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High Voltage

Fluorescent Tube Battery

Fluorescent tubes are made from mercury vapor and an inert gas such as argon.  When a tube is approached by high voltage AC current, the electromagnetic energy from the AC causes the tube to fluoresce.  This in turn causes AC voltage to flow between the electrodes of the tube.  This experiment was built to see if there were enough ambient radiations to generate a meaningful voltage potential.


I took a 24" fluorescent tube and connected 24 gauge wire to either end, wrapping several turns around the tube.  The wire was connected to the AC portion of a full wave bridge rectifier.  The DC portion of the full wave bridge rectifier was connected to terminals and the whole unit was installed in a PVC tube and filled with transformer oil.

The fluorescent tube battery  produced .152 VDC with no measurable current.  This device is therefore only useful for generating a weak electrostatic charge.  I noticed during assembly that there was little gain in surrounding the tube with transformer oil.

However, there are some useful properties to this type of electrostatic generator.  When I have the digital voltmeter (shown) connected to the device, I can change the voltage reading merely by walking around the room.  If I put my hand on the insulated portion of the test cable, the meter shows a .5 VDC potential.

If I firmly touch the positive terminal of the fluorescent battery it generates a potential of .65 VDC whereas if I touch the negative terminal it registers a reading of .45 VDC.

Although the fluorescent battery does not directly produce any meaningful current, it does produce a definite difference of potential between the terminals.  It may prove to be useful in a Col. Bearden type of dipole energy device.