Jacobs Ladder

Jacobs Ladder

Version 2.0-

I recently got a good deal on a new neon transformer and decided to remake the Jacobs Ladder from several years ago.

The steps and parts required to make one of these are essentially the same.

The supplies needed for this is:
-10 KV 30ma Neon sigh transformer
-2 pieces of solid copper wire, I used about 4 feet of #8 Copper grounding Wire
-A few nuts and bolts and some wood screws
-1 2×4- This will be cut to make the base. I made 5 pieces to make the base.
-plastic tube to cover the spark.

I took a few photos of the parts that I used to complete this project.

You can create the base anyway you want to meet your needs. I made a simple base that is 3 boards crossing 2 smaller cuts to make a square and a stand-off to hold the wires. I used wood screws to attached all the wood together.

I Then drilled out several holes in the stand-off to support the wires and connect them to the transformer. The transformer is mounted on one of the cross boards to keep it secure. The two terminals from the transformer and secured to bolts using washers and a nut. I secured the wires using the same bolts by twisting the wire around the bolts and installing a washer and a locking nut to tighten everything down. This is the basic construction of the ladder.

The Last thing you will need to do is to test the ladder and adjust the wires to get a clean and stable spark to climb from the bottom to the top. You will want the bottom to be close together to allow the spark to start and widen as it climbs the length of wire. This adjustment will take a few tries to get it right. Once it is correct you will see the spark form at the bottom and move to the top.

Disclaimer: This is provided for informational purposes only, working with these HIGH VOLTAGES can be extremely dangerous, and should not be done with out proper safety precautions. Misuse can result in Injury, Fire, or Death. If you plan to make anything like this make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing help you.

Version 1.0-

This information is from the first build of the Jacobs Ladder that I constructed.

15Kv Jacobs Ladder
For halloween 2010 I wanted a Large Jacobs ladder for the sound and effect that it produces. The results were very good and it performed all night with out any issues. It was connected to a DMX relay to trigger it in the show, and it was programmed to turn on when needed.


The supplies needed for this is:
-2 pieces of solid copper wire (about 3 foot each)
-Assorted Nuts and bolts
-3 sections of wood to make the base
-15 Kv 30ma Neon sigh transformer
-plug
-Plastic coating for the copper wire
-plastic tube to cover the spark.
-wire nuts

You need to connect one lead from the transformer to each of the two pieces of copper wire and After you have mounted the wires to the base plug the transformer in. You will need to adjust your gap a few times to get it to climb right. The Transformer was able to start the gap at about a 1/4″ space at the base of the ladder and spreads up to about an 1″ at the top. I added a section of tubing to keep the wind from blowing the spark out.
This performed perfectly all night on Halloween.

These are a few of the photos that i have from the construction of the base and alignment of the wires that carry the spark.

Disclaimer: This is provided for informational purposes only, working with these HIGH VOLTAGES can be extremely dangerous, and should not be done with out proper safety precautions. Misuse can result in Injury, Fire, or Death. If you plan to make anything like this make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing help you.