SAFETY - ION GENERATORS MUST BE SAFE IN ORDER TO BE SOLD IN THE UNITED
STATES. CHECK FOR SAFETY WARNINGS ON YOUR ION GENERATOR BEFORE USING
IT IN THIS APPLICATION. ALSO, NOTE THAT THIS TYPE OF GENERATOR CAN
DELIVER SMALL "STATIC ELECTRIC" SHOCKS. THERE ARE OTHER HAZARDS
YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT:
1. NEVER REMOVE THE CASE OF AN ION GENERATOR OR STICK ANY OBJECT
THROUGH SLOTS IN THE CASE, BECAUSE THE 120V POWER CONNECTIONS WITHIN
THE DEVICE CAN ELECTROCUTE YOU.
2. DON'T MESS WITH IONIZING FAN-TYPE APPLIANCES. THEIR HIGH VOLTAGE
CONNECTIONS ARE BURIED DOWN INSIDE THE CASE, AND ARE DANGEROUS AND
NOT INTENDED TO BE TOUCHED WITH FINGERS. STAY WITH SMALL, SAFE,
DESKTOP/ TABLETOP ION GENERATORS.
3. NEVER PLAY WITH LEYDEN JARS OR HIGH- VOLTAGE CAPACITORS LARGER THAN
50 PICOFARADS. WHEN CHARGED UP BY AN ION GENERATOR (OR ANY
OTHER HIGH- VOLTAGE SOURCE,) THEY CAN ELECTROCUTE YOU.
I found a $5 ion generator at a garage sale. It works really well as an
electrostatic power supply for the
and other "static
electricity" experiments. I estimate the output voltage to be
between 10,000 and 15,000 volts. This is well into the "static
electricity" voltage range. I measured the output current and found 5
uA (microamperes). 5uA is totally safe, it is smaller than the current
obtained from touching a flashlight battery with damp fingers.
Modify your Ion generator to connect some terminals:
- Negative Ion Generator
- Aluminum foil
- 2 (or emore) Alligator clipleads (Radio Shack)
- Plastic electrical tape
My Negative Ion Generator looks like this:
ABOUT 8in TALL
black foam /|
_\| / |
in black |||||||||||||||
AIREASE(tm) NEGATIVE ION GEN.
The circular black foam disk is the NEGATIVE power supply terminal. The
other terminal, the POSITIVE one, is invisibly connected to ground through
the AC cord.
To connect an alligator cliplead to the Ion Generator, I placed a 1 inch
strip of aluminum foil against the black foam disk, then wound some black
electrical tape around both the foil and the top of the plastic case. (I
left a tab of foil sticking out.) This pushes the foil firmly against the
black foam. I then clipped my cliplead to the aluminum foil. (Fold
several layers of foil together to make your strip, this keeps it from
To verify that it worked, I plugged in the ion generator and gently
touched the alligator clip with one finger. Sure enough, little sparks
crackled as I brushed the clip with my fingertip.
To power the POP BOTTLE
ELECTROSTATIC MOTOR , I clipped the other end of my
alligator cliplead to the bare "commutator" wire of one of the stator
bottles. The other stator bottle must be connected to ground. Grounded
connections can be had from:
When connected to the negative ion generator, my Pop-bottle motor ran fast
at about 3 revolutions per second (180RPM).
- Cold water pipe
- Faucet on the sink
- The metal screw on an AC wall socket
- The metal screw on a light switch
If your negative ion generator is significantly different from mine, it
might be easier for you to connect it up. Some ion generators have a
little tuft of black fur. This fur is conductive, it is the negative
terminal. You can carefully clip your alligator clip directly to this
fur. Or you might find a 7,500V module powered by 120VAC
from online surplus suppliers.
EBAY has lots of these, under $5. But they need a DC power supply
between 9V and 15V.
SAFETY NOTE: use a small desktop ion generator, DO NOT use a FAN-TYPE ION
GENERATOR. The negative terminal of an ionizing fan is buried down inside
the plastic case. IT IS NOT DESIGNED TO BE SAFELY TOUCHED.
WHERE TO BUY?
Go see THE LIST, links to ionizer sources.
Ionizers are expensive when new. $30 - $100. They are
very cheap at "Salvation Army" stores, garage sales, etc., if you can find
them. The guts of ionizers are under $10 on ebay (see the list page
above for links)
BEWARE! Many small "car ionizers" are no such thing. Instead they are
ozone generators. The little cylinder has a small ultraviolet lamp inside
(a quartz mercury tube.) You might want to experiment with these for
other purposes. But they don't put out any DC kilovolts.