Question about wiring a negative ion generator as a static grass applicator

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
I've seen lots of videos on static grass applicators and how to DIY them. The only problem is everyone of the videos so far has people using a negative ion generator with only a single high voltage wire coming out of it.
They then connect the ground wire to the ground for the power supply feeding the ion generator.

I happen to have a negative ion generator that has two high voltage wires so I'm a little confused about how to wire it up to apply grass statically.

Would I use both high voltage wires to connect to the mesh for dispensing/charge the grass, and then ground it where everyone else does?

Or would I use one high voltage wire connected to the mesh, and the second high voltage wire as the "Ground" that would be put in the glue?

Only marking on the generator I have is D1BXH-YS30. It's from a Caruso hair curler.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,702
I happen to have a negative ion generator that has two high voltage wires so I'm a little confused about how to wire it up to apply grass statically.
It's from a Caruso hair curler
I'd be a little worried doing it with a mains powered one like from the hair curler. But with the one you have you would need to figure which lead is the negative and which is the positive before going any farther.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
Oh, that's a really good point that I actually kind of overlooked. I guess with two high voltage wires one would be negative wouldn't it.
that also answers my question too though........except, how could I possibly figure out which one was negative.?

The other thing that comes to mind is that you can get zapped by getting too close to either of those wires individually.

Whare are you concerns about using a 120v model? It's all I really have available, was free, and I can't seem to find the Oatley one that just about everyone seems to use. I tried to buy directly of from them and their shipping page doesn't seem to like my Canadian address. I emailed them but no response.

Can't seem to find any available on amazon either, at least shipping to Canada. I haven't tried eBay, but realistically, I'd like to spend as little money as possible as this damn virus has me out of a job :/
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
6,105
The possible shock hazard from a mains connection may be valid, or not. A low-power isolation transformer ends the problem there. If you can examine the inside of the generator circuit the diodes will point towards the positive connection, implying the other is the negative. If you are unable to see the components then the process gets more complex.
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
6,105
yeah it's a potted circuit, so I can't see anything on the board.
If the circuit is potted so that nothing can be seen clearly then a SWAG would point to the terminal farthest from the input as being the negative output of a negative ion generator power supply module. So you could use that terminal in a temporary setup and see if the results are what you want. Or locate and borrow a super high voltage voltmeter.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
not sure what you mean by SWAG?
I don't t hink I can find a high voltage meter....not going to buy one just for this one thing lol.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
LOL, yeah looks like it.

What I'm wondering about is what the difference is between the two types of generators.
The ones that have only a single high voltage wire vs the ones with two high voltage wires.

The single wire models are powered up and negative ions shoot out of the single high voltage wire without having to arc?

the double wire model is meant to arc between the two points?

How do these honestly differ in functionality.


Secondly, would it really matter which wire on my generator is negative? As long as one of the wires goes to the screen and the other one goes to the glue/table/etc, would it not still work the same?

The object is to provide opposing charges to the different things right? so lets say the positive high voltage wire is connected to the glue, and the negative wire is connected to the scree, it's still going to charge the grass particles opposite of the glue right, so the grass should still stand up?
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,702
The single wire models are powered up and negative ions shoot out of the single high voltage wire without having to arc?

the double wire model is meant to arc between the two points?

How do these honestly differ in functionality.
There should never be an arc. The single wire is effectively the one side of the circuit with the screen being the other. Instead of your watching videos, read this it uses one of the battery powered fly swatters that are pretty cheap,and walks you through it step by step. https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/build-grass-applicator-model-train-scenery-2381741

The object is to provide opposing charges to the different things right? so lets say the positive high voltage wire is connected to the glue, and the negative wire is connected to the scree, it's still going to charge the grass particles opposite of the glue right, so the grass should still stand up?
No. If the polarity is reversed the grass won't go to the train layout, but just clog up the screen of the applicator.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
I have one of those fly swatters....seen it in action and honestly it kind of sucks. The grass didn't really stand up at all.

As for the arcing.... I'm a bit lost then as to what this device does that I have.
While it was in the curler the tips were in a plastic housing that kept them close enough to arc.
The steam would rise through a channel and pass over this arc to ionise the steam or whatever marketing bull$%^# it's supposed to do.

