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The Regular Stuff: Chat, Buy, Sell, Off Topic, etc. => General Discussion - Model & Toy Steam Engines – Stirling Cycle – Flame Lickers – Small Antique Originals => Topic started by: classixs on March 19, 2021, 06:57:45 am

Title: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on March 19, 2021, 06:57:45 am
On a roll now it would seem...

It´s been 5 or 6 years since i last saw this, but just rediscovered it in the same box of goodies, from where i recently dug out the Elephant Ball Game.

Back then it never became more than a mere test-setup, and i figured it was cool enough to fit it as a standalone accessory.

Made a quick base from a piece of scrap wood, gave that a stain, and mounted the parts.
Decided to install a pair of banana plug sockets as well, so that the generator can be used for other "experiments" as well.

[attachimg=1]

It can be seen operating here, in my old movie of it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV4PqkMNw2Q
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: St Paul Steam on March 19, 2021, 07:22:15 am
That is a neat setup Jan, I think that would be a hit at steam shows with the kiddies! I still need to get me one of those generators.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Nick on March 19, 2021, 08:05:50 am
Great idea that I am going to copy for kids at the shows! Already have everything here for it  :)
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 28, 2021, 05:56:08 pm
Going to have to plagiarize this one Jan :)

The only spare genny I have a atm is a Wilesco and it just had enough oomph to just cause a bit of brightness at the very top, so that's not going to do it.

I hooked it up to a PMR genny (that's no spare) and it ran it perfectly.

Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Nick on March 28, 2021, 06:07:25 pm
Get an Austrian one like Jan’s, they’re only about $50  ;)
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 28, 2021, 06:09:26 pm
P.s Jan, I do have a question....what do you use to strip the insulation off those very small wires of the plasma cord? All of my wire strippers are a bit to much and are breaking the really fine copper wires as well when taking the insulation off?
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 28, 2021, 06:11:56 pm
Great idea that I am going to copy for kids at the shows! Already have everything here for it  :)

Well I have liked and wanted one of them for a long time.

I think this accessory of Jan's would be a hit with kids (of all ages :)).
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Nick on March 28, 2021, 06:15:13 pm
P.s Jan, I do have a question....what do you use to strip the insulation off those very small wires of the plasma cord? All of my wire strippers are a bit to much and are breaking the really fine copper wires as well when taking the insulation off?

How small do your strippers go? Most of mine only go down to 16-18 AWG, but I found a pair of Channellock brand that go down to 20-22. Any smaller and you can pinch between your fingernails and strip it.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Nick on March 28, 2021, 06:16:16 pm
Oops, didn’t read enough of your post to see that you’re cutting the copper! Thought you just didn’t have the right size for small wire
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 28, 2021, 06:17:52 pm
P.s Jan, I do have a question....what do you use to strip the insulation off those very small wires of the plasma cord? All of my wire strippers are a bit to much and are breaking the really fine copper wires as well when taking the insulation off?

How small do your strippers go? Most of mine only go down to 16-18 AWG, but I found a pair of Channellock brand that go down to 20-22. Any smaller and you can pinch between your fingernails and strip it.

Not sure Nick but I have 2 different pairs that work great on household wires, but these are really fine and the copper wires are like angel hair. I'll try that fingernail hint and see how that goes.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Nick on March 28, 2021, 06:25:30 pm
I’ve had luck very lightly scoring with a new razor blade then gripping with fingernails.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 28, 2021, 06:39:14 pm
I’ve had luck very lightly scoring with a new razor blade then gripping with fingernails.
I shall give that a go.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on March 29, 2021, 02:41:58 am
I´m an electrician Jim, i just use my side cutting pliers.
It´s all in the feel, one can easily tell when the insulation yields, and is ready to be pulled off there.

For these thin cords i admittedly downgrade to a small electronics side cutter, as i can hardly see the plasmaball behind my usual one.
This is the exact model i use:
[attachimg=1]

On a different note, but within the same brand, i highly recommend a Bahco 4430 for our hobby here:
[attachimg=2]
I find it downright amazing when working on thin sheetmetal, like straightening old fireboxes, or making a new set of boilerbands.
It has smooth jaws, with a relatively low grip, but does not leave any marks at all on the surface, and is so small (5 1/4" total) that it can nearly fit anywhere.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Steam Technology on March 29, 2021, 02:47:06 am
8 inch pliers for everything,though thsy have to be sharp. I generally go through a pair in 12 months.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 29, 2021, 06:05:36 pm
Thanks Jan
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: don6698@comcast.net on March 29, 2021, 08:52:36 pm
Great idea that I am going to copy for kids at the shows! Already have everything here for it  :)
How do I connect a PMR generator to a Plasma Ball that uses a power adapter ? Thanks !
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on March 29, 2021, 09:00:40 pm
Great idea that I am going to copy for kids at the shows! Already have everything here for it  :)
How do I connect a PMR generator to a Plasma Ball that uses a power adapter ? Thanks !

Do you mean the cord that has the USB plug on one end?

