Plasma Globe Owner S Guide

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Plasma Globe Owner S Guide

Transcript Of Plasma Globe Owner S Guide

Plasma Design

Congratulations on the purchase of your new Aurora Plasma Design Plasma Globe! These mesmerizing pieces of art have captivated audiences across the world for over 40 years. You can find them in many of the worlds’ leading science museums, in art installations and in private collections. It used to be that plasma globes of this quality cost thousands of dollars, but with our line of Museum Sized Plasma Globes, we’ve now brought them within reach of the everyday consumer. We’re glad that you’ve chosen to purchase one of our globes, and we hope that it provides you with years of enjoyment. Before you begin using your plasma globe, don’t forget to read the warnings at the back of the manual! Some may be obvious, but others you might not have thought of. For your own safety, and to ensure the life of the plasma globe, it is very important that you read them thoroughly. Continue reading for some tips on how to enjoy your plasma globe, as well as a brief overview of plasma globes and how they work.
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Unpacking and Setting Up Your Globe
Keep your box and everything in it! The box that your plasma globe came in is specially made for protecting your plasma globe. Although unlikely, from time to time plasma globes can fail, and if that should happen, you will need your box so that we can safely ship your plasma globe back to us for warranty repair or replacement.
To set up your plasma globe, find a suitable location away from direct sunlight, and preferably somewhere where you are able to dim the lights. Remember to keep the globe away from any metal objects or surfaces, as these may be a shock hazard when the plasma globe is powered on. (The plasma globe has a lowamperage current, so the shock is not dangerous. It’s more like a shock of static electricity—safe, but unpleasant.) Once you have your plasma globe in place, operating it is as simple as plugging it in and turning it on.
To extend the life of the electronics and the gases in the plasma globe, only leave the display turned on when there are people around to appreciate it. In addition, do not leave the plasma globe at full power for an extended period. All electronics slowly wear out over time, so turning the globe off when you are not around will ensure that you get the most out of the life of your globe.

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Plugging in the power adapter

Power adjustment dial

Playing With Your Plasma Globe
Your plasma globe is bright enough to be visible in a lighted room, but you will not get a very good effect in bright light. To get the best experience from your plasma globe, we recommend that you place it away from direct light, preferably in a darkened room. Once you’ve found the right place for your globe, just relax, dim the lights, and enjoy the show that your plasma globe has to offer.
Plasma globes love to be touched, so don’t hesitate in doing so. In fact, some of the most interesting effects can only be achieved through contact or close proximity with the globe. Go ahead and experiment! Try using your whole palm, or just your fingertips, or even just a single fingertip. See what happens when you lightly hover your hand above the surface of the glass. Put your hands on different parts of the globe and see how the plasma reacts when your hands are in different positions. Try the plasma globe at different power levels; some effects can only be seen when the plasma globe is at low power. There are a lot of different things you can try with your plasma globe, but the numerous possibilities are sure to keep you captivated for quite some time.
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A Brief Overview of Plasma Globes
So you’re still reading? You mean you haven’t already thrown out the manual and started playing with your plasma globe? Well, keep reading and we’ll tell you a bit about plasma globes and how they work. (And please, keep this manual. You may need it.)

Who Invented the Plasma Globe?

The plasma globe, in its infant form, was

invented by Nikola Tesla (1856-1943),

although he didn’t call it a plasma globe—

the name for his invention was the “Inert

Gas Discharge Tube.” It was a machine

that used high-frequency electricity to

create lightning-like electrical phenomena

inside of a glass chamber. It wasn’t until

1971 that Bill Parker, a physics student at

MIT, conceived the plasma globe as we

Nikola Tesla holding one of his famous “wireless” lamps.

know it today. Building upon the principles that Tesla had pioneered, Parker came up

with techniques to create the many different colors and effects that

can be seen in modern plasma globes.

What Is Plasma, And What Does It Have to Do With Plasma Globes?

Plasma globes got their name because they really do contain “plasma.” Plasma is often referred to as the “fourth state of matter.” It is the most common state of matter in the universe—the stars themselves are made of it. Plasma occurs when a gas becomes electrically charged

A plume of plasma rises off the surface of the Sun in a “Solar Prominence”

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(or “ionized”) and the electrons begin to break off from the atoms and move around freely. Unlike a typical gas, plasma is electrically conductive and responds strongly to the effects of electromagnetic fields. Applying an electromagnetic field to plasma can cause it to form into structures such as filaments, beams, and double layers. These structures are what give shape to the moving tendrils of light that you see in the plasma globe.

