Category Archives: Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius BOB IANNINI

Negative Ion Information

fn the last two decades, a medical controversy has evolved periaining to the beneficial effects of these minute electrical particles. As with any device that appears to affect people in a beneficial sense, there are those who sensationalize and exaggerate these claims as a cure for all ailments and ills. Such people manufacture and market these devices under false pretenses and consequently give the products a bad name. The Food and Drug Administration now steps in on these claims and the product, along with any beneficial facets, goes down ihe tubes.

People are affected by negative ions from the property of these particlcs to increase the rate of activity by cilia (whose property is to keep the tra­chea clean from foreign objects), thus enhancing oxy­gen intake and increasing the flow of mucous. This property neutralizes the effects of cigarette smoking, which slows down this activity of the cilia. Hay fever and bronchial asthma victims arc greatly relieved by these particles. Burns and surgery patients are relieved of pain and heal faster. Tiredness, lethargy, and a general feeling of fatigue are replaced by a sense of well-being and renewed energy. Negative ions destroy bacteria and purify the air with country air freshness. They cheer people up by decreasing the serotonin content of the blood. As can be seen in countless articles and technical writings, negative ions are a benefit to man and his environment.

Negative ions occur naturally from static electric­ity, certain kinds of wind, waterfalls, crashing surf, cos­mic radiation, radioactivity, and ultraviolet radiation. Positive ions are also produced from some of the pre­vious phenomena and usually neutralize each other out as a natural statistical occurrence. However, many man-made objects and devices have a tendency to neutralize the negative ions, thus leaving an abun­dance of positive ions, which create sluggishness and most of the opposite physiological effects of its nega­tive counterpart.

One method of producing negative ions is obtain­ing a radioactive source rich in Beta radiations (elec­trons). Alpha and gamma emissions from this source produce positive ions that are neutralized electrically. The resulting negative ions are electrostatically directed to the output exit of the device and are fur­ther dispersed by the action of a fan (this method has recently come under attack by the Bureau of Radio­logical Health and Welfare) for the use of tritium or other radioactive salts. This approach appears to be the most hazardous one according to the product consumer safety people.

A more accepted method is to place a small tuft of stainless steel wool as the ion emitter at the output terminal of a negative high-voltage DC power supply. The hair-like property of the stainless steel wool allows ions to be produced at a relatively low voltage yet with reduced ozone output. Ions are produced by the leakage of the particles charging air molecules in the immediate vicinity of the steel wool emitter. The unit should be operated below 15 Kv as too much voltage can produce substantial amounts of ozone that can mask the beneficial effects of the increased ions obtained.

5pecial Notes

The ion emitter plays an important function in the proper operation of this unit for the particular appli­cation. It is suggested that you use a small, sharp, stainless steel needle for starters.

The average current is about 500 microamps and can be considered constant for most loads. It charges objects of an electrical capacitance (C) to a voltage by the following formula: V = it/с. where t equals th( time in seconds and с equals the capacitor of the object in farads. The average human body usually equates out to 10 to 20 picofarads (pfd). Objects of a larger capacity could mathematically be charged up to dangerous energy amounts if they were well insulated. Consequently, this must be taken into consideration.

Here’s an example. An object of a capacity equal to.001 mfd, insulated up to 25,000 volts, would charge up to near this value in approximately Уз of a second. This should equate out to.2 joules and can result in a painful electric shock, as anyone knows who has gotten across a charged capacitor.

An interesting phenomenon is that a human body on a dry day can accumulate a sufficient charge to cause a neon or fluorescent lamp to flash reasonably brilliantly when contact is made with a grounded object.

Table 22-1 Ian

ray and charge gun project parts list

Ref #





1 OK trimpot vertical



10-ohm. 4a – watt resistor (br-blk-blk)



IK, ‘A – wall resistor (br-blk-red)



10-megohm. 1-watt resistor (br-blk-bl)


10K pot and switch


100 mfd/25-volt vertical eleelroradial leads


.0022 mtd/50-volt green plastic cap (222)



.01 mfd/50-voll disk (103)


1000 mfd/25-volt vertical electrolytic capacitor



500 pfd. 10 Kv ccramic disk cap



.22 ml’d/250-voll metallized polypropylene


1 mfd. 25-volt vertical electro cap.


