Electronics Enthusiasts? High Voltage?

Hi there, I’m new to the space, and since I can’t come in in person I wanted to connect with folks who have an interest (or expertise) in electronics projects. I don’t have huge amounts of time on my hands, but I would be thrilled to pick off something from the lower hanging fruit on my long list of potential projects. I have a particular interest in scientific electronics, and vintage (tube) equipment.

Personally, I would really like to get one of my broken vacuum tube radios functional, but I got scared off last time by what appeared to be a sheet of thermally insulating asbestos. I have a “variable autotransformer”, but it’s not mounted in anything yet and I don’t have a lot of equipment at my house. I probably just need to test a few resistors and capacitors to get it running again (60 Hz hum). Before it closed, I installed BNC ports on an old RF frequency generator at the space (I hate to modify vintage equipment, but I could not come by an adapter), and tested it on your scope.

I also really like things like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_OlVz95_tw

If anyone wants to nerd out in this way (remotely), please let me know!


I love high voltage stuff!

It should probably be disclaimed at the top of all high voltage chat that it should be mostly kept out of VHS, and unless you really really know what you’re doing, stay away because it can easily kill you.

But I do love big arcs

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@Jarrett, that’s awesome! I would also like to point out that I am equally excited about the elegant things that can be done with low-current HV. Not all high voltage projects are the same. After all, a Van De Graffe generator operates at 100s of thousands of volts, and we encourage children to touch them!

For example, I think it would be fun to make a demonstration of the photoelectric effect with a UV lamp, a DIY Van de Graffe, and an analogue current readout.

Or anything with UV LEDs: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/UV_LED_Fluoresence.jpg

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Hey @climberdude I also am into old tube radios! Sorry you found what could be asbestos in yours. I have an old Crosley that I took apart (lol 2 spaces ago). I plan on rewiring the power so it’s no longer has a live chassis (they used to call them suicide radios) and I also need to replace all the old wax capacitors.

Here’s a pic of the model I have: http://www.urban-antiqueradio.com/Product.plastic/Page.01/Crosley.D-25-CE.html

Luckily I was able to find a pretty detailed schematic for it and confirmation that it does not contain asbestos.

Edit: the space used to have a pile of UV LEDs which I’m sure we still have. Would be fun to play with those when this business is all over and we can get back in there.

@Janet That’s great to hear! And I think they prefer the term “all american 5” :wink:.

I also have an asbestos-free, old wooden DeForest Crosley, but it’s a bit older and more complicated. A tube made some sparks when I tried turning it on so I think a capacitor might have gone short. All the tubes tested good though, so maybe I should start with it. There’s even a schematic for this Canadian radio from the 30s! I bet it will be a lot more difficult to repair my laptop 80 years from now!

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That’s awesome! I love the old wooden radios! Do you have a tube tester? I have a box of tubes that were going to get chucked when vhs moved so I held on to them. I’d love to test them as I have no idea how many are good so I can keep them around for anyone who wants to fix up old radios. I’d also love to test the tubes in my old Crosley.

That is excellent you have a schematic from the 30s! These were all so well documented.

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We have had a visitor from SPARC Museum on a few Tuesday nights


@Janet I actually went to SPARC to test them. Cool place, but they didn’t seem too eager to recruit the younger generations. The tubes are so much more reliable than the capacitors! Also, before the owners of Main electronics died, the guy there helped be check my other tubes, so I also have some working spares. It would be really cool to build something from scratch!

@SteveRoy I think I met him. Craig showed us around SPARC one Sunday!

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@climberdude Yes it was Craig who came down to VHS on open night

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Or if someone wants to remotely work on a 9V vacuum tube guitar pedal…

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