Author Topic: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design  (Read 8942 times)

Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2019, 12:19:35 AM »
Dexter, Fumeaux,

I just switched the primary winding on the GDT, there is better output now, when connected to my function generator, at about 340 kHz I can see small streamers on top of the secondary ( worth mentioning that I do not have a top load yet, but I have 150mm metal sphere that I intend to use ).
Sparks will jump across 30mm gap to a piece of metal held close.

At about 30V DC it draws about 2.5 A
Slowly going in the right direction I suppose  :)

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2019, 10:42:33 AM »
Getting 30 mm sparks from 30VDC in is a good indicator that everything is right.

As you ramp up the voltage you will most likely see some unstable interrupting, sputtering sparks etc. Try to adjust the position of the antenna if this happens. The same applies if you see sparks or too much corona on the antenna tip.

Reversing the GDT primary or the primary coil itself has the same result, I almost always ended up reversing the primary coil as it was easiest for me with my circuit layout.

We need pictures of sparks! :)
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Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2019, 09:37:58 PM »
Well, unfortunately that did not go so well, I slowly increased the power, started getting longer sparks, and then C8 started smoking.
It is rated over 400V, I do not understand why did it go up in smoke?

Offline Fumeaux

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2019, 10:14:18 PM »
Do do know how your waveform on the mosfets looked while operating?
Was it like this or 50/50 on-off-time?



That might explain, why only one cap started smoking, or maybe it was a productionfailure and not your mistake.

Do you have an idea at what voltage and what current the cap blew?
I suppose it could have been too much current for the little cap.

Maybe look into Polypropylen-Capacitors that can be used for pulsed applications, and maybe something with a higher voltage rating. (Replace both caps at once ;))
The first one I found was this: WIMA MKP1J036806F00KSSD
  • 630VDC
  • high frequency circuits, impulse circuits
  • and best of all self-extinguishing
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 10:20:35 PM by Fumeaux »

Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2019, 03:59:23 AM »
Waveform was exactly like that, but I did play around with the pots while the coil was running.
As they say hindsight is always 20/20, cap I used is probably not suitable, it is Polypropylene but voltage is only about 300V AC.
https://au.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Illinois-Capacitor-CDE/MPX684K305G?qs=HXFqYaX1Q2ycCo06bCS07Q==

I ordered caps you suggested, they seem like a good choice, I also ordered a pair of Fets, just in case I blew one up.
I did not check yet if I fried them or not.
I can’t remember exact voltage at the time, but Variac was supplying about 70-80V.

Worth mentioning that my coil would not run without the function generator connected to the antenna.

Offline Fumeaux

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #45 on: February 04, 2019, 08:42:30 AM »
Worth mentioning that my coil would not run without the function generator connected to the antenna.
  • I think you should get that working with a priority. Did it only work with the function generator before you swapped the gdt connections or after doing so? Or have you tried it? Swapping the connections should have made it work.
  • And as far as I can remember you don't use a topload at the moment? That could be a problem for the feedback as well.
  • Have you decreased the current draw? You said you wanted to, but did you also do it?
  • When you have it running again, run it for a short period of time and feel if any component got warm. And film the sparks :)



Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #46 on: February 04, 2019, 11:17:29 AM »
Worth mentioning that my coil would not run without the function generator connected to the antenna.
  • I think you should get that working with a priority. Did it only work with the function generator before you swapped the gdt connections or after doing so? Or have you tried it? Swapping the connections should have made it work.
  • And as far as I can remember you don't use a topload at the moment? That could be a problem for the feedback as well.
  • Have you decreased the current draw? You said you wanted to, but did you also do it?
  • When you have it running again, run it for a short period of time and feel if any component got warm. And film the sparks :)

It never worked on it’s own, always with the FG connected.
Swapping the connections made it produce a better discharge, but with the FG only
That is right, no top load yet, I have a metal sphere that I can use, about 120mm dia
Well, as far as the current draw is concerned, It was going high, about 4A at 30V. Then, next time I tried it stayed at about 2.5A, I thought that it “sorted itself out”, so I decided to try doing a full test - aaand things fried.

I just investigated the circuit and found that both Fets are gone, in addition to the smoking caps.

As you suggested , I should have sorted out that duty cycle, currently it is about 60% ( which makes me think that is why Fets died )

UCC***22 is at 61%
UCC***21 is at 39%
I have no idea what controls their duty cycle or how to adjust it ! Might be obvious, but I’m not afraid to admit that I do not know.

If I feed sine wave signal into the antenna, inverter outputs a nice square wave at 50% duty cycle, it is 50% at pin 2 of the UCC’s, but they change the duty cycle.

Replacement parts should be here by Friday, so I get to try again  :)
I find all this rather interesting...

