Author Topic: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?  (Read 992 times)

Online klugesmith

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Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« on: April 15, 2024, 09:06:42 PM »
At electronics flea market yesterday, I got an ignitron to play with.   The uncommon glass envelope lets us see the mercury, and will let us see the plasma glow.  Tube might serve as an acoustically quiet switch for my old can crusher, subject to concerns about peak current and current reversal.
Does anyone here have hands-on experience with ignitrons, and high voltage pulsers to drive the igniter pin?

Offline Twospoons

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Re: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2024, 11:02:05 PM »
What a beautiful thing! I was puzzled by the oval electrode at the bottom, then I realised its a puddle of mercury  :o
Looking at the plasma might not be too healthy for your eyes, depending on what kind of glass was used.

The wikipedia article on ignitrons would suggest a reasonably high current ignition pulse is required - probably similar to driving a big thyristor.
 
Oh look - a nice datasheet!
https://frank.pocnet.net/sheets/119/n/NL1001.pdf
So the trigger appears to need 200 volts, and a peak current to at least 30A.   To me this looks like cap charged to about 300V with a series inductor to control peak current and a thyristor switch. And a diode across the ignitron trigger to prevent reverse volts.

Doesn't handle as much current as I thought it would for something that big.


Offline huntergroundmind

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Re: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2024, 02:51:23 PM »
Beautiful one :D I used GL5552A ignitron in discharge circuit. It performed quite well. Discharge current was about 600A, voltage ~2,5kV, and capacitors stored energy of about 5kJ. Discharge had no current reversal. I used diy pulse transformer (as far as I remember- 1:2) with thyristor and capacitor discharge circuit. On secondary side it had damping resistor and diode parallel to ignitor to prevent reverse voltage(not visible on photo, placed under epoxy laminate board on the left, string of four 1n5408) . trigger pulse discharge time was about 100usec.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2024, 02:54:01 PM by huntergroundmind »

Online klugesmith

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Re: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2024, 09:56:56 PM »
THanks for the advice, guys.   
Last Sunday was the May flea market, where I paid for a seller space and got rid of many big, heavy, or old things for not much money.
Had to move the ignitron out of the way while packing the car.
Some day my workspace will be de-cluttered enough to allow for nerd play again.

To demonstrate some small curios with AC wallplugs, I bought my first 12V-to-120V inverter.   Chose a nominal 500 watt (continuous) size, "modified sine wave" output, that came with cigarette lighter plug and clip leads for battery terminals.  Cost me US $55.  It ran the small loads just fine.   Then I tried one 15 kV neon sign transformer whose HV bushings held coat hanger wire to make a spark gap.   The inverter died after 10 seconds.   Would it be unfair for me to take it back to the store and exchange it for a new one?  It's not a good time in my life to reverse engineer the unit and try to fix it.  Plugged into wall, the NST can deliver at most 250 watts into a resistive load.  I didn't measure its input current.   THe inverter ought to be protected against overcurrent, eh?

p.s. at flea market, a neighboring seller sold me a 150W inverter with lighter plug for $5.   It served me well to demonstrate the lesser curios.  My first sale was the big old NST, without being operated at the event.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2024, 10:02:34 PM by klugesmith »

Offline Michelle_

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Re: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2024, 10:20:35 PM »
Here's one way to do it apparently:

Online klugesmith

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Re: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2024, 11:02:48 PM »
THank you, Michelle.   
I should move my inverter-and-NST story to a different thread, and save this thread for triggering of ignitrons.

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Re: Ignitron trigger drive ideas?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2024, 11:02:48 PM »

 


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