.1 mfd. 50-volt cap



If) Kv. 5-mrlliampcrc avalanche diodes




1N9I4 silicon diodes



PKL15 15-volt transient suppressor


1 N4937 last-switching 1 Kv diode


1RF540 mcieil-uAidt-bemicitndui lot field efjed ігапмнаг (MOSFET) 10220


555 DIP timer


Mini-switching translormer.7 Kv. lOnulliampere




fi Uh inductor: see text on assembly



Battery clip #22 with 12-inch leads


Fight AA cell battery pack


Pushbutton switch (normal open)


5 x 2.9 .1 grid perforated board: cui lo size per Figure 22-3


Optional PCB



10 x 2.9 * .063 polycarbonate (Lexan) plastic


12 inches

#20 vinyl red wire for positive input


12 inches

#20 vinyl black wire for negative input


12 inches

#20 vinyl green wire lor output ground to craft return


12 inches

#20 hus wire for light leads


12 inches

#24 hus wire for light leads



#6 ■ ‘s sheel metal screws



#6-32 * ‘/2-inch scrcws and nuts


1.5- v l-inch.063 AL plate fabricated as per Figure 22-4


#6 aluminum block lug


‘ 4-inch ring lug


Small alligator clip, duckbill type


15 v 2 L OD v ■/* wall PVC or clear plastic tube


*♦- * 1 ‘".—inch OD PVC schedule 40 lube


It) x.035 aluminum strip fabricated as shown



Г j – inch plastic caps fabricated as shown with holes


1 7/.^inch plastic cap

Oplional items



AA alkaline cells. 1 volts


Stainless steel


Carbon fiber hair lor high-output emitters


Experi merits

The following experiments are graphically shown in Figure 22-10. It is well known that high-voltage gen­erators usually consist of large, smooth-surface col­lectors where leakage is minimized, allowing these collective terminals to accumulate high voltages with less current demand. Leakage of a high voltage point is the result of the repulsion of similar charges to the extent that these charges are forced out into the air as ions. The rate of ions produced is a result of the charge density at a certain point. The magnitude of this quantity is a function of voltage and the recipro­cal of the angle of projection of the surface.

Note that Experiment A in the figure shows why lightning rods are sharply pointed. This causes the charges to leak off into the air before a voltage can be developed to create the lightning bolt.

It is now evident that to create ions it is necessary to have a high voltage applied to an object such as a needle or another sharp device used as an emitter. Once the ions leave the emitter, they possess a cer­tain mobility that allows them to travel moderate dis­tances, contacting and charging up other objects by accumulation and collision.

Experiment В shows St. Elmo’s Fire. This glow dis­charge occurs during periods of high electrical activ­ity. It is a corona discharge that is brush-like, luminous, and often may be audible when leaking from charged objects in the atmosphere. It occurs on ship masts, aircraft propellers, wings, and other pro­jecting parts, as well as on objects projecting from high terrain when the atmosphere is charged and a sufficiently strong electrical potential is created between the object and the surrounding air. Aircraft most frequently experience St. Elmo’s fire when fly­ing in or near cumulonimbus clouds, in thunder­storms, in snow showers, and in dust storms.

Experiment С shows a flashing fluorescent or neon light. This experiment demonstrates the mobil­ity of the ions and their ability to charge up the capacitance in a fluorescent light tube and discharge in the form of a flash. For this experiment, perform the following steps:

1. Have a friend carefully hold a 10- to 40-wait fluorescent light or neon-filled tube and turn off the lights. Allow your eyes to become accustomed to the total darkness.

2. Hold the end about 3 feet from the output of the ion ray gun and note the lamp flickering. Increase the distance and note the flicker rate decreasing. Under ideal conditions and total darkness, the lamp will flicker to a consider­able distance from the source. Use caution in total darkness. Hold the lamp by a glass enve­lope and touch the end pins to a water pipe, metal objects, and so on for best results and the brightest flash. The flash time is the equiv­alent of the equation T = CV/I, where T is the time between flashes and V is the flash break­down voltage characteristic of the tube. С is the inherent capacity in the tube and 1 is the equivalent of the amount of ions reaching the lamp and obviously decreases by the 5fi power of the distance.

