Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Marx generator and switching news

I can't wait for my "micro-Marx" parts to get here. And to find time at work (on my lunch hour) to start the drawings. Yesterday's lunch I was out of the office (for a good reason, but out of the office nevertheless), today I have a dentist appointment (oh yay, my favorite thing) that I MUST NOT forget. I have managed to forget the previous two, and NOBODY is happy about that. But I digress. If I can maintain momentum on the micro-Marx and get it done in roughly the same time frame as the TSGS (a few months) I will be ROCKING hobby project progress far in excess of what I have accomplished in the previous six years (ie; since we moved in here). This is a fine thing.

I have also realized that this micro-Marx may in fact be capable of multi-channeling (multiple current paths per switch firing) my big railgap switch, which is still intended for the pulser. I need to think about how I would determine whether multi-channel operation occurs. And the answer to that is starting to look like an o-ring-sealed, thick polycarb lid covering the gigantic hole I would mill into the top of the casing. Holy shit. I can't believe I am considering the heavy modification of what may be a piece of history. 

I wanted to provide a link to a page of information about the pioneering company (and its president) that built that switch, but there doesn't seem to be one.

For now, suffice it to say that custom HV pulse capacitors and exotic high power switching devices made by his company played a role in a few early (and quite secret, at the time) pulsed power projects at Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia National Labs in the 50s and 60s. I'm gonna have to think about whether I "should" make that modification. It may be that the power levels I have at my disposal are so much less than the capabilities of that switch that I just won't have to worry about it. Of course... if I'm wrong... I might end up having to repair one or both electrodes, which would suck. I do want to try something better than the apparent trigatron style triggering method it appears to have originally used.

OTOH, I think one of the switch's former owners modified it slightly by making two holes in the case. I do not know this for a fact. But I'd have done something like them anyway, for gas inlet and outlet. There are no other ports in the thing. It is a very curious object, about which very little is known. I should scan the literature I have for them and put it online, I've never found that info anywhere else, therefore it is precious. Oh, and I need to ask him to remind me how he got his mitts on it.

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