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[TCML] SISG First Light
Well, I powered up my SISG coil for the first time today. I'm running 5
boards at the moment. As I cranked up the voltage and then variac
ballast (keeping my eye on current), all was rather quiet and then ZAP!
The coil threw out some hot white arcs striking an old primary coil
about 5 feet away from the top load. After about 5 seconds, all went
quiet again. The ballast variac was smoking! I shut it down and started
looking at components (figuring I must have wired something incorrectly,
rectifier died, or sisg boards took a dump).
I removed the coil and lid off of the coil cabinet and inspected the
caps, bridge, and sisg. Nothing burned and no smell of anything bad. All
looks brand new and none of the hv diodes are shorted. I then started
looking at the control cabinet which houses my PLC, deadman circuit,
voltage and current ballasts, etc. I measured the inductance of the
variac ballast and found that the last time I rewired it, I had
inadvertently changed the rotation direction (0 to 100%). So apparently,
I started up this SISG with "no ballast for the pig". When I thought I
was increasing L, I was actually lowering it. Well, I tried the coil
again after all this and couldn't get anything to breakout. I could here
the Sidac's firing however. It's almost as if the ballast was damaged
and stealing power (it was the variac that was smoking originally).
I did get sparks and they looked great for a moment. But looks like I am
in for another variac autopsy. I may first double check that nothing
else is a problem by bypassing the variac (for a quick shot).
If there are other thoughts any of you might have about the incident
here, please speak up. SISG's are new to me, so it's possible I'm
BTW, cap and primary are in series. The SISG is parallel to the power
supply and before the cap and primary (as would be normal for a typical
spark gap). I decided to change the wiring to this configuration (from
my previous) after realizing that since I'm floating the primary, I was
not limited to hookup configurations.
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