Experiment D concerns ion charging. This demon­strates the same phenomena as in the previous exper­iment but in a different way Perform the following


1. Set up the unit as shown with a ground con­tact about! A of an inch from the charge sphere.

2. Note the spark occurring at the grounded con­tact as a result of the ion accumulation on the sphere. Increase the distance and note where the spark becomes indistinguishable.

3. Obtain a subject brave enough to stand a moderate electric shock (use caution as a per­son with a heart condition should not be near this experiment).

4. Have the subject stand on an insulating sur­face and then touch a grounded or large metal object. Shoes with rubber soles often work to an extent.

Experiment E shows an ion motor. This dramati­cally demonstrates Newton’s law of action producing a reaction. Escaping ions at a high velocity produce a reactive force. This is a viable means of propulsion for a spacecraft where hyper-velocities may approach the speed of light in this frictionless environment. Here you will work with a rotor and pin attached to a sphere via a lump of clay or something similar. A piece of folded paper will sometimes work.

Form a piece of #18 wire as shown. For maximum results, carefully balance and provide minimum fric­tion at the pivot point. There are many different methods of performing this experiment with far bel­ter •results. We leave this to the experimenter, bearing in mind that a well-made, balanced rotor can achieve amazing rpms. Note that as the rotor spins, giving off ions, one’s body hair will bristle, nearby objects will spark, and a cold feeling will persist.

Experiment F shows accumulated ions on the insulated spherical object, charging it theoretically to its open circuit potential (this in practice doesn’t occur due to leakage). The object accumulates a volt­age equal to V = it/с. Note that the unit is also directly grounded to increase this effect by producing the necessary electrical mirror image. The quantity Q (coulombs) of the charge is equal to CV where С equals the capacitance of the object and V equals the voltage charged. The energy W (joules) stored is equal to Чг capacitance X voltage squared (CVE2). The capacitance can be calculated by approximating the area of the object’s shadow projected directly beneath it and calculating the mean separation dis­tance. The capacitance is now approximately equal to.25 times the projected area in square inches, divided by the separation in inches.

Also regarding Experiment F, note that the IOD1 ion detector described in the Information Unlimited catalog is an excellent device and provides extraordi­nary sensitivity. The ESCOPE electroscope also is an excellent detector.

Experiment G demonstrates the transmission of energy via mobile ions. The objects used here are round spheres placed on glass bottles used as insula­tors. One object is grounded using thin, insulated wire. Another object discharges to the grounded object. Note that the grounding wire physically jumps at the time of discharge; these phenomena are the result of current producing a mechanical force. As the unit is brought closer, the length of the spark dis­charge and the discharge rate will increase. A dis­charge length of a half-inch may be obtainable with the unit 4 to 5 feet away. This demonstrates the potential effectiveness of the device.

Other experiments and uses would be materials and insulation dielectric breakdown testing, ozone production for odor control. X-ray power supplies, and capacitance charging using a Leyden jar. Other uses include the ignition of gas tubes and spark gaps, particle acceleration and atom smashers, Kirlian pho­tography, electrostatics, and ion generation. Other related material may easily be obtained on these sub­jects.

For example, an experiment on charge attraction demonstrates the force between unlike charges. Place an 8- X 11-inch piece of paper on a wooden desk or tabletop. Scan the paper with the unit approximately 2 to 3 inches from its surface. Note the paper pressing to the surface and becoming strongly attracted as indicated when attempting to lift it up.

An experiment on change repulsion would demonstrate the force between like chargcs. For example, place a small paper cup on top of the out­put. Obtain some small pieces of Styrofoam and place them in the cup. Note that some of the pieces fly out of the cup. Bring a grounded lead near the cup and note the reaction.

The effects on many materials can supply hours of interesting experiments, producing sometimes weird and bizarre phenomena. If you discover or happen to come up with any new experiments or data, contact us at www. amazingl. com.

Mechanical Assembly

To put the rest of the device together, follow these steps:

1. Create the main enclosure (EN1) from a 15- inch section of 2 ‘/«-inch schedule 40 PVC tub­ing, as shown in Figure 22-8. Note the 2 ‘/2-inch clearance holes accessing the retaining screw on LUG6 that are necessary to secure the emitter selection and passage of the leads to the HA1 handle section. You may want to use a piece of 2 ‘A-inch OD clear plaslic tub­ing with a 2-inch ID for this piece as il allows viewing of the circuit innards and can be impressive it your assembly is neat and orderly.