I snipped the USB plug off and will be wiring the two ends onto the - and + of the genny.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: don6698@comcast.net on March 30, 2021, 08:00:43 am
Yes, cord with USB plug on one end.
Are there two separate wires in the cord which are easily recognizable after snipping off the USB plug? Is there a positive and a negative wire that attaches to the generator?
Does it matter which wire is attached to which post of the generator? Thanks!
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on March 30, 2021, 01:43:32 pm
There´s 2 wires when you cut it, the red is the positive.

Haven´t had any reason to switch polarity, so don´t know if doing so will damage anything. Doubt it, especially at these low voltages, but see no reason for doing so anyway.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: don6698@comcast.net on March 30, 2021, 02:25:50 pm
On the PMR generator which one is the positive post ? (Is the positive post the one at 12 o’clock/top position?)
Also what direction should the generator be rotating as you are looking at the pulley side ?
(Counter clockwise?)
Thanks!
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: txlabman on April 07, 2021, 05:58:51 am
A really nice set up Jan.

And you can’t do any better than Bahco tools.

I bought a Plasma Ball off of Amazon today. 🤠

I will hook it up to my Blue Thunder Generator for the test.

Thank you for the inspiration Jan.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 07, 2021, 08:23:03 am
Thanks Charlie  :)

They´re fun accessories, but i suspect you might need to use another generator.
The Blue Thunder does have a significant voltage drop, even at very low load.
Something that many has blamed their steam engines for, assuming that it just could´t keep up, as they could hear a slight RPM decrease when load was added.
That is not the case, or at least the minor part of the reason for this behaviour, as stepper motors just acts this way, nomatter how they´re driven.

Made this little test setup, to illustrate what i mean. 
Keeping the RPM consistant, and merely loading it with the two original onboard LED lamps, will drop the voltage from 30 to just below 4.
https://youtu.be/3FrAokp_-OY
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 07, 2021, 11:23:18 am
Anyone here have a link to those Austrian Generators such as Jan is using for his plasma ball?
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 07, 2021, 11:38:44 am
Here is Kurt Berger´s Ebay User Page, shows what he currently has listed:

https://www.ebay.com/usr/066fly

Am currently communicating with him, primarely to ask if he has a company or even a nickname for these, he doesn´t...
So since Austria is an entire country, with several modelbuilders, these are from now on ID´ed as Berger Generators with me ;D

He furthermore shared that he was retired, and had no idea how long he would keep up the production of these.
Would suggest grabbing one while available. They (hopefully) will be available for years to come, but since he felt the need to share that info, i somehow doubt it.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 07, 2021, 12:55:12 pm
Thanks Jan .... you are truly a valued resource, and prove it here once again!
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 07, 2021, 01:57:49 pm
You´re most welcome...and thanks Daniel, much exaggerated, but appreciated :)
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 07, 2021, 01:59:25 pm
Just let the 20 eat a boilerful last night, and figured i´d give this thing a spin, now that the engine was running anyway.

https://youtu.be/2eNnTtA4Uds
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 07, 2021, 02:51:26 pm
You´re most welcome...and thanks Daniel, much exaggerated, but appreciated :)

Not exaggerated in the slightest!

Another nice video that makes me want to plagiarize wildly!
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on April 07, 2021, 06:17:10 pm
Jan I finally bit the bullet and bought one of those genny's I have wanted one for a long time and your vid gave me that extra nudge!
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: St Paul Steam on April 07, 2021, 08:22:14 pm
Jan I finally bit the bullet and bought one of those genny's I have wanted one for a long time and your vid gave me that extra nudge!
I'm looking as well...
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 07, 2021, 08:44:14 pm
Jan I finally bit the bullet and bought one of those genny's I have wanted one for a long time and your vid gave me that extra nudge!
I'm looking as well...

Then this next one being offered is probably going to go for quite a bit more than Nick suggested they normally cost.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on April 07, 2021, 08:59:14 pm
Check with the seller (I didn't so its my fault) about postage options because my postage was expensive to Oz.

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 07, 2021, 09:08:56 pm
Yes, but isn't shipping always expensive from Europe to Oz?

Your original cost was less than the current listing is already sitting at, and if there are a few folks here on the Forum all going for it, the price could go up significantly before the hammer comes down on it.

Just sayin' is all.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on April 07, 2021, 09:26:59 pm
Yes, but isn't shipping always expensive from Europe to Oz?

Your original cost was less than the current listing is already sitting at, and if there are a few folks here on the Forum all going for it, the price could go up significantly before the hammer comes down on it.

Just sayin' is all.

Been awhile Daniel since I've had something come in from Germany.

Hopefully it will be here soon -

[attachimg=1]
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 08, 2021, 04:12:43 am
Jan I finally bit the bullet and bought one of those genny's I have wanted one for a long time and your vid gave me that extra nudge!
You won´t regret that Jim, they´re the best gennys here...by far!

Would suggest that you secure a small diodebridge while waiting, as you´ll need to convert the output from AC to DC, to run the plasmaball or other USB devices.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 08, 2021, 04:20:16 am
I'm looking as well...

