Danger in wireless flourescents?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by kcarring, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    Does anyone have any solid knowledge of a specific study in the dangers of wireless fluorescent lighting. Everything I've read, though not specific, makes me think it is more or less equivalent to a small radio station - however - it is in the megahertz range (I think, transistor is a 2N2222 for one example).


    Running (9) 1 watt fluorescents on 6.04v / 132mA excited wirelessly:
    http://img689.imageshack.us/f/mytowerrunning9lights.jpg/

    Example is 6v. Could have been AA 1.5v / jouleringer too, I've done that as well, with higher amp draw of course.

    If I went to 12v, I'd be using a IRF 830.

    Do you guys think this is harmful. The only thing I've read is that EM is EM. But what about the frequencies. Cheers.

    Thanks
     
  2. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    I can't make out what is in the picture.

    What are the bulbs lit, and do you have a schematic of the supply?
     
  3. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    Sorry bout that...

    The driver, at the moment is extremely simple, and i was not really referring to the overall safety of the electronics, per say... for example overheating of the transister - that kind of thing. All of those things can be addressed invidually, ...

    I was referring more to possible health risk due to operating a wireless power device to begin with. In essence, it is a low voltage (by comparison) overly simplified Tesla coil. So, I suppose it'd be the same as asking "If someone left a Tesla coil running, is it posing a health risk". I am aware of the small amount of ozone created by such devices, but I'm not overly worried about that a whole bunch cause if I do use this, it'd be in a greenhouse, not my residence.

    To clarify what I have going on: it's very simple in its most primitive configuration. You have a transistor, in my case a 2N2222 (but lots work, MPSA06 is most popular) with its base connected to the bottom of the towers secondary coil, (the step up tower coil itself), the emitter to ground, the collector to one side of the primary inductor coil, the other lead from the primary to positive - and the topside lead off the secondary tower coil hanging outer space connected to nothing. The bulbs are not wired in at all, they fire wirelessly and in the case of LED's, they run wirelessly too, when grouped parallel: terminated with an avramenko plug made from 2 diodes. 9 bulbs, fluorescent, nothing special about them.

    Thats about it! So, 6v in (or 12v in some experiments) - in my little one I have 5 wraps on a pancake style coil for the primary, and quite a lot on the tower at least 200 hundred. Mine is very small by comparison to others.

    MY unit has not been tuned to resonance but thats what most do to optimize it better. The frequencies are usually in the 2-5 megahertz range.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  4. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    213
    I don't know about actual health risks but I think you'd have the FCC on to you pretty quick if you were "just broadcasting in the 2 to 5 MHz range" as you will effectively jam WWVB @ 2.5 MHz and @ 5 MHz as well as a decent portion of the 3.5 - 4.0 MHz amateur band so you might have a bunch of angry radio amateurs coming after you!! :eek:
     
  5. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    Other than shock hazard, there shouldn't be any issue. Though I'd like to see the schematic out of curiosity. Sounds like a Tesla coil with a transistor hung off of it?

    If Radio waves were harmful, there's a lot more to worry about than the fact you can light up fluorescent bulbs under power lines or near radio transmitters or next to a tesla type coil. Good example is cell phones.

    So if there is any alleged damage (which I doubt, as some people use DIY electro-therapy and claim great results), we'll all find out about it. Odds are, we'll get in a car accident first.
     
  6. Fleagle

    New Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    3
    0
    Is this similar in nature to the Slayer Exciter Circuit using a 2n3055?If so,be forewarned,this thing puts out some NASTY R.F.!Ran mine at 18 volts and could easily light a 26w CFL to full brilliance @ several feet.Problem is,every piece of metal in the vicinity acts as an antenna.Found this out the hard way while reaching for a steel rule on my work bench.Magic smoke from my fingertips!
     
  7. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    You folks are confusing RF waves with electric fields. A Tesla Coil is not broadcasting, it is generating an extremely intense electric field, which will in turn light a florescent bulb by making the extremely low pressure gas a plasma.

    There is a relationship between RF and electric fields, but a Tesla coil separates them as far as it can, mostly though the generation of really extreme voltages.

    A high power RF transmitter will light a fluorescent too, because ½ of the RF energy is electric and ½ is magnetic. The electric portion of the fields tend to be on the ends of a resonant antenna, while the magnetic portion is in the middle of the antenna.
     
  8. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    6,357
    718
    True, Bill.

    I lumped them together for simplicity's sake.

    Also, when I take a 40W phosphor tube out to a source and it lights up fairly brightly, that doesn't mean I am "Capturing" 40 Watts of power.


    Labels on bulbs aren't useful, and often cause people to believe they are getting more power out of something than they are putting in.
     