2. Build the handle section H A1 from a 6-inch piece of 1.9-inch schedule 40 PVC tubing.

Note the contour that is filed out to fit the curvature of the enclosure section is at a slight angle, providing a gun-like look. You will need a small hole for the passage of the BRK1 grounding lead and a hole for the pushbutton switch PBl. The hole will require recessing using a 3/4-inch wood bit because the width of the handle tubing is too wide to allow ade­quate clearance for the securing nut.

3. Create the bracket, BRK1, from a 10-inch length of ‘/’-inch.035 aluminum strip and shape as shown in Figure 22-8. Drill holes for the screws (SCRW1).

Battenes are inserted by removing cap CAP3 and sliding out battery holder BH1 and inserting 8 AA cells Attach the clip and reinstall. Always verily that the battenes are making proper contact with the end contacts of the holder as some, being new, are tight and do not allow the batteries to slide into place.

Mechanical Assembly

Figure 22-9 Ion ray and charge gun

4. Assemble everything as shown in Figure 22-9, reading all the data in the figure.

Operation and Rpplications

The unit’s output will be a soft, bluish flame forming at the emitter point. Ions are produced by charge concentration occurring at the end of the ion emitter. In order to be optimized, a return path to ground is necessary and is provided by a conductive hand grip connected to the common line of the circuit. The user now creates the ground return or electrical image necessary for enhancing the charge and ion mobility.

Control of the system is done via a pushbutton switch. This switch can easily be modified or changed to suit the user’s needs. A low-current, spring-loaded push button is shown.

Power to the unit is via an eight A A ccll battery pack fitted in the handle. This approach provides a neat compact unit. Rechargeable batteries may be used, utilizing a built-in charging circuit for those applications where constant use is required.

Your ion ray gun demonstrates an interesting phe­nomenon involving the mobility of charged particles. It is capable of producing the following effects:

• Inducing electrical shocks in other people

• Causing lamps to l licker and ignite without contact

• Causing paper to s»tick to surfaces, playing cards, and so on

• Causing motion of objects/ion motors

• Charging of objects to a high potential with­out comact

• Static electricity experiments

• Kirlian photography and ozone production

Mechanical Assembly

Figure 22-10 Experiments

• Strange and bizarre effects on certain materials

• Effects on painted and insulated surfaces that require darkness

• Effects on vapors, steam, and liquids

• Visual discharge of plasma forcc, corona, and so on

• Effect on elccironics equipment, TV. and com­puters—use caution

The device accomplishes all the previous effects without any direct connections other than the travel­ing of ions through the air. In order to demonstrate this effect, it is necessary to produce voltages of mag­nitudes that may be at a hazardous shock potential but at a relatively small amperage. Even though the device is battery operated with low-input voltage, it must be treated with caution. Use discretion when using, as it is possible for a person wearing insulated shoes to accumulate enough of a charge to produce a moderately painful or irritating shock when he touches a grounded object. The effect could cause injury to a person in weak physical condition (note

the warnings). The effects depend on many parame­ters. including humidity, leakage amounts, types of objects, and proximity.

The device can be used in two ways. When the out­put is terminated into a large, smooth-surface collec­tor such as a large metal sphere or oblate, it becomes a useful high-potential source capable of powering particle accelerators and other related devices. It may be built as a producer of negative or positive ions, demonstrating a phenomenon that is often regarded as a demerit when building and designing high-volt­age power supplies.

The device is then terminated into a sharp point where the leakage of positive or negative ions can occur. This will result in corona and the formation of nitric acid via the production of the ozone produced when combining with nitrogen and forming nitrous oxide, which, with water, produces this strong acid. The production of ions as leakage also robs the avail­able current from the supply

Construction Steps

Here you’ll begin construction of the electronic ion – generating power supply. The ion generator is shown built using a perforated circuit board, as this is the preferred approach for science projects because the system looks more homemade.

