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Q & A: Aging plasma ball

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
My plasma ball used to have a good red glow around the inner ball and thin blue lines to the outer sphere. Now it have patchy red glow around the inner ball and diffuse much much thicker greenish lines to the outer. Why?
- Ian
Australia
A:
Hmm. Three things could be affecting this that I can think of:

1) Your plasma ball could have a tiny leak, letting air in. Air doesn't make as nice an electrical discharge display as, say, neon or argon that may have been in your plasma ball to begin with. The nitrogen in the air usually makes a kinda purplish-magenta glow.

2) If there was any helium in the original mixture, it can diffuse through just about anything, glass and plastic included.

3) Your high-voltage transformer in the base could be slowly giving out. Can you adjust it? Does it look more like it used to for some settings but not others?

Tom

(published on 10/22/2007)

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