direct access to the 2/3 voltage divider point of the upper voltage comparator in the 555 timer. This allows us to pulse width modulate the output on pin 3 of the 555 timer. By applying a voltage to this pin, it is possible to vary the timing of the chip independently of the RC network. When used in the astable mode, as we do with this circuit, the control voltage can be varied from 1,7 VDC to the full Vcc. Varying the voltage in the astable mode will produce a frequency modulated (FM) output.
If the control-voltage pin is not used, it should be bypassed to ground, with a 10n capacitor to prevent noise entering the chip

Schematic

Both R1 and R2 can be 10K potentiometers.

Construction

13th November 2008

I wanted to do a audio modulated flyback arc with few components and a small form factor. I installed the MOSFET on a old CPU heat sink with fan, the 555 timer circuit is also installed underneath this heat sink, its then all put on the side of the flyback transformer with wire strips.

The primary coil is 8-9 windings of 0,75 mm² isolated wire. More windings will stress the MOSFET less but also output voltage will be lower.

The frequency output from the 555 timer is 26,7 kHz at 59,3% duty cycle. This is in the low end for a monitor flyback so further improvements will be adding a potentiometer to adjust frequency to match the resonant frequency of the flyback.

2nd February 2009

Its time to improve the driver with a variable frequency control so the driver can be used with most conventional monitor flyback transformers without changing any parts, but merely turn the potentiometer.

I installed a 9K potentiometer as R1 and a 10K potentiometer as R2, I adjusted the potentiometers till I had a nice silent thin arc at about 15 mm length. 10K potentiometers can be used for both R1 and R2, I just used what I had at hand.

Using a 555 calculator with the measured values of the potentiometers. R1 at 1K3 and R2 at 1K. Duty cycle is 69.7% and frequency is 43700 Hz. Very reasonable for a monitor flyback. Compared to the old frequency I now have a longer and more silent arc.

 

Conclusion

A quick and very rewarding little project, its fun to play music without conventional speakers. This was also known in the 1970’s as a plasma tweeter and could be found in special hi-fi speakers.

The arc is very very hot and I had to extend the copper wires where it is drawn between to avoid the heat being transferred far enough to start melting the flyback transformers casing.

The 555 IC is not able to supply enough output current to drive a IRFP250N MOSFET at a high duty cycle, so the MOSFET will at times still be in linear mode and this causes excessive heating, which is why the heat sink is necessary. So more notes under considerations about this.

 

Demonstration