The perforated board approach is more challeng­ing. as the component leads must be routed and used as the conductive metal traces. We suggest that you closely follow the figures in this section and mark the actual holes with a pen before inserting the parts. Start from a corner, using it a reference, and proceed from left to right.

The printed circuit board (PCB) only requires that you identify the particular part and insert it into the respective marked holes. Soldering is now greatly simplified.

1. I ay out and identify all the parts and pieces. Verify them with the parts list, and separate the resistors as they have a color code to determine their value as noted.

2. Cut a piece of. 1 – inch grid perforated board to a size of 4.8 x 2.9 inches. Then cut a piece of 10- X 2.9- X.063-inch polycarbonate for the multiplier section. Locate and drill the holes as shown in Figure 22-3. An optional PCB is available from Information Unlimited.

3. Fabricate the metal heatsink for Ql from a piece of.063 aluminum at 1.5 x.75 inches, as shown in Figure 22-4.

4. Assemble LI as shown in Figure 22-4.

5. If you are building from a perforated board, insert components starting in the lower left – hand corner, as shown in Figure 22-5 and 22-6. Pay attention to the polarity of the capacitors with polarity signs and to all the semiconduc­tors. Route the leads of the components as shown and solder as you go, cutting away unused wires. Attempt to use certain leads as

Construction Steps



The assembly board is in two sections attached together by two outer 6-32 nylon screws and nuts. The middle hole is used to fasten the entire assembly to the base of the enclosure.

The circuit section is 4 8" x 2 9" x.1" perforated board. The high voltage polycarbonate section as shown is 10" x 2 9” x 063" thickness This is sufficient to accommodate 10 stages of multiplication Drill 063" holes in the perforated section and the polycarbonate section located as shown

Drill the three 125" holes in both sections far attaching together

Drill and drag the.125" slot as shown. This cutout and the enlarged holes are for mounting transformer T1 Using the optionally available printed circuit board will still require fabrication olthe Plexiglas board.

Hole diameters are not critical.

Always use the lower left – hand corner of the perf board for position reference.

Figure 22 3 Driver and multiplier board fabrication

Construction Steps

Figure 22-4 LI current feed inductor and heatsink bracket

Construction Steps

wire runs or use picces of llie included #22 bus wire. Follow the clashed lines on the assembly drawing as these indicate connection runs on the underside of the assembly board. The heavy dashed lines indicate use of thicker #20 bus wire, as this is a high-current discharge path and common ground connection.

6. Attach the external leads as shown in Figure

22- 6. Figures 22-7a and 22-7b arc enlarged views of the assembly board wiring.

7 Assemble the voltage multiplier as shown in Figure 22-5. The projcci shows 10 stages of voltage multiplication. Each stage consists of two capacitors (C20xx) and two diodes (D20xx).The stages can be reduced to a num­ber of 10 where you will obtain 7 to 10 Kv of output as each stage contributes this amount of additional voltage. Additional stages over 10 will produce more ions but will only gener­ate a higher potential when terminated into a smooth 4- to 5-inch terminal.

8. Double-check the accuracy of the wiring and the quality of the solder joints. Avoid wire

bridges, shorts, and close proximity to other cir­cuit components. If a wire bridge is necessary, sleeve some insulation onto the lead to avoid any potential shorts. See the note in Figure 22-5 showing smooth, globular solder joints for all high-voltage points on the multiplier board.

Testing Steps

Го run a test on your device, follow these steps:

1. Preset trimpot R1 to midrange and R10 to full clockwise (CW).

2. Obtain a 25-megohm, 20-watt high-voltage resistor. You can make this part by connecting 25 1 – megohm, 1-watt resistors in a series and sleeving them into a plastic tube. Then seal the ends with silicon rubber

3. Obtain a 12-volt, DC, 3-amp power converter or a 12-volt battery. You may use the 8 A A cells in the specified holder.

See Figures 22-7a and 22-7b and В for enlarged views of this figure

Thick dashed lines are direct connection runs beneath board of #20 bus wire (WR20BUSS) and are extended for the spark switch electrodes

. Thinner deshed lines are #24 bus wire (WR24BUSS) and component lesds wherever possible.

