I gathered together some of my older high voltage capacitor discharge videos and put them into one video collection for you.
The Maxwell energy storage capacitor is rated at 170uF at 10kV and is labeled as Non-PCB as are all of my energy storage capacitors. If you have an opportunity to buy oil filled capacitors, always make sure they are of the non-PCB variety in case of eventual capacitor shell failure. This energy storage capacitor was obtained from a friend who had several of them and was getting rid of a couple of them. The capacitors outer casing is made from approximately 1/4″ steel and it has a large isolated discharge terminal on the top. The capacitor itself is quite heavy at around 125-150 pounds.
The capacitor charging supply for this energy storage capacitor was charged off a 15kV NST rectified through a full wave bridge made of 120 1n4006 1000 volt general purpose diodes contained in PVC tubes with no mineral oil. The original intent was to fill the PVC tubes with mineral oil but I did not get to that point. Keeping them contained in the tubes did provide isolation and some easy to connect wing nut terminals on either end of the tube.
The system was charged and discharged through the activation of pneumatic valves through semi-rigid pneumatic tubing powered off of a cylinder of nitrogen. The charge switch was a single long throw pneumatic cylinder which pushed up and closed the charging circuit. The discharge switch was a larger pneumatic cylinder which pushed a copper plate up against two terminals to close the circuit to the load on the capacitor.The charging circuit was disconnected from the capacitor before the capacitor was discharged in order to protect the NST and the HV rectifier tubes.
Misfire and subsequent discharge was done manually with a 10 foot long PVC pipe with a brass bar mounted to the end, this resulted in some extremely loud discharges when the system did not discharge as expected.
On successful discharges the system was drained down by shorting the manual discharge rod across the capacitor terminal and the capacitor case. The shunt was held in place and the terminal swept with a isolated high voltage probe before the capacitor was shorted indefinitely with a clamp on strap to allow new experiments to be setup.
All persons involved with the experiments were aware of the dangers and danger zones of the setup and were well protected behind a solid metal object from any possibly debris and we had good communications as well.
I do not recommend that anyone try these experiments. Your first mistake may likely be your last mistake when dealing with these voltages and energies. This is not an instructional document as intended only to share my own experience and approach.These type of experiments are extremely dangerous and carry great risk to life, limb and property and require carefully thought our procedures, systems and execution.
The high voltage discharge video can be viewed below, please let me know your thoughts or questions by commenting at the bottom of this post.