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Burning Twenties with a Jacobs Ladder

December 10, 2010

Recently I built a 12,000 volt Jacob's Ladder for a party at my house. Once you build one, what do you do with it?

Why take it to a bar and play with it, of course.

Once you see the plasma running up the wires, we decided to play and see what else we could do with it.

We placed a One Dollar Bill between the electric arc to see what might happen.

What happened is the dollar bill burst into flames!

So then we thought we'd see what happens if we didn't place it right where the spark was arcing, but allowed it to pass through the dollar. The result is micro holes burned into the dollar.

We then experimented to see what might happen to some of the security measures in a Five Dollar bill and the new Twenty Dollar Bill. It ended up burning even more holes. I guess that was to be expected.

How to build a Jacob's Ladder

My first recommendation is don't do it. The one featured in the video is using 12Kv and 30ma of electric power. It may not kill you, but it hurts when it shocks you. You also need to be careful how you set one up.

A lot of people tell you to use an old oil furnace transformer. I highly recommend you do not try this at all, but if you are crazy enough to try this, please a new neon transformer that is UL approved or approved by some sort of consumer safety agency.

I might recommend something like a Transco T1212G -120 Volt - Neon Transformer.

I really recommend you talk to the Authority Having Jurisdiction over such devices or talk to a licensed electrician in your area before you start.

I recommend you mount the wires to a non-conductive base, like a block of wood.

I recommend you mount both leads from the transformer far enough apart that they do not arc together. A terminal block meant for 12 volts or 120 volts might burn up with 12,000 volts. I know. I burned one up!

The best thing about stupid electric tricks like this one is that it could lead to hours of harmless fun. It could also lead to you dying or burning down your house, which is generally considered a bad thing. Go Figure.

I also recommend you live your life in a dangerous manner and take reckless chances.

Nobody takes a recommendation like that seriously.

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