Offline Teravolt

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Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #48 on: February 04, 2019, 09:25:09 PM »
You have to understand that driving it with a function generator it will never be able to adjust itself to the changing resonant frequency of the secondary circuit. As the sparks grow the secondary circuit is loaded and its resonant frequency starts to drop. This happens at every single cycle, so it is critical that you get the antenna feedback to work as the first thing.

You are stressing your primary circuit by switching a large current that can not get magnetically coupled to the secondary circuit and transferred on to be sparks, instead the large circulating current in your primary circuit is destroying your components.
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Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #49 on: February 04, 2019, 11:38:43 PM »
Teravolt,  thanks for the links, a lot of interesting reading there. I have some time to read before my components turn up.

Mads, now I understand why driving the circuit from the FG is not a good idea - it does not allow itself to self-tune.
I still do not understand why UCC’s output 60/40 waveform, is this because I’m driving the circuit from the FG ? Will this change once I get feedback circuit working ?
Ideally it should be 50% duty cycle, right ?

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #50 on: February 05, 2019, 08:44:28 AM »
Teravolt,  thanks for the links, a lot of interesting reading there. I have some time to read before my components turn up.

Mads, now I understand why driving the circuit from the FG is not a good idea - it does not allow itself to self-tune.
I still do not understand why UCC’s output 60/40 waveform, is this because I’m driving the circuit from the FG ? Will this change once I get feedback circuit working ?
Ideally it should be 50% duty cycle, right ?

You function generator could easily put out a waveform with a duty cycle distribution like that, that all depends on who you set it up.

A resonator like the Tesla coil secondary circuit or a GDT can never run at anything else than 50/50% duty cycle with some natural added dead-time from magnetizing currents shifting phase etc. So the feedback will always be tied to the sinus waveform of the secondary.
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Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #51 on: February 05, 2019, 09:25:47 AM »
Thanks Mads, it's clear now. My FG is ancient, no data display, just an on led and a large knob, so yes, it might be doing strange things.
In the meantime I organised a top load 150mm and 180mm spheres ( 8pF and 10pF or thereabouts ).
Fitting for a breakout point on top.

Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #52 on: February 11, 2019, 11:55:44 AM »
Well, I spent most of my weekend building a new circuit, trying to make it a bit neater than the first one.
I did not like the waveform in my first circuit it was really ugly. Despite my best efforts, my new circuit produces exactly the same waveform.
I think I spent enough time on this project, It is a fairly simple circuit, but I cannot make it work.
What hope do I have of making something more complex if I cannot built this ?
Time to give up electronics and keep going with mechanical switching I think...

Offline Laci

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2019, 04:28:24 PM »
Can you send us some pictures about your complete setup?It's often hard to solve a problem for the first try,some time for thinking and compatible components does the trick! :)

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2019, 10:58:06 PM »
I feel your frustration and believe me, I have been in the same place with so many projects. Just let it rest for a week or two if its driving you mental, then return to it with new ideas and energy.

The SSTC is quite sloppy in its design and stability, so the more complex DRSSTC can often be easier to find errors on as its better specified what signal is needed where.

Just give us some more details and we see if we can help you get this thing running!
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Offline Thunderstruck

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #55 on: February 16, 2019, 02:16:27 AM »
I tried one more time, I started getting some output and then everything went quiet - probably burned out fets, because heatsinks were too warm for 10 second opertion.
Well, I head enough and put the entire thing into the rubbish bin to stop myself spending any more time and money on this project.
I learned a few things about electronics from this project, I also learned that I am not capable of building a simple circuit. My ambition was to build a large coil based on UDD 2.7 - I even bought all the components and pcb’s. That is far more complicated circuit and I have no chance in hell to make it work.

Anyway, thanks for your help guys and apologies for wasting your time !

Offline Mads Barnkob

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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2019, 12:50:30 PM »
I tried one more time, I started getting some output and then everything went quiet - probably burned out fets, because heatsinks were too warm for 10 second opertion.
Well, I head enough and put the entire thing into the rubbish bin to stop myself spending any more time and money on this project.
I learned a few things about electronics from this project, I also learned that I am not capable of building a simple circuit. My ambition was to build a large coil based on UDD 2.7 - I even bought all the components and pcb’s. That is far more complicated circuit and I have no chance in hell to make it work.

Anyway, thanks for your help guys and apologies for wasting your time !

Not always a bad choice to clean the table and walk away for a bit. Give it a few weeks and then start building your DRSSTC, if you already have the parts, just get going :)

I am struggling hard right now to fix my own DRSSTC1 that just blew the bridge on me, its been 3 long days of trying to get it to run again and I am also frustrated, but I keep going and I try to document my steps through it, so it can get online and help others.

I hope to see you back building the DRSSTC!
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Re: SSTC build as per Steve Ward's Mini SSTC - Final Design
« Reply #56 on: February 16, 2019, 12:50:30 PM »

 


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