Electric Candle Replaces Flame With Plasma

Ah, the charm of candlelight! Nothing says “romance” — or “extended power outage” — like the warm, soft glow of a real candle. But if you’re not a fan of burning wax for whatever reason, this electric plasma candle may be just the thing to build for your next dinner for two.

This re-imagining of the humble candle comes to us by way of plasma super-fan [Jay Bowles], who has a lot of experience with plasmas and the high-voltage circuits that often go along with them. Even so, he had to enlist help with the circuit, with is essentially a 10-MHz Class-E oscillator, from [Leon] at the Teslaundmehr channel on YouTube. The most prominent feature of the build is the big resonator coil, surrounded by the shorter primary coil and sitting atop the heatsink for the MOSFET driver. [Jay]’s usual acrylic-rich style is well represented here, and the resulting build is quite lovely.

The tuning process, though, sounds like it was pure torture. It took a lot of tweaking — and a lot of MOSFETs — to get the candle to produce a stable flame. But once it did, the results were striking. The plasma coming off the breakout point on the resonator coil is pretty much the same size, shape, and — occasionally — the color as a candle flame. It’s also hot enough to do some damage, so do be careful if you build this. We’ve included both [Jay]’s and [Leon]’s videos below; [Leon]’s has great step-by-step build instructions.

We’ve been following [Jay]’s journey through the plasmaverse for a while now, from his cheap and simple Tesla coils to using corona discharge to clean his hands. He even hosted a Hack Chat on the subject last year.

Note: [Jay] reached out to us after publication about mitigating RF noise. He does his experiments inside a steel-reinforced concrete building with grounded metal screens over the windows. An RF-wizard friend has checked across the spectrum and detected no leaks to the outside. Sounds like the business to us.

32 thoughts on “Electric Candle Replaces Flame With Plasma

        1. :)
          Not only it provides a beautiful plasma halo but makes sourpuss hams throwing flames of horror, even better!
          To complete the effect, couple it to a random source to achieve unpredictability. And move it around from time to time.

      1. Very little power will be radiated, this is an extremely short antenna for a signal with 30m wavelength. I don’t know how much, but it would surprise me if it jams anything not on the operating frequency for more than 10m.

        1. It may be electrically short, but it’s very high Q (it has to be, to work at all). The radiated power could easily be several percent of the input power, many billions of times more than would be permitted if this were actually a product.

          Unless he’s taking special measures for shielding, that thing would be easily powerful enough to be detected anywhere on the entire planet. And it will be, since it’s in a ham CW band.

    1. Hi All, i’m the creator. Just dropping a note that my studio has concrete walls, floor, and ceiling. I chose this particular place to live, due to natural lighting for filming, and, concrete walls for protection. My windows are covered in grounded metal mesh during all experiments. I do take care to not pollute local radio bandwidths, and, even contacted the FCC for my last episode about radio transmission. Hope you enjoyed the video. Cheers!

      1. I’d love to hear what the FCC would officially say about Tesla coil operation.

        Concrete “for protection” is going to do diddly-squat for RF leaking out: Concrete is essentially transparent at 10 MHz.

        Screens on your windows will also do approximately zero for preventing RF from leaking out. You need to completely screen the room: no gaps, no holes, no slit or opening bigger than a small fraction of a wavelength.

        You are operating an “unintentional radiator”. As such, you do not require FCC equipment authorization as an RF-emitting device. However, you ARE still regulated under 47 CFR Part 15, or would be if it were a product.

        By the letter of the law, you are still “expected to employ good engineering practices to meet the specified technical standards to the greatest extent practicable.” and “subject to the conditions that no harmful interference is caused.”

        Realistically, the FCC isn’t going to hunt you down like a dog. Well, not until someone calls them and complains. But they do make expensive examples of violators from time to time, which is always interesting reading.

        Consider at least moving to the designated ISM frequencies at 13.567 MHz or 6.78 MHz. At least there your neighbors everywhere on the planet won’t be inconvenienced.

  1. This reminds me of an old TV series for kids named “Supercar”. The professor was always trying to make toast (yes, with bread) usingf megawatts of power and some technological wizardry. Only an Old Person (古代人) would appreciate it.

  2. Will this fill the room with Ozone? Not thinking about the beneficial effects on the Ozone layer (which it surely will not reach), but the negative health effects if you inhale that at your romantic dinners…

  3. In the youtube Video there is said, the MOSFETs are in Zero Point switching mode. IMHO this is not true, the Mosfets cannot switch at those high frequencies. The Mosfets work in the linear area and this is kind of Colpitts Oszillator. I have buit somethng like this in the 9ties. 1MHZ Coil but with 2N3055 transistors.

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