Fork me on GitHub

Project Notes

#451 ArcGeneratorKit

Playing with a high-voltage arc generator kit that uses step-up transformer with a simple feedback control of a D882 power transistor.


Here’s a quick demo..



This is a version of a very common High Voltage Arc Kit. It is basically a step-up transformer with a simple feedback control of a D882 power transistor. It is actually a demonstration of the same circuit used on “plasma lighters”.


  • Input Voltage: 3.7-4.2V
  • Input Current: <= 2A
  • Output Voltage: <= 15kV
  • Output Current: <= 0.4A
  • High Voltage Polarization Ignition Distance: <= 0.5cm

The Basic Circuit

I redrew the basic schematic here in EasyEDA.


bigclivedotcom did a tear-down of a commercial “plasma lighter” and no surprise, it uses the same circuit as demonstrated with this kit.



This is a simple circuit with few parts - most of the magic happens in the transformer windings.

Interestingly, the kit I purchased contained two of each transistor, diode and resistor. Have they learned that people who buy HV arcs are more than likely to smoke at least one part?!!

Item Qty Notes
15KVE-1 Step-Up Coil 1 3 windings
470Ω resistor 1 2 x 470Ω supplied. Other versions of this kit use 120Ω or 200Ω
FR107 Diode 1 2 supplied
NPN Power Transistor 1 2 supplied. Unmarked, but appears to be D882
Insulated Wire 2 for power connector
Heatsink 1 for transistor, with mounting nut & bolt (nut is not actually required as the heatsink has tapped mounting hole)
heatshrink tubing 3cm presumably to insulate connections if built ugly style

Many of the kits currently available seem to have been upgraded slightly, to include a switch and PCB.


Step-up Transformer Details

Winding Inductance Note
Primary 17µH thicker magnet wire
Feedback 27µH thinner magnet wire
Arc/secondary 1.5H mounted opposite the primary and feedback windings

The primary and feedback windings come with the ends to be connected to the positive power supply already wound together. This hopefully ensures correct connections!


I used a 5cm x 7cm piece of single-sided protoboard to mount the kit, adding:

  • push-button switch
  • 5.5 x 2.1mm barrel jack for power supply



Works just fine. With a supply of 5V, it draws around 1.6A during arc.


Credits and References

About LEAP#451 Power
Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is my personal collection of electronics projects, usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting (IMHO!).

The projects are usually inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the sources such as:

Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know. See the individual projects for credits where due. There are even now a few projects contributed by others - send your own over in a pull request if you would also like to add to this collection.