When a plasma globe is turned on, the gas inside the globe is charged with a high-voltage current from the power supply. The high voltage of the current causes the gas to ionize and turn into plasma. This turns the entire plasma globe into a conductor, allowing the electricity from the electrode to travel through the plasma and escape through the air.

At the same time, the power sup-

ply emits a high-frequency current,

alternating at thousands of times

per second, and this high-frequen-

cy current creates an oscillating

electromagnetic field. This electro-

magnetic field interacts with the plasma and causes the electrons

The Northern Lights are an example of ionized plasma from the sun interacting with the earth’s magnetic field.

and ions to move around, exciting

the surrounding atoms. When the atoms

become excited, they quickly release their energy, and this energy is

emitted in the form of light. As the electricity from the center of the

globe attempts to escape, it creates ion trails, and these trails act

as a path for the other electrons. When a large quantity of electrons

move along the same path, a plasma tendril is formed, and the

atoms emit enough light that the tendril becomes visible. The color

of the light you see depends on what gases are present inside the


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What’s Involved In Creating Different Plasma Effects?
To create a particular plasma effect, rare gases must be combined in exact proportions and at a specific pressure. This gas mixture must then be matched to the volume of the globe and to the electrical characteristics of the power supply in order to obtain the desired plasma effect. The pressure of the gas mixture plays a large part in determining the shape of the plasma effect. In general, the higher the pressure of the gas, the thinner and more sharp the plasma arcs will be. The lower the pressure, the wider and softer the arcs will be. When the pressure is low enough, a unique effect becomes possible at reduced power levels, somewhat like a glowing aurora borealis around the electrode core.
Each gas that is used has particular colors and properties that are peculiar to it. For example, neon gives off a reddish-orange color when charged, krypton gives off a white color, xenon gives off a blueish color, and argon gives off a sort of purple color. By combining different gases, one is able to control the color, shape, and motion of the plasma effect. “Rare” gases (also known as “noble” gases) are used for their unique properties and because of their low chemical reactivity—this ensures that the gases will not react with each other and degrade the plasma effect. It also ensures that the gas mixture will not break down over time.

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Some of our various plasma globe effects.

Before a plasma globe is filled, it is first baked in an oven to remove any water vapor. Then, it is hooked up to a vacuum pump system and evacuated to 0.001 Torr (99.999% Vacuum). After the globe has been evacuated it is filled with the precise gas mixture specified in the formula. It is then permanently sealed, ensuring that no gas can get in or out of the globe.
Once this process is completed, the final assembly is done. The inside of the electrode is coated with conductive silver paint (this is used to hide the internal wiring and to evenly distribute the electricity), and then the wires and housing are run up into the central stem. The glass globe is then secured to the base, and the power supply and circuit-board are mounted and wired to the electrode. Lastly, the base is sealed up, and the globe is tested, packed, and made ready to go. Once the globe reaches us, it is again inspected and subjected to rigorous testing to ensure the quality of the plasma effect and the durability of the electronics. After that, it gets sent out to you!
We hope you’ve learned a little bit about plasma globes from reading this! Plasma globes are captivating machines that will provide you with a lifetime of fascination. There’s nothing quite like harnessing lightning on your countertop. We know that you will enjoy your plasma globe for years to come, and if you have any questions or problems, don’t hesitate to call us toll free at 1.800.665.5656, or at 604.299.7511 for international customers.
On the next page you will find a fun experiment that you can try out with your plasma globe. Go ahead, we think you’ll enjoy it.
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If you have any Fluorescent Lights lying around, you can use one to perform a really neat experiment with your globe. Here’s how to do it:

1) Find a Fluorescent Tube or a Compact Fluorescent (aka “Energy-Saver”) Bulb to use for the experiment.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (left/center), Fluorescent Tube (Right)

2) Turn the Plasma Globe on at Full Power.

3) Being careful not to touch any metal on the Fluorescent Bulb, hold the Bulb by the glass, bring it close to the Plasma Globe, and see what happens. The Fluorescent Light should turn on!

4) If you are using a straight Fluorescent Tube, experiment with the position of your hands on the tube. You should notice that the tube will only light up between the plasma globe and your hand. This is because your hand acts as a ground.
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