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I am trying to find a cheap power supply that will produce the high voltage needed to create lichtenberg figures on wood. I ruled against using a microwave oven transformer due to the high current, so only the neon sign power source sold on ebay for ~$10 would be in my price range. Wikipedia's article on neon sign transformers suggests just those with an iron core are used by hobbyists to make lichtenberg figures, and that manufacturers are now producing switch mode power supplies to power the neon signs. I can't be certain of the specs of the ebay transformers since they are generic units produced in China, but assuming that they are switch mode power supplies, will they be able to fit my needs for a power supply?

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I have tried this, with negative results. My suspicion is that the power supply unit has an internal current limiting circuit built-in which prevents it from delivering enough current to do the job.

A more powerful supply might work but must be treated with respect, since the voltage and current could potentially kill you.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! From wikipedia: Older NSTs are simply iron-cored transformers, usually embedded in asphalt to reduce noise. The core either has a magnetic shunt, or a gap in the iron core, both of which serve to current-limit the output, allowing them to run indefinitely in short-circuit conditions. $\endgroup$
    – tuillip
    Mar 23 '19 at 8:29

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