It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, No… It’s High Voltage EPROM Man!

At Hackaday, we cover some pretty high-tech builds. Sometimes, though, you see something simple, but it still makes you feel happy to see it. That’s pretty much the case with [ProtoG’s] High Voltage EPROM Man.

The parts probably came out of a junk box, but the good news is that they don’t have to work, and you can freely substitute anything you have. According to [ProtoG], the “robot” head is a bulb socket with a crystal for the visor. The arms are fuses with fuse clips for the hands. The knees are adjustable caps, and the feet are TO-220 transistors.

Of course, there’s an EPROM for the body (what else would EPROM man have as a body?). If the build were just a little robot figurine, we wouldn’t be impressed. But the inclusion of a high voltage generator so that EPROM man can command an electrical arc seals the deal. Now we want one on every desk at Hackaday headquarters.

Our build might include an IR remote so you could operate it without the rubber gloves. Of course, then his arms would have to stay spaced to draw the arc, unlike the original. Maybe add a little microcontroller to prevent the current from turning on too long.  We know EPROM Man isn’t really a robot, and he isn’t as practical as, say, a suitcase robot. Then again, at least EPROM Man controls his sparking and arcing, unlike some cheap robot kits that do it by accident.

29 thoughts on “It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, No… It’s High Voltage EPROM Man!

  1. Cool. Didn’t think that the wiring inside of an EPROM envelope might create such cool arcing. One note, though – do not try this at home, kids – at least not the way the bloke in the vid does it. Judging by the arc length he’s dealing with the voltages of order of 20-30kV. Keeping your both hands over the conductors (which do not seem to be anything special and definitely not HV-rated insulation) is a sure way to get zapped. And, depending on the current capability of the source this might vary from nasty to deadly. These gloves won’t help either. Ask me how i know – i work with high voltages on daily basis yet lost my vigilance at some point. I was poking the innocently looking plastic housing of an ammeter (plastic doesn’t conduct, eh?) with my bare hand. The last thing i remember is that curious feeling “why the arc burns between the plastic and my finger” and then i woke up under the work table. Be smarter than this guy and myself.

        1. Looking again I think it is just reflection from the sparks at the back of the wires while it cannot bridge the gap. It is hard to be sure though. I think sparks inside are unlikely.

    1. Thanks, but this is completely safe.

      1. The gloves aren’t for shock protection, I just like gloves.

      2. The voltage is about 12kV-16kV measured with a high impedance HV meter.

      3. This is using a simple voltage multiplier found in most cheap stun guns on the market that are designed to output less than 10mA for safety reasons. Add that with the fact that I’m using a 9V battery as the source and this thing is only capable of a few mA. To prove this point to my coworkers, I have put both of my hands in it. Yeah, it’s annoying, but that’s about it.

      1. 99.97% safe then. Nothing is completely safe, there’s always a special case. I’d put my hands in it too without hesitation, but I wouldn’t encourage others to do so. I’m getting old enough that some of the people I associate with might have a pacemaker!

        HV EPROM man is awfully cute. Well done.

    1. When I saw the picture, I thought – That’s an interesting UV source for erasing EPROMs.

      Then I saw the video with the arcing inside the windows and thought – ah, platinum ‘1’s … you’ll never change them back to zeros.

      So yeah – definitely one time erasable, non-programmable OTENPROM

  2. “unlike some cheap robot kits that do it by accident.”
    It wasn’t an accident. The guy who filmed the video got tired of debugging the robot and applied 220V to the board, and that’s the moment captured on the GIF. Seems like Al hasn’t watched the video =D

    1. I like that one. I used to work for an electric cooperative when I was going to junior college. When I was an electrician in the Navy, we had (a modified) Reddy painted on the door to our shop.

  3. I like high voltage schtuff. I bought an old neon light 12,000 V power supply for $12 at a flea market. I made a Jacob’s ladder with it using a couple of brass brazing rods held in a couple of brass ground rod clamps. The screw for the ground wire holds the rods perfectly.

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