Then this next one being offered is probably going to go for quite a bit more than Nick suggested they normally cost.
Might be meddling in other peoples affairs here, but if so i see no harm done?

Just asked Mr. Berger if he has a "friendly" Buy It Now price...since i appearently have a couple of friends in the US who is interested.
If he does return with an acceptable offer, i will ask him if he will list the ones needed on a neutral header listing, with exclusive shipping to the US, to cull the competition as much as possible for you guys.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Woe is me on April 08, 2021, 07:42:06 am
They're great generators, have four of them all brass models. I think an aluminum(silver) one would look
better with a Jensen, but that's only for looks.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: St Paul Steam on April 08, 2021, 09:45:14 am
I'm looking as well...

Then this next one being offered is probably going to go for quite a bit more than Nick suggested they normally cost.
Might be meddling in other peoples affairs here, but if so i see no harm done?

Just asked Mr. Berger if he has a "friendly" Buy It Now price...since i appearently have a couple of friends in the US who is interested.
If he does return with an acceptable offer, i will ask him if he will list the ones needed on a neutral header listing, with exclusive shipping to the US, to cull the competition as much as possible for you guys.
Thank you Jan.
I would buy a few of them , a couple simple kits and 1 really deluxe setup.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Woe is me on April 08, 2021, 11:44:51 am
Jan, are you getting a piece of the action on your post's? It's kind of funny really. You post the KJ Miller
compressor, the USB Plasma Ball, and now those generators. Every time you post something it starts flying off
the shelves. I've had the generator's, and the KJ Millers for some time. Tomorrow my plasma ball from Amazon
should be here. ;D  Send me a PM before you post any thing like this again will you. I want to buy stock. :D
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 08, 2021, 12:02:57 pm
LOL!  :D

Not a dime Tom, but that´s fine and exactly how i want it.
The Golden Rule has always been one of my finest guides in life.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 08, 2021, 04:48:16 pm
Jan ...... that is an awesome offer, and if anything good comes of it, I will make the best use of it that I can manage.

However, please do not risk compromising your relations with such an important resource as Mr. Berger.

On another note, do you have any specific bridge rectifier that you can call out as being appropriate for converting the AC from one of these Austrian generators, to the DC that is wanted by the Plasma Ball?
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Nick on April 08, 2021, 04:56:41 pm
On another note, do you have any specific bridge rectifier that you can call out as being appropriate for converting the AC from one of these Austrian generators, to the DC that is wanted by the Plasma Ball?

This here is what I need help with!  ;D
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on April 08, 2021, 06:15:11 pm
Jan I finally bit the bullet and bought one of those genny's I have wanted one for a long time and your vid gave me that extra nudge!
You won´t regret that Jim, they´re the best gennys here...by far!

Would suggest that you secure a small diode bridge while waiting, as you´ll need to convert the output from AC to DC, to run the plasmaball or other USB devices.

Sorry Jan, but just like when you helped me build the juice reducer all those years ago.....my brain just flew out the door when I read the word "diode bridge" would you please be so kind to hold my hand like last time and tell me exactly what I need to buy and walk me through with the wonderful patience you showed to this neophyte last time?  :)
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Woe is me on April 08, 2021, 07:25:42 pm
My plasma ball showed up today. I ordered it Wednesday, they said it shipped and I will get it Friday, tomorrow.
It showed up today in one day, USPS.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 09, 2021, 05:25:41 am
As far as diode bridges go, almost anything will do, not that much power oozing through this setup.

Something like these would work just fine:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/10x-2W10-2A-Bridge-Diode-Rectifier-KVMAAW/402360462702

In my case i´ve used a round one which is marked (as the above), but if unmarked the longer leg is DC+, the opposite DC-, and the ones inbetween AC inlet from the generator.
Could be wise to ad a small capacitor across the DC terminals as well, to smoothen out the ripples when running LEDs at low speed...but i didn´t have any of those, and is more in favour of incandescent lamps anyway, so i doesn´t matter that much here.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Stoker on April 09, 2021, 11:25:54 am
Thanks for that link and the basic description .... we may be back for more detailed input if we find our level of incompetence to exceed the minor challenge factor here presented!?!?!   ;c)
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: classixs on April 09, 2021, 12:56:56 pm
Should anyone be confused, i don´t know if this diagram (big word for something as simple as this Paint-drawing) makes sence?

[attachimg=1]

...and just to state the obvious:
It doesn´t matter if the grey wires is mounted or crossed one way or the other on this set up, as long as both of them end up on a free AC leg on both generator and diode bridge.

One could could just as well drop the grey, red and black wires on the drawing entirely, solder the AC legs directly to the generator, and mount the DC legs directly to the "accessory".
I just chose to wire mine up as i did, since i don´t like the look of the parts hanging out there in the open.
Title: Re: Plasma Ball Accessory
Post by: Jim on April 09, 2021, 05:53:22 pm
Thanks for the diagram Jan.