Category Archives: Bench

EG&G HY-5353 Fast-Rise Deuterium Thyratron 5 kA @ 75 kV

Just what was needed for the EMP generator.

EG&G HY-5353 Fast-Rise Deuterium Thyratron 5 kA @ 75 kV

Just what was needed for the EMP generator.


Magnetic Stimulation of Neural Tissue

When testing out designs for Mykro Dot LED earrings in the late 70s, I discovered that using a an earring wire to carry 1.7 Volts (20 ma) for a couple of hours a day was enough to cause the tissue around the earring piercing to thicken in three to five days. Not wanting to further expose myself to legal action, I opted for a less elegant solution for earrings.

A classmate asked me about stimulating the brain by using electromagnetic pulses as a possible thesis project.  I am all for pushing the limits of cybernetic technologiesX. The block diagram below is representative of interesting research.  Unless you are a budding sociopath testing EMF/EMP technology in its current state of development on yourself, people you know, or strangers, resonates as an extremely bad idea.

Click for a very interesting website on Bioelectromagnetism


Addendum: I just came across this site when researching Helmholtz coils that was all about magnetic healing (Mesmer, anyone?).   There may be something to this in the medical profession for treating Alzheimer’s.  But it still seems like a Radium cure to me.



I was visiting my friend Mario Juarez’s metal working shop ( in San Diego recently. Watching him create a useful part from a chunk of metal was a study in materials, skill, technology, and how artist-craftsmen can run a business.  The video below shows the ironworker machine punching out holes.



Semikron Nurnberg crosses this custom part to a SKC3M3 40A-1 (3300 mf 400 volt) capacitor1. Google returned a catalog page without specs2.

SEMIKRON SKC 3M3-40A-1 10.1 A 0519

I am looking forward to experimenting with the collected electrons of thirty of these in a circuit.

HV Capacitor rev. 2

I am using parallel discs for this one.    As soon as I finish stuffing the tube and wiring it up, I will calculate and then measure the capacitance.  Except for the nuts, bolts, and galvanized washers, all materials in these capacitors have been rescued from heading to a landfill. There is something gratifying in that.

Check out the laser action too!  I still think that is like magic.   Prior to cutting plastic parts, I cut diameter samples out of cardboard in order to check for fit inside the pvc pipe.  Using cardboard or paper prior to running “good” material is a cost and time saver (thank you, John Duane!).

Here is a video of the laser re-cutting the discs as the material was a bit too thick for the speed which the head was traveling at.  When you see sparking, that is the laser beam striking the Aluminum honeycomb bed below the plastic.[quicktime][/quicktime]

Assembly went well. The washers and laser cut discs were a great fit. When I get time I will measure and test.

Lightning in a bottle

Like every other college student Thanksgiving 2013 was an opportunity to take school work home. I was fortunate to be able to recruit the love and resources of my brothers Anast and Terry Terezakis to work on two projects.

Now living with his family in Florida, Terry has been my often unwilling assistant since we were children. We rarely get to see each other any more and building this foil and polyethylene capacitor was reminiscent of old times.

Fortunately for the two of us, Anast was still away on a deer hunt, so we were able to work like Victorian gentlemen-scientists – albeit as carefully as though we were handling nuclear materials. Unfortunately, we bored our little nephew Nicholas beyond tears.
Thank you Anast and Terry!

Subscribe to the blog if you would like to be updated to the progress and testing of what these components are going into….


put non-rechargeable batteries in a charger.  I know, I know: I should have known better.  But after a lifetime of playing it safe, I put a D cell in my charger.  About a half hour later it made a sound like a high-speed fan throwing a bearing and leaked steaming electrolyte all over my charger and sprayed material onto a wall three feet away!  I was fortunate that the spray just happened to hit the wall.  Had the spray hit me in the eyes I have little doubt that I would have been blinded.

I threw the battery out while it was still spewing its leaking innards.  Not much there to see except ooze.


Removing insulation from solid or stranded wire with the least amount of damage to the conductor, easily, with repeatability and control is a science (Yes, this post is about wire strippers.  What were you thinking?).

Times they are a-changing.”

The same day my father caught me stripping bell wire with my teeth (he wouldn’t allow me to have a “real tool” as seven years old was “too young”) we went to the hardware store and he bought me my first pair of wire strippers.   At the time, I thought they were very expensive ($.49).  I remember the feeling that I could make anything happen as long as I had those wire strippers. That was 1960; the year that NASA successfully Echo 1A, a 100-foot inflatable precursor to Telstar and the beginning of John Kennedy‘s presidential campaign.  Funny thing about history; you never think about it until later.

Things are a lot easier today as both materials technology and design science have continued to evolve past sharp teeth, your mom’s scissors, or a sharp rock.

I’m putting three of my favorite wire strippers out for review.  The basic, cheesy, stamped handled set were the genesis of it all.  I kind of hate them, especially for what they cost today.

I don’t know where to buy the simple blue handled adjustable strippers.  If you find them please post or send me a note.  I think I bought those in Eastern Europe during an exhibition.   Due to the cutting tooth geometry and adjustable screw, they work great on just about any wire diameter, solid or stranded.

The red-handled black “automatic” wire strippers are good on larger diameter wires – especially #12, 14, 16 solid.  You can get a lot done with these and I have used them extensively over the years.  I put some “white out”  on the business side of the tool that “remains” (the other side pulls insulation off).  I’ve replacing the pair in the picture with one made by Irwin Tools (Vice-Grips).  Like a lot of things in life, there isn’t much point in using second best if you don’t have to.  But I’ve used these older ones in more countries so I am kind of attached to them.

I’ve always had a close relationship to the tools which I use.  Chances are you will save money in the long run by not having to purchase replacements of something which you rely upon to help make your thoughts a reality.  Buy right the first time if at all possible.

The yellow handled ones are AMAZING-BEST-GREAT for fine wire.  To use them you dial in the mm size of the wire, adjust the stop (inside the handle) to control how long of a piece of insulation you want to remove, put the wire in the opening,  squeeze the handles like a bicycle grip, and pull.  If you have set the cutting depth correctly the wire will slide right off.

Some things you may want to keep in mind are that if you use solid core wire, and nick the conductor at the same spot where you have removed the insulation, you may not realize that you had done this – until you are debugging your circuit wondering why something isn’t working when it looks like it should.

Expensive – because they are worth the money.

The entire family of Pomona banana jacks and plugs are engineered works of beauty – and function.  They are reliable, robust, and were designed by engineers for engineers.  If you know what you are looking for, you can find them for less money than what they are currently selling for on eBay.  Click here for the Pomona Electronics data sheet.

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