First light!

A few weeks ago saw the first light of the mighty OLTC II. First I tried it out indoors at a very low bps.

A single bang

Everything seemed OK, so the next time it wasn't raining, I took it outdoors.

The damn thing actually works!

Although it was outdoors on a damp night, and the RF ground was a bit suspect, it kicked out streamers 4 feet long. This was using something like 2kW of DC power.

Well sometimes.

The streamers were incredibly hot and bright, but crooked, and flailed around a lot. A different breakout point might help with this. Without a breakout point, there were no sparks at all.

The charging voltage wouldn't go as high as I wanted it to. I couldn't get up to the full 1kV, the crowbar circuit kicked in around 850V. It actually triggered in the exposure above. This repeated short circuiting eventually burnt my power supply out - again :-( It seemed that the crowbar was set a bit low, and also the sense wire to the crowbar was getting quite a lot of EMF induced from the primary.

As for the power supply, it was just a pants design, I will have to redesign the short-circuit protection module, or just take it out altogether. The rest of the system has survived a few crowbar firings at full voltage when the protection module was burnt out and totally inoperative, so I think I might get away without it.

I've done a fair bit more work towards fixing these problems, and it's more or less ready to go again, hopefully at 100% power this time. I'm determined to beat the SSTC world record ;-)

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