ZVS Flyback Driver

I built this driver just over a year ago, now bringing it back to life as I got more batteries to power her up to about 400 watts! (36v at 10A - 12A) The arc strikes at 3cm and can be stretched over 12cm.

Just after the arc burnt a hole into a lightbulb, they was a stream of plasma 'shooting' out of the bulb, like a flame thrower. This is because when the arc got inside the bulb, the gas inside heats up, causing it to expand and escaping through the hole thus creating a "plasma thrower".

If you are going to arc a lightbulb, be careful as glass tends to break from extreme temperature change - one time I had a lightbulb that literally blew up, it is cool but dangerous, so wear goggles. :)

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Added: 4 years
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Author ricardo rodrigo (8 months)
This is my vid, my driver i made with a eletro-mechanical sparker_it´s
insteresting__ /watch?v=V_75pNVRA3E

Author zaxtor (1 month)
poor lightbulb.

nice vid, arc was epic especially the sparkle.

Author Azaakiel20 (5 months)
Nice plasma!!! :)

Author Alex1M6 (2 years)
@chilidress No.

Author a380rockerfan (4 years)
Hey dude! This is SO cool! I have made a 2N3055 Flyback Driver, but I have
to admit that the arcs are pretty puny. I really want to make this and it
is on the list of my things to save up for. How old are you? When I make
this, would the power supply have enough power if I used a 12V 1.5A
motorcycle battery? Because SLA batteries are damn expensive...

Author Tiziano Bacocco (2 years)
@shashair it's cause there's a lot of current and it IS a flame , the
difference is only that here the source of heat is electricity instead of
chemical reaction

Author Fabrício H. Franzoli (3 years)
wooow!!! whats the output current?? 200mA?? OO

Author pieznice29 (3 years)
Nice video, how does the flyback stand up to this type of treatment? Mine
tend to die pretty quickly at anything over 100w with mosfet + 555 timer

Author Alex1M6 (2 years)
@chilidress You connected something up wrong perhaps or used unsuitable
components? The MOSFET's getting hot means something is wrong, mine stay
very cool even on 24v input. What zeners and fast diodes did you use?

Author Matt Boudreau (2 years)
I wonder why electricity arcs upward instead of making a straight line.

Author a380rockerfan (4 years)
You really deserve to have more subscribers and good comments!

Author Alex1M6 (3 years)
Hell yeah!

Author marcheseDS (2 years)
A couple of questions: is the thickness of wire for the primary of any
importance? Thin wire is bad? What number of turns for 36V and what is the
work frequency? And, on the other side, why not using a small inverter
welder (eventually driving a larger transformer) to get even further? I
think that such small tranformers can't hold 400W for long...

Author 132davey (3 years)
this is kinda cool

Author DangerousAndAwesome (1 year)
Thanks! I will be following your instructable to make this, because I'm
looking for a semi safe table top Jacob's ladder for my desk. I don't want
to use a MOT because it isn't exactly safe for a desk toy and it doesn't
even arc as far. Thanks!

Author AquariumNerd1 (3 years)
@a380rockerfan Use two in parallel, will increase current to 10A that they
can handle, but decrease inductance. This is because its like pairing two
resistors in parallel, it half the total resistance. Resistance is
necessary for a magnetic field to be formed. Halving it will halve
inductance. you will get a 50uH 10A inductor. If you put them in series, 10
A will flow through both of them. This will burn them out.

Author Jason Grimm (4 years)
That is AWESOME! i was using a CFL driver board and getting relativly small
sparks but it started making a buzzing sound and it started making bigger
purple sparks and lots of big blue sparks and my bench lamp started
flickering. any idea what caused that? sadly cfl driver is now dead so no
vids :(

Author vladrif escala (1 year)
i think it's much better if it can be converted to be a home power
generator rather than just keep on watching it sparking,

Author holycrapapie (4 years)
That is so awesome! I'm sure I could build a decent driver as well, but I'm
just too damn lazy. (not to mention cheap)

Author electron maker (1 year)
Please check out my new driver! You won't be disappointed

Author Alex1M6 (2 years)
@PlasmaCreator351 Hello again ( : Sort of, yes. When I first made mine on
36v I noticed that the wires I had connecting the flybacks primary coil to
the driver were getting quite warm which means that power was being wasted
as heat. After swapping them for thicker higher current wires they stayed
cooler and I noticed a slight increase in current draw after doing this. So
yes it is important to use thick wires for better efficiency!

