Making a Jacob’s Ladder, to Celebrate a Million Subs!

I would say Jacob’s Ladder is one of the most dangerous things one can make, so reconsider!

A MILLION SUBSCRIBERS! Thank you everyone for helping me get there!

And if you want to download the 3D files of the stand I designed, you can download it from the link below, but please only use it for spiritual purposes! As you saw in the video, it is too small to support a Jacob’s ladder which can be a lethal combination. But it can be a nice piece with a candle and scented sticks.

How a Jacob’s Ladder works? Like I showed in the video, it is made of two metal rods that grow wider as they go higher. A very high voltage is applied between the two rods that creates an arc at the shortest distance between the rods. As the arc is heating the air, the hot air rises and pulls the arc up with it.

Jacob's LadderOf course maintaining an arc over an air channel requires a lot of power, especially as the channel is stretching as it goes up. The stretched are channel is more resistive which reduces the current through it. If the current drops below the threshold that is required to keep air ionized, the channel breaks and the arc stops, and restarts at the shortest gap. The channel can also break if it hits a non conductive piece.

The photo above is taken with a one second aperture speed and the arc seems to cover the entire space between the rods. But in reality there is one rising arc. If you look carefully at these arcs, you see they look like many strands stretched between the rods. This is due to the 60Hz power line frequency that results in the arc flickering.

I did talk about how to increase the voltage difference between the rods by using an AC voltage multiplier circuit. Of course the circuit I showed was just one stage, which doubled the peak difference between output terminals:

One stage voltage increamentBut multi-stages can be used in configuration below to further multiply the voltage level, as shown in figure below:AC Voltage Multiplier Circuit

I talked about how this circuit works in more detail back in my article “Effect of High Voltage AC/DC on Human Body” which you can read.

Safety Tips on Dealing with High Voltage

It is very important to know what to do dealing with high voltage and there are many situations that might require different actions, but I summarize as much as I can here:

  • DON’T! Leave it to a professional to deal with high voltage!
  • If you must, first shut down everything to do with high voltage supply before handling anything.
  • If you are not sure if the circuit is off, DO NOT RISK anything! Step away and call a professional.
  • Always wear protective and electrically isolating gear, like gloves, boots, clothing and etc. Of course all these are rated for some voltage level, and above a certain level, everything breaks down. So make sure you know what beast you are dealing with.
  • If you are stock in a situation where you don’t have necessary gear, then make sure you touch things with only your right hand (unless your heart is on the right side) and ALWAYS make sure no other spot of your body is touching any other conductive surface or earth ground.
  • If the voltage is extremely high (>10kV power lines and such) Do not get close to power lines at all! Proximity won’t create an ESD like discharge, but that arc will turn into a thick thunder bolt that melts and burns everything. It is not safe at all unless the power is shut down first.
  • If you are in a situation where a high voltage line is broken on the ground close to you, if  you are in a car, stay in there. If you need to move out and step away, you must keep your feet together and hop away. Remember that the voltage is so high that every meter of the ground is at a large voltage difference. If you take a normal step, each of your feet will be at a different voltage that will arc through your body. Hopping will make sure your feet are close enough to keep the voltage difference between them at a minimum, And make sure you don’t fall either! If you are over 10 meters away from the power source, then you can run away!

Please leave other safety tips in the comments if you know more so people can read and know too.

And again thanks a lot for helping me get to a million subscribers, and stay safe!