Tnangles are direct connection point junctions

, Solid black lines are external leads for input and output lines Use red (WR20R) for +12 input Use green (WR20G) for lifter connection Use black (WR20B) for com -12 input

Construction Steps

Figure 22-Б Wiring connections and external leads

Construction Steps

Figure 22-7Я Enlarged view of the assembly board

Construction Steps

Figure 22-7B Enlarged view of the high-voltage section of the assembly board

Construction Steps

Front view showing handle and bracket

Figure 22-8 X-ray view on circuit innards

4. Connect the input to the power converter and the midsection of the multiplier section to the 25-megohm load resistor. Connect oscillo­scope to drain pin of Q1 and set it to read 100 volts with a sweep time of 5 microseconds (usees).

5. Apply power and quickly adjust Rl to the wave shape shown in Figure 22-2. The spark gap may fire intermittently and should be respaced just lo the point of triggering. This is usually between 25 to 30 Kv.

6. Rotate RIO counterclockwise (CCW) and the input current smoothly drops almost to zero. This control varies the ratio of off to on time and nicely controls the system current to the ion emitters.

If you have access to a high-voltage probe meter, such as a B&K H V44, it will be possible to measure the direct output, noting 20 to 30 Kv across the 25- meg load resistor. This equates to over 30 watts! You will see a smooth change in output as R10 is varied.

Also note that the output voltage indicates only half the output value and is also heavily loaded by the load resistor along with the rest of the system. In actual usage in the intended ion and chargc gun. the input current will be adjusted low by the setting ol R10 as excessive power is not necessary.

Also, do not continually allow a hard spark dis­charge as circuit damage can occur.

Circuit Operation

Your ion ray gun requires a high DC voltage at a very low current. The driver power supply, as shown in Figure 22-2, generates over 600 micro-coulombs (600 micro-amps per second).This amount is a large num­ber of ions and is sufficient to induce shocks at a dis­tance, charge objects, and perform a host of bizarre electrical experiments. Even though the current is low, improper contact can result in a harmless yet painful shock.

The output voltage of the driver is obtained using a Cockcroft Walton voltage multiplier with 4 to 10 stages of multiplication. This method of obtaining high voltages was used in the first atom smasher ush­ering in the nuclear age. The multiplier section requires a high-voltage/frequency source for input supplied by transformer Tl, producing 6 to 8 Kv at approximately 30 kHz. You will note that this trans­former is a proprietary design owned by Information Unlimited. The part is small and lightweight for the power produced.

The primary winding of Tl is current driven through inductor LI and is switched at the desired frequency by field-effect transistor (FET) switch Ql. Capacitor C6 is resonated with the primary of Tl and zero-voltage switches when the frequency is properly adjusted. (This mode of operation is very similar to class E operation.) The timing of the drive pulses to Ql is therefore critical to obtain optimum operation.

The drive pulses are generated by a 555 timer cir­cuit (II) connected as an astable multivibrator with a repetition rate determined by the setting of trimpot (Rl) and a fixed-value timing capacitor (C2). II is now turned on and off by a second timer, 12. This timer operates at a fixed frequency of 100 Hz but has an adjustable ‘’duty cycle” (ratio of on to off time) determined by the setting of control pot RIO. II is now gated on and off with this controlled pulse, pro­viding an adjustment of output power.

Even though the output is short circuit protected against a continuous overload, constant hard discharg­ing of the output can cause damage and must be lim­ited. A pulse current resistor, R7, helps to protect the circuit from these potential damaging current spikes.

Figure 22-2 Ion rav gun schematic

Circuit Operation



I Output should be terminated into a 25- megohm, 25-watt, high-voltage resistor і for load test Conned scope to test point TPX Adjust Rt to the wave shape shown with unit connected to a 12-voH. 3- amp supply

Output voltage should be 30 Kv, indicating a current of over 1 ma Input current will be 2 5 amps with a power output in excess of 30 watts1

Power input “enable” is controlled by switch SI that is part of control pot RIO. A trigger switch (PBl) ВОЭГС) RSSEITlbly StEPS

allows instantaneous control. The actual power is a

battery pack placed in the handle that consists of 8 To assemble the perforated circuii board, follow

AA cells in a suitable holder. A virtual ground is pro – these steps:

duced by user contact to the circuit return via a

metallic probe built into the handle.