Author a380rockerfan (3 years)
hi there plasmana! i am collecting the parts for this driver (finally) but
i just have a couple of questions: 1. i can only buy a 100uH 5A inductor
from my local electronics store, but if i use two it would make the perfect
specifications (200uH 10A). would i need to put these inductors in parallel
or series? thanks, a380rockerfan.

Author SHASHANK H R (2 years)
@lo9765 Thanks for your reply!

Author Tamás Kemenczei (2 years)
@chilidress The MOSFETS should only get slightly hot. Maybe you have
contact problems with the soldering, or the flyback's secondary coil is

Author naii197 (2 years)
@cowsrock94 The high voltage ionizes the air between the contacts, the
current flows through it. Through the current the air heats up, and as you
know hot air raises. So the arc isn't straight but bent. Thats what I think
is the reason, but I'm not sure.

Author George Busch (3 years)

Author Alex1M6 (2 years)
@CoolDudeClem Looks like a DC one.

Author jeffddow (2 years)
@holycrapapie trust me it really is worth but ive burnt so many transistors
im still waiting for more D:

Author Alex1M6 (2 years)
@chilidress Glad you finally got it working ( : I know it can really
frustrating when something does not work. About the UV glasses, you can
wear them if you want but I personally have never bothered. I think as long
as you don't expose your self for too long to the arcs (15-20 minutes max
each day) then you will be fine. Have fun and upload a video of the arcs to
your channel sometime. Alex.

Author Tom Mladenov (2 years)
does wire-length in the circuit affect the size of the arcs ?

Author SHASHANK H R (2 years)
Nice! Why does the spark look flame-like? I mean the type of spark obtained
from this circuit is different from the ones that we get from a tesla coil..

Author electron maker (1 year)
Please check out my new driver

Author freethetech (3 years)
If this thing outputs 200mA, there's no point in having someone else in the
room in-case you get shocked. You're dead....

Author joaquin correa araújo (1 year)
Might make a video with the scheme? thanks

Author vcxshgfd (2 years)
holy shit that sounds deadly

Author Jimmy Sandman (3 years)
very nice zvs ; ) look my zvs, they look the same :p

Author Alex1M6 (2 years)
@aForkandaSpoon Lead acid battery's are a strictly DC source so there is no
ripple current to create a 50-60hz hum that can be heard in un-smoothed
power supply's.

Author HowToMakeIt156 (1 year)
what are you use for MKP capacitors? 0.47 uF or 0.68 uF ?

Author starlite2991 (3 years)
awasome!! boy get shocked from that it will kill you!

Author solysol5 (2 years)
@Plasmana2000 Hey, I built this exact one in the video only mine is running
5volts @ 2 amps and it cuts off after about a minute of operation. Any
ideas of what could be causing this? Thanks

Author 1000000volts (2 years)

Author ubuntupokemoninc (3 years)
boy that has to be about 70kv! what is the input voltage, and the size of
the inductor? and how bad does the flyback heat?

Author pieznice29 (2 years)
The high-current arc heats up the air, which makes it more conductive so
the arc likes to be in this conductive spot. (Electricity favours the path
of least resistance) Hot air rises, so the arc tends to follow the movement
of the hot air upwards. With low-current arcs they would indeed form a
straight line as they don't heat the air enough.

Author Adam Munich (3 years)
What value inductor did you use, what cap and how many turns on the primary?

Author Arthur61987 (4 years)
That's amazing. Do the mosfets over heat easily? How long could you run it
before they heat up too much?

Author James Hutton (2 years)
computer power supplies would be good for this right?

Author ExplosiveAnyThing (3 years)
It wont be better if i use a pair of IRFP260??

Author CoolDudeClem (2 years)
Do you use an AC flyback or a DC one? (just curious)

Author AquariumNerd1 (3 years)
@a380rockerfan Use two in parallel, will increase current to 10A that they
can handle, but decrease inductance. This is because its like pairing two
resistors in parallel, it half the total resistance. Resistance is
necessary for a magnetic field to be formed. Halving it will halve
inductance. you will get a 50uH 10A inductor. If you put them in series, 10
A will flow through both of them. This will burn them out. You need four.
two and two in series.

Author KyleCarrington (3 years)
Not talking about the compressed air in the argument... how far off is this
from a plasma cutter? Could you build one?

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