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Published on Jul 22, 2013
In this setup, a 9V 650mA supply powers a 555-based astable multivibrator oscillator circuit. This circuit switches a 5V 2A power supply via a silicon diffused power transistor into an automotive ignition coil with the secondary wired to a simple appliance lightbulb.
The plasma streamers are rather intense, and follow my fingers as I touch the bulb's surface. This doesn't hurt, though it will give you a jolt if you simultaneously touch ground and the bulb with the same hand.
Virtually all of the parts were harvested from electronics salvaged from Bay Area streets. Don't just throw out old electronics — donate them to your neighborhood aspiring mad scientist!