  9. Fleagle

    New Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    3
    0
    Isn't any magnetic pulse at any given frequency (below microwaves)essentially R.F.?
     
  10. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    This is because there is no truth in marketing. Worst thing in computers is when marketers were allowed to say, "As fast as...". Bogus, and false advertising. Same thing with stereo amps and speakers. It comes as no surprise that lamps are no different. Look for lumen values, those are the true measurement.

    Magnetic pulse, no. RF is a 50%/50% mix of both electric and magnetic, this creates a photon. It is hard to separate the two entirely, but you can accent one over the other. The thing that is lighting the lamp is pure electric field, not magnetic.

    Microwaves are also firmly RF. All of them are photons, no matter what the frequency. It is possible to have a pure magnetic field and a pure electric field, but they tend to be static. When they are alternating things get complicated.

    BTW, anything that can light up a florescent lamp from the electric field can zap electronics, such as watches or cell phones. The field is generating voltages where there usually are none.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  11. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    In all fairness and honesty I have no idea if this is the case or not, my comment was based purely on speculation given the average set of frequency specs for these given transistors, so whether or not the electricity is actually being broadcast at that same frequency, or not... I don't know. Perhaps I am confusing transistor switching speeds with broadcast frequency, but I am kind of assuming they are both part in parcel; the same thing.

    Correct. 2N3055's were used initally but most people have stopped using them, and have favored the MPSA06 for smaller units like mine, or the (I think) IRF840 for higher voltage units. 12v is pretty strong, indeed, anything over that is noticeably "shock hazardous" - and like you say, has a tendency to excite lots of objects. Not too many people I have heard of are going into the 18-32volt range. Not a whole lot of reason to i don't think other than "fun" - as they would probably draw a fair amount of power. Mine is not optimized, but still never draws more than 142 milliamps. Other experiment have shown to light little fluorescents at as little as 10-15 mA (to some degree). Full brightness of a typical (nominal) 13 watt curly-Q CFL can be done at 150 mA, 1.5v AA when combined with an compact trigger transformer from a disposable camera, a supercap, and a bifilar coil. This particular setup is peculiarly effective, and the guy who built it has really been at this. This lamp (joule ringer) driver works very well, and makes you scratch your head. He never claims over unity, but the collapsing spike from the break down of the magnetic field at end cycle is certainly tuned nice.

    They are not overunity or even always highly efficient - but you do get wireless usage of the lamps, and unusual load scenarios. 9 lamps on 6v @ under 100 milliamps is not a normal lighting scenario. Th first quick argument is "Yeah, but the bulbs arent as bright" - which can be true. However, when optimized they are "nearly as bright" - and if I have 9 lamps down a dark path, over a 180 ft stretch - thats probably better than a bright one, lighting up the first 6 ft of the trail. :) "Dimming" is not a normal option, with CFL's (or so the packages say) either. Once tuned, resonating properly and optimized - sometimes you'll find that even the transistor doesn't heat up. So while the tower may not be the most efficient approach, you certainly do not have a hot old ballast overpowering your lamps. When you lose in "brilliance" - sometimes - you gain in flexibility of arrangement, for example a particularily "ill" plant, that day, can easily be given more light by shifting a lamp closer to the plant. You may move that, and several other lamps, several times a day or week - not a situation typical to normal CFL usage in a greenhouse. That is the benefit, as I see it. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they illuminate dead lamps (as deemed in a ballast setup) - however, you'd lose lumens and it wouldn't be "grow effective".

    My small unit, for example, the "live wire" does not produce "visible" plasma, like some, but will give your fingertip a little sharp "prick" kind of shock, which I don't do on purpose of course, not that it hurts really, but.. any shock is not a good shock given our body is electrical in nature. A minor one could stop your heart, I think if given the right characteristics.

    Here is a pic of a slayer exciter (12v) by jiffcoil.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/34488155@N03/4933405633/

    I don't have a big desire to create really big units, I'd rather have a few small ones.

    Receiver towers are also popular to add. Or one wire power transmission from the top of the exciter, to where-ever you want the light. It's also popular to combine an exciter light circuit with a Bedini charge circuit and a Tesla switch in a 4 battery arrangement for extended run time. The fluorescent bulbs, when dim, brighten up with you touch them. I suspect if one lead (one pin) of the tube was sent to true ground, it'd glow brighter. If you turn on a radio beside it you can hear the transistor oscillating, confirmed by (if) variable control is added, you can hear the frequency change as the lights dim and brighten.

    Thanks for all your comments!

    So if this is not RF, rather, if it is pure electric field... the waves... themselves are they hazardous to your brain - ignoring the "shock" scenario for a moment? That's my real question...

