Safe High Voltage:
A negative ion generator is actually a 10,000-volt DC power supply.
Even better, since the high-voltage terminal must be safely touched by the
users, ion generators are SAFE, current-limited, high-voltage power
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 Soda-bottle Motor 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:
NEEDED: * Negative Ion Generator * Aluminum foil * 2 (or emore) Alligator clipleads (Radio Shack) * Plastic electrical tape My Negative Ion Generator looks like this: Disk of black foam /| _\| / | / | AIREASE(tm) NEGATIVE ION GEN. / | / | | | ||||||||||||||| SIDE VIEW ||||||||||||||| ||||||||||||||| (Device is about 8 inches tall) ||||||||||||||| ||||||||||||||| ||||||||||||||| <-- wrapped in black foam ||||||||||||||| ||||||||||||||| | | |_____________| (AC power cord not shown)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:
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
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.