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Pocket High Voltage Generator Quick Build

Pocket HV Generator

There are times you find yourself looking for a relatively high voltage (100V to 200V often in my case) but low current DC power supply. I have zener diodes that are higher than 30V, which makes the lab supply useless, and filament LEDs with forward voltage over 60V. When I need to test them quickly, I used to hook up a simple rectifier circuit to a variable AC power supply (nothing more than a slidac with isolation transformer). While this gets job done, the setup is capable of supplying much too high current (1A or more), so I was always very nervous and extra careful in handling the circuit. All I need is a little HV generator that gives me around 200V DC and only capable of supplying a milliamp or less. Realizing that I do have such design available – one of the Nixie supply circuit – I just decided to put one together to use.

Pocket HV Generator schematics

Quick & dirty build of the tool.

Quick & dirty build of the tool.

A single AA battery seems to be enough to generate over 200V on the output with no load. But the output quickly lowers when you draw 0.4mA. So it feels pretty safe to handle this casually, and I can only feel a bit of tingling, not electric shock when I touch the output terminals. The tool proved to be quite handy and useful in testing variety of things:

  • Zener diodes (zener voltage)
  • Switching diodes (reverse breakdown voltage)
  • Filament LEDsĀ (forward voltage)
  • Regular LEDs (forward voltage – yes it’s ok to use this tool, since it’ll only give less than 1mA even at 2-3V)
  • BJTs (breakdown voltages)
  • Neon & Nixie tubes (not very bright, but you can tell if one works or not)
Pocket HV Generator testing a zener diode

Pocket HV Generator testing a zener diode

Pocket HV Generator testing a Nixie tube

Pocket HV Generator testing a Nixie tube

This is one of the most useful tools that I’ve made. And it only took a couple of hours to put it together.

5 Responses

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  4. Pingback: 200V DC High voltage pocket generator - Electronics-Lab

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