Two-inch sparks using a television flyback

Following the guidance of one of my favorite Instructables tutorials, this weekend I used a broken CFL bulb and the transformer from an old television to generate a reliable stream of two-inch sparks:

The concept here is pretty similar to that described in my ignition coil relay project: The circuit board at the base of a CFL bulb serves to transform mains power to a high-frequency, high voltage signal that serves as the “spark” that illuminates the argon/mercury vapor inside the fluorescent envelope. If this signal is instead routed to the terminals of the primary circuit of a large step-up transformer, a high-frequency and even high-voltage can be attained (at the expense of a lower current). In this case, the transformer is salvaged from an old CRT-type television screen or monitor, in which a high-voltage beam of electrons is selectively fired at a phosphor coating on the screen in order to create the image.


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