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Mains voltage arcs

     I tried to prove that it is possible to draw long arcs from the line voltage 230V without transformation. First I tried to use only standard ballast (from the discharge lamp) to limit current, but unsuccessfully (discharge can't be sustained, opening produces only sparks). Finally I found a goot method: Use current limiting ballast, the bridge rectifier and then smooth the current using another ballast. The 20uF capacitor serves mainly to protect the bridge against voltage spikes. bridge is located in a small heatsink (50 cm2).     
Open circuit voltage of the arc supply is about 325V. Short current is 8.7 A. It is necessary that the electrodes touched each other for arc ignition. After their separation you can draw arc, which can be stretched to a length of up to 10cm (4 inch). Arcs can melt electrodes and things around. The supply can operate for several minutes. To be able to work permanently you would need to replicate also a second ballasts with two ballasts in parallel. Arcs are far more intense and hot than arcs from unballasted MOTs. (Current is 8.7 A, compared to the short current of MOTs which is about 1.8 to 2.2 A). MOT can work in just a few short seconds. The only disadvantage is the need for electrodes connection to ingite the arc. The arc can melt various metals, glass, stones, sand, etc.

     Warning! All parts of this power supply are electrically connected to the mains! The output is not isolated from the mains! Output voltage is deadly. Arcs develop extreme temperatures, risk of burns or fire. Arcs produce large amounts of nitrogen oxides and other toxic gases. good ventilation is necessary. Shocks emit extremely intense light with a lot of the UV component. It can present risk of damage to the eyes or skin. It is necessary to use adequate eye protection. Capacitor remains charged to dangerous voltages even after power off.

Schematic of the power supply allowing to draw long arcs from the mains voltage. (The ballasts are for the 250W mercury-vapor lamps.)

power supply

non-dimmed photo of arc - for an approximate idea of ​​the brightness

faulty 12V 100W light bulb

melt glass of the bulb.

faulty vacuum tube 1Y32

... tube after the usage of the power suppy

melting the metal sheet.

You can download the arcs videos in the videos.