status report, questions, etc.

Hi Chip,

>So on Sunday a friend came over and we played with the new vacuum cleaner
>gap and tried to get it to work.  After some investigation, we think we found
>out why it didn't.  It turns out that the arc between the copper pipes would
>zap along the plexiglass at the end of the pipe.  This carbonized the plexi
>and made it conductive, which wrecked the quenching.  I am going to put some
>tiles at the ends of the pipe to stop the burning of the plexiglass.  I'll
>report when I finally get it working.

I too just had this very same problem.  I talked to RQ about it.  The solution
is simple.  First, it doesn't matter what you use at the ends of the electrodes,
anything touching them at the ends on the gap will cause the copper ions tobe
attacted and promote the arc at that point.  And that's what you get, arcing at
the ends of the electrodes and carbon on the acrylic.  There are 2 simple

Method 1 is to drill holes through the acrylic at the point where they intersect
the electrode gaps.  This keeps the ions from gathering on the plastic and
promotes additional air from down trough the gaps keeping the arcing from the

Method 2 is to use spacers that are narrower than the gaps to keep thier ends
from touching the acrylic at the point of the gap.  This also promotes
additional airflow at the ends keeping the arcing away.  RQ felt that this
method is the best.

I opted to use the drilled hole method, due to it being a little quicker to do.
I will change to the other method on my next larger vacuum gap.  On my small
gap, it seems to work fine.  Quenching is back with a vengence.

If your listening, thanks for the advice Richard.

Scott Myers