#6 FAQ - Hot wire, cold wire, ground, plus, minus?

If you have a question about this topic, the answer is probably in here!
Post Reply
User avatar
Richard Hull
Site Admin
Posts: 10904
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

#6 FAQ - Hot wire, cold wire, ground, plus, minus?

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Feb 04, 2014 3:46 pm

All fusors, even demo fusors, demand the use of a high voltage, DC power supply. All such supplies are or must be grounded!

All DC power supplies have two major output polarities. A plus and a minus polarity. How the supply is constructed, internally, determines a number of things electrically and in verbal description. Let us start with some definitions.

1. DC or direct current - The flow of current in a closed electrical circuit that flows in only one direction as it delivers energy to a load within that circuit.

2. AC or Alternating current - A flow of current in both directions that alternates direction as it delivers energy to a load in a closed circuit. The output polarity alternates, at any one point, between being positive and negative. For house current, this alternation or change of polarity occurs 60 times per second.

3. Ground - An electrical term which usually refers to a safe condition on a conductor, metal chassis or electrical tie point where there is zero potential so far as all other points in or around active electrical equipment and circuitry is concerned. It is the ultimate safe harbor in the electrical world.

All modern house wiring carry two conductors a white wire, (neutral) and a black wire, (hot), to form a circuit to deliver electrical power to an appliance or load. A third green conductor is also there that is a ground wire. This electrical ground is connected at the home's fuse or breaker panel to a long metal rod driven into the earth. Thus the term, "ground connection".

Traditionally, all electrical appliances or things with metal chassis that take power from the wall outlet have this ground wire connected to their metal frames of chassis. In this manner, if a hot part of any circuitry within the appliance comes loose and contacts the metal case, it will short out the hot wire to ground blowing a fuse or tripping a breaker. Anyone holding the metal will not be killed or shocked as the hot wire is shorted out and no high voltage can exist on the metal surface. This concept of ground is critical to the fusioneer.

4. Positive output or positive voltage - An arbitrary source of directed electrical potential, (DC), that in the study of "current flow", seeks to form a closed electrical circuit in the transfer of energy through a load to a corresponding negative or minus DC potential.

5. Negative output or negative voltage - An arbitray source of potential difference, (DC), which, in the study of "current flow", acts as a return path for electrical current elements from a positive voltage terminal through a load to provide electrical energy within a closed circuit.

6. Hot wire or hot terminal - A term used to describe the active or electrically dangerous terminal or wire leading out of a power supply that is above ground potential. This wire or terminal can be either positive or negative in a DC power supply based on internal connections within the DC power supply itself.

7. Cold wire - a rarely used term today, but it could be a ground lead or grounded wire, or in an ungrounded, low voltage supply, the return wire in a circuit.

Note!!**Virtually every very high voltage DC supply is housed in a metal chassis and has only one "hot", (output), terminal. The high voltage return lead is connected to the chassis along with ground. Whether the hot terminal is positive or negative is determined by which polarity of the high voltage is connected to the chassis ground!!! the fusor demands that the hot high voltage lead be of a negative or minus potential with reference to ground/chassis metal. This means the positive DC return is connected to the chassis ground.



.............How all this relates to a fusor...........

A fusor high voltage DC supply must have its positive output securely grounded to the electrical mains and any chassis that contains it. The "hot" or dangerous high voltage output of the fusor DC power supply must be of a negative or minus DC polarity!

A fusor has a central grid. This highly insulated grid must be connected to the negative or minus hot lead of the fusor power supply. The fusor's outer grid or metal chamber walls must be grounded to electrical ground, which, in effect, is the grounded positive output of the fusor's high voltage supply. This polarity is critical to having a fusor function properly.

The normal convention in most all power supplies, be they low voltage or high voltage, is that the positive output is hot and the minus is grounded. Such hard wired supplies, as found or purchased, WILL NOT work as a fusor power supply!

Most fusioneers manufacture their own "negative hot" DC supplies or they internally alter a conventional positive hot supply using a full and advanced electrical knowledge of how to accomplish this critical task, safely.

It is not the goal of this FAQ to teach you how to build a high voltage, negative hot supply, Other FAQs show this.
It is not the goal to instruct you on how to alter a positive hot supply to turn it into a negative hot supply, either.

I hope you now understand a bit better the polarity requirements of a fusor supply and the need for a firm ground connection to the fusor body or metal shell and your part in making sure that your installation is safe and workable.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Post Reply