Monday, November 16, 2009

thoughts over the weekend

For the past several days, nothing of interest happened, so naturally I'm going to write about that. This is just a summary of the thoughts I've been thinking over the last few days on these topics.

Although I am budget-bound, there are a few tasks I can push on my projects with the materials and means I have on hand.

There are plenty of things which need doing on the Mad Scientist Light Switch project.

The high powered spark gap switch project is still waiting for a trigger generator, which may or may not end up being the VIG I've been blogging about recently.

I am still going to forge ahead with the micro-Marx generator, because I realize now that it will be very useful to see which device will do a better job of triggering my switch.

Now I really wish I had been able to make the switch housing out of something transparent such as cast polycarbonate so I could (perhaps) capture on a camera whether or not the thing is achieving multichannel operation. I may yet have to attempt making a new housing, assuming I can ever find a chunk of the appropriate size. There are ways to test for multichannel capability (mostly a consequence of very high dV/dT), such as applying the trigger pulse to a fine wire stretched parallel over a grounded plane electrode, and photographing the streamers or sparks which develop. You can't see it with the naked eye. It might not even be possible to photograph the phenomenon with any camera I currently have access to. Yet another thing I need to look into. How were those multichannel test photographs taken?

Both trigger pulse generators will also be tested (eventually) with the railgap switch I received from Jon Singer, lo these many moons gone by. I will start by attempting to use it in its original configuration, which appears to have been a multi-point Trigatron configuration, although we don't really know. There doesn't seem to be much documentation for that ancient device available from anyone anywhere, and what little there is, I already have. To do that, I would have to construct a 4-way power divider to split the trigger pulse into four lines for the four trigger ports on that switch. Upon brief reflection, that appears to be somewhat challenging, but I know it can be done, because I've seen devices in white papers which did precisely that.

Later, I will almost certainly attempt to modify that switch to utilize field distortion triggering with a single linear trigger electrode (most likely either a knife edge or a fine tungsten wire). But I have lots to do and learn before I begin messing about with that switch.

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