I recently watched an interesting EEVBlog video about Villard Cascade Voltage Doublers. I have had some neon tubes (NE-2) in my parts collection for a few years now. I have always wanted to drive them from a relatively low voltage DC supply. I decided to spend the afternoon/evening designing a circuit to drive the neon tube from a 12V supply.
|The Glowing NE-2 Neon Tube|
The first step was to design an oscillator. I don't own a waveform generator yet so I decided to build up a simple 555 timer based 50% duty cycle oscillator. I used values from the datasheet application note directly and had an oscillator running within minutes.
I attached an H-Bridge to the output and had an inverting waveform on my scope at 20Vpp. This is a good starting point for the voltage multiplier array.
|Oscillator and H-Bridge|
|3 Stages of Voltage Multiplication, 58.5V!!|
|5 Stages of Multiplication, 93.8V!|
|First Glowing Tube|
I never captured a schematic of this, I just doodled a few notes on a piece of paper and started building.
|Artsy, Overexposed Picture. Lots of vibrant colors :]|
Thanks for reading!