I'll get a video of this thing shortly. I'm going crazy in quarantine wanting something to do and it's not easy to just go buy stuff now :/
 

MisterBill2

Joined Jan 23, 2018
6,105
LOL, yeah looks like it.

What I'm wondering about is what the difference is between the two types of generators.
The ones that have only a single high voltage wire vs the ones with two high voltage wires.

The single wire models are powered up and negative ions shoot out of the single high voltage wire without having to arc?

the double wire model is meant to arc between the two points?

How do these honestly differ in functionality.


Secondly, would it really matter which wire on my generator is negative? As long as one of the wires goes to the screen and the other one goes to the glue/table/etc, would it not still work the same?

The object is to provide opposing charges to the different things right? so lets say the positive high voltage wire is connected to the glue, and the negative wire is connected to the scree, it's still going to charge the grass particles opposite of the glue right, so the grass should still stand up?
Certainly that is correct, but one polarity may be more effective than the other, which is why I suggested try and see what works after giving my guess.
And the logic behind the guess is that whichever output is intended for use, the other output would be much closer to the power supply connections, or, as mentioned by others, the output return may be commoned with one of the power supply wires. That is often done.
AND, the device in the youtube video does not appear to have any polarity indications on the two wires, leading me to suspect that it is just a high voltage supply, not a DC high voltage supply. Hence no polarity.
 
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Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
I wonder if I could figure out if one of these wires is commoned with the power supply wire by testing continuity.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
Is one of these what your "ion generator" came from? http://carusosteamroller.com/

If so I couldn't on their site see anything saying it had anything to do with negative ions. What you have might only be a steam generator.
It's from one of these
https://www.amazon.ca/Caruso-C97958-ION-Steam-Hairsetter/dp/B0002JKPA4

I don't think they even make it anymore tbh, and I'm fully willing to accept that it may have been some marketing BS, but this particular model is touted as ionic. the ones without the ionizing feature simply have a heater in them and no "arc-y device thingy"
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
so I tried this thing out......and I have some doubts, or I'm doing something wrong.
I got a hold of some very tiny static grass so I could test this.

Using some alligator clips I connected one of the high voltage wires to a small nail stuck in a small 2" x 2" x 1/2" block of styrofoam.
The other high voltage wire was connected to the metal frame of a strainer I have made of screen, like what's used in the videos.

I placed a 1/4" sized drop of mod podge on the styrofoam block, and put a small amount of grass in my strainer.
I fired up the ioniser and shook the grass out on to the glue.

The grass didn't seem to stand up at all.

I swapped the high voltage wires around and tried again and as far as I can tell the grass only barely stood up this time.


So I have some doubts that this is an ioniser, or I'm using it wrong.

If I could find a 12kV or higher ioniser module somewhere in Canada preferably, or the US that ships to Canada I'd jump on it at this point.
Can't seem to find the right one, but I would rather prefer a 12V model at this point, if I actually have to bite the bullet and buy one.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,702
Ebay is full of them, but they are shipping from China. The biggest reason I don't think the module you have is an ion generator is in your video. The slight "ticking" sound it makes. Ion generators are just a high voltage low amperage transformer. And arcing isn't what makes ions it's the "corona" from a high voltage.

You said you have one of those flyswatters, did you try to make one of these using it? Like the link I gave you.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
I didn't want to order from ebay if it could be avoided. I found a shop in the US that carries a 12kV model so I ordered that.

I didn't try with the fly swatter, the alcohol got the best of me lastnight lol.

So when it arrives I'll at least have the proper ion generator.

I'm not surprised to see the hair curler unit not living up to it's advertised properties.... I mean, they just have to sell the product right? so say whatever gets women to buy them I guess.
There's probably a reason that model seems discontinued and that the website looks basic as shit.
It didn't used to be.
 

Thread Starter

GRNDPNDR

Joined Mar 1, 2012
537
Another question though:
On the woodland scenics grass applicator you can see that instead of having a wire run to metal mesh that the grass falls through, there is instead a spiked metal plate that sits above the mesh and makes no contact with it.

Would this be a better method to charge the grass than having a wire connected to the mesh directly? because I'd like to avoid running a wire to the mesh if possible, that way it would allow me to make multiple covers with different sized meshes.
 
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