    Thanks. Nice Forum. Look forward to learning lots here!
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  12. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    Thanks Bill. I don't doubt that really. I wouldn't want someone with a pacemaker around it, that's for darn sure. I will say with my little tower, during experimentation it sat beside (right beside) my cell phone for 18 hrs of run time. And my moniter. And my PC. The only strange thing I noticed was my PC speaker system let off a beep now and again. I suspect it was the PC's "bell" (I don't hear it much - so I'm not sure.) Do you know what I mean? The old ctrl-G PC belltone.

    Thanks again.
     
  13. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    <shrug> I said can, not will. An electric field is measured in volts / inch (or if you are in a metric environment, V/cm). In the neighborhood of an intense electric field there can be significant voltages, and all it takes is a couple of volts in the wrong place. Some components can be very sensitive. Some modern LEDs can blow if it is back biased with 5V or more, for example. It is the PIV number in their spec sheet.

    Overunity is a very unwelcome subject here at AAC. I would strongly suggest avoiding it. This site is about science, and we have had some very colorful people to whom science was not their favorite subject raise a ruckus. Worse yet, we have had the scammers try to peddle their wares. It doesn't work well when you fall into a crowd of techie nerds who really understand the subject and can see through techno babble. We have all education levels here, up to and beyond PhDs.
     
  14. russ_hensel

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2009
    818
    47
    I hate to contradict Bill_Marsden but as I understand E and M you cannot have an oscillating electric field without a magnetic field as well ( per maxwell ). And Tesla coils are definately oscillating ( in the RF range ). I believe they are strong radio wave sources.
     
  15. tom66

    Senior Member

    May 9, 2009
    2,613
    213
    Simple way to test is to bring an AM radio next to it. If you hear very loud noise, you have a big problem.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  16. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535

    Didn't say you don't have radio, but not at the signal strength it would be if it were designed to transmit. How many radio stations spit lightning? That alone should tell you something is wrong with your theory. The field strengths are asymmetrical. In a Tesla coil the electric field is predominant, the magnetic part is very week. A photon is both magnetic fields and electric fields in lockstep (coherence).

    How about AC electromagnets? The kind that will pick up aluminum? Again, asymmetrical field strengths. Using AC on the electromagnet induces a secondary magnetic field in the non ferrous material, allowing them to couple magnetically.

    With a true transmitter and antenna as much energy is converted to RF as possible, anything else is an inefficiency. With RF you don't see either of the effects that exist with a Tesla Coil or AC electromagnet, with the exception of making a florescent lamp glow from the electric part of the field.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  17. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    With all due respect, no overunity was claimed, and in fact, it was clearly stated that there were no claims of such, explicitly reminded in fact, and the question was clearly not one of potential, COP, nor input vs. output - so I'm not sure what your getting at? Maybe your overunity alarm is ringing, but it clearly wasn't from my comments. I tried my best to insure I wasn't trying to go there, as I have a concern I had hoped to address, and I'm not hear to ridicule or insult anyone's intelligence. I have already noticed overunity is not a welcomed discussion, to the point of Senior members driving threads to insure that, before help is offered. Fair enough, it's your guys' forum! I was hoping to make it clear that I find the usefulness in these circuits to be their ability to spread potential over a long distance (if even dimmed), and operate wirelessly - compared to normal circuitry - that I find on the shelves. In an attempt to make sure I wasn't going to be lectured about The Laws of Conservation of Energy, I made my best attempt to clarify, that: The question was about health risks.

    It appears to have become a bit of a debate about which types of energy are emitted.

    Is this helpful in deciding the risk?

    For example, does anyone see an inherently higher level of risk associated with emitting potential than broadcasting RF?

    Perhaps I should have added that this would be employed in the middle of nowhere on rural property, over 100 acres - not in a condo. I highly doubt at a few volts, the "jamming effect" would present a problem miles away - but maybe I don't understand that end of it...
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  18. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    Thanks Tom, that was the type of response i was hoping for. Can you elaborate...

    The "problem" you speak of, do you mean a "health problem" or a radio jamming problem.

    Thanks again.
     
  19. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    An RF source emits ionizing radiation. While the level at which harmful effects is not precisely set, it is taking a chance for some harm - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation

    The transmission of energy through RF is not particularly efficient, especially when compared with wires.
     
  20. kcarring

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 22, 2011
    38
    0
    Thank-you Beenthere.

    If it agreed that the Slayer Towers open circuit and optimization towards locale ionization come at the cost of efficiency and health risks, then I will work towards keeping the loop close and just using the high voltage to obtain the distances desired. I can live without the wireless aspect, it was handy, but if it's not a good idea, why bother. I now also wonder about all these wireless power products hitting the market. I mean the "charging pads". Perhaps they are shielded better, or maybe they employ lower frequencies and voltages, not so harmful to us.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
Loading...