Thursday, November 5, 2009

Aw, what a cute widdle pulser you are!

My new toy from eBay arrived today.  Click the subject for a link (previously provided in an earlier post).

I was surprised to see several things:

1) The casing is made from PVC glued together with PVC cement.  I suppose it's serviceable, but it's cheaper construction than I had expected, mostly based on other products I've seen produced in the pulsed power industry.

2) It's much lighter than I had expected.  It is immediately apparent that the interior is not filled with oil, as I had suspected it might be.

Bear with me while I think out loud.  The addition of oil (and the accompanying and mandatory evacuation so as to eliminate all bubbles) into a laminated structure like a high voltage pulse capacitor or a spiral generator could do several things, some good, some maybe not so good.  To start with, it displaces all air.  It decreases small variations in voltage field intensity which tend to encourage dielectric breakdown.  It increases capacitance.  I'm not sure whether that's good or bad.  Do we care about the capacitance, speed-wise?  After all, this thing is a transmission line, and as such its inductance ought to at least partially cancel out its capacitance, shouldn't it?  I need to think on that.  Another thing the addition of oil is likely to do is raise the loss tangent which, for transmission lines propagating nanosecond-regime pulses, is probably a bad thing.

The most common high voltage insulating oils for instruments (as opposed to the power industry) would be mineral oil and castor oil, maybe a few synthetics.

One might also use sulfur hexafluoride gas, but I would not bet lunch that there is any SF6 inside this thing.

I note with pleasure, that the unit comes with a 1000:1 output monitor (50 Ω expected impedance).

I cannot recall whether I previously mentioned that the charge input is via MHV connector (as opposed to the preferred SHV).  Boo!  Well, at least they're less expensive.  I shall go shopping for one or two now.

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