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realflow100 28th December 2012 06:17 AM

Plasma speaker?
I was wondering if I could make a plasma speaker by just taking a transformer and running a 30khz sinewave through it.. and then just playing audio through it..
would it work or would i need something far more advanced than that?
Sorry if this is in the wrong place I haven't gotten a clue where I should of posted this..

Mooly 28th December 2012 06:49 AM

A bit more advanced than that.

A bit over simplified but plasma speakers "modulate" an arc generated by a VERY HIGH VOLTAGE (so there are real dangers in generating that).

Curiosity value only I would say.

realflow100 28th December 2012 07:21 AM

i got a light bulb to light up with a 23khz tone sine wave generated in audacity with a sample rate of 600,000
and a small transformer hooked up to my 400 watt amplifier
the light bulb just lit right up and if i hold it with my hand it glows brighter
must be a very powerful amplifier to do that O_o
i tried running an audio signal through it along with the 23khz tone and it didn't do much but it did make a little sound lol

Mooly 28th December 2012 07:40 AM

There's a lot of unknowns there :)

Voltage rating of the bulb, and was it a filament bulb or a flourescent type. Also the transformer type and how it was connected. Mains transformers work best at low frequencies. For high frequencies special small transformers are used.

For safety remember that even ordinary transformers fed from an audio amplifier can generate very high voltages. Enough to give a severe shock.

To ionise the air and cause a plasma arc needs voltages of many thousands of volts, far far more than you'll be able to generate.

Also a very real issue is that you could end up damaging your amplifier by using it into highly inductive loads like a transformer.

realflow100 28th December 2012 08:36 AM

i only use one side of the transformer... in series with the light bulb and output of the amplifier..
and the light bulb is just a florescent light bulb normal 20/24 watt 120 volt 60hz
but it works best at high frequencys up to 45.6khz
and O.o it's a random transformer pulled out of a not working TV and messed with it till it finally worked..
and it has to be a super high voltage to make the tube light up in the light bulb..
far more than 24 volts
And my power supply that powers the amplifier only puts out 12 volts O.o old computer power supply.... only puts out 250 watts just barely over half of what my amplifier could put out.. but it gets the job done...

bear 28th December 2012 12:56 PM

A very good way to let the magic smoke out of your amplifier.

In *series*? One side of the transformer?? That's a choke.

Best to read some more before doing too many "experiments" of this sort, unless you have amps to burn, or money to burn.

Fwiw, lighting a fluorescent light is not the equivalent of making a plasma speaker. There are a number of threads on that here.

realflow100 28th December 2012 01:18 PM

I know... a plasma speaker is an extremely high voltage spark more than 30khz with an audio signal through it.... right?
and my amplifier has nearly infinite impedance when I checked the light bulb...
and with the transformer as well... raising the impedance even more... it's probably close to infinite..
but at high frequency the impedance would go down
but not a lot
My amp didnt even get slightly warm after a minute of lighting the light bulb up..
so i think it's hardly using any energy.. because the light bulb only takes 20 watts...

bear 28th December 2012 01:33 PM

Ummm... no.

geraldfryjr 28th December 2012 04:42 PM

You need amplitude modulated High voltage rf to make a plasma speaker.
Hence a modulated tesla coil of the rf type ( Typicaly greater than 1 to 4 Mhz) and not the spark gap type.

If you have a sound card that does 600,000 samples a second that is some card!!!!

jer :)

realflow100 30th December 2012 01:34 PM

it takes a few seconds to start the tone in the program but it works and i completely can't hear it at all
I'm surprised my amplifier actually goes up to that frequency... its only a $55 amp from wall-mart
One time I tried 1,000,000hz with 1.5million samples per second (not enough for 1 million hz) it worked but it took a minute to load the tone and generate it..
Although nothing happened on the speaker output lol

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