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DIY Ozone Generator for around $60


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#1
MindBender01

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I already posted this in my thread for my grow, but I figured I would post more detailed instructions here in DIY. As I am still new to the postings, please bear with me as I will have to make each step a reply with another pic.


DISCLAIMER:
Neither my friends nor myself are professionals at this. If you decide to take on this DIY project, you do so at your own risk. I will not be responsible for you shocking yourself or burning down your place.


We wanted to use ozone to control the smell from our gardens, but can't afford the price. Google'd DIY ozone generator and voila....here we are.

Items you will need:
1: A 7500-volt (or more:)) neon sign transformer. I found mine on Craigslist for $25, and they are all over eBay. Search for Ozone, Neon, ect. Mine is 9000 volts.
2: A chunk of glass (NOT tempered!!!). Use an old picture frame glass, someone on CL thats giving away old aluminum windows. It cannot be tempered as you will need to cut it to whatever size you need. Mine is 5-1/2" wide x 16" long x ~1/8" thick.
3: Two spark plug wires. Thicker is better. Find someone who recently gave their car (or bike) a tune-up and still has their old wires. Or go buy some. If you can find a supply of bulk HV wire, then go that route. Mine are used from a Geo Metro.
4: A decent length of main power cord material (an extension cord you can sacrifice works).
5: A fuse-holder of some kind. I went with the glass slo-blow ones as I didn't want the fuse to pop when I plugged it in. Just make sure it's as close to the amperage draw of the transformer as you can get. Should be a no-brainer considering what we are playing with. :eek: I bought mine at Radio Shack.
6: Various connectors for making the various connections. I went with 1/4" and 5/16" 'yellow' ring terminals for the main power and ground to the transformer, and some copper 5/16" battery terminals (crimp style) for the HV lines at the transformer. All connectors I got at my local auto parts store. Obviously, get what fits your transformer.
7: Duct. I used a 6" diameter x 20" long section. Started off as a 60" long section, but we built two of these at the same time and have parts left to make one more.
8: The screen. I used perforated aluminum because it was free. If I were to build another one, I would try to find some Stainless Steel screen, mesh, perforated material....whatever. What you are going for is surface area.
9: Aluminum tape. This is to create the 'mirror' side of the panel. I don't remember where I got mine, but it is actual aluminum tape. Pretty stiff, but sticky.
10: Tools. Glass cutter. Screwdriver(s). Pliers. Crimpers. A saw(for cutting the screen and duct.) Hot glue gun. Knife.

I might have forgotten something...you might have a better idea than what I did on mine...whatever works. I just want to get this out there in the community for all to use.

So, on with the build.

Edited by MindBender01, 07 November 2010 - 08:57 AM.

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#2
MindBender01

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So, the first thing we did was to make sure the transformer works. We took the 5/16" copper battery terminals and crimped them onto the ends of the plug wires. I also used some ring terminals to connect the main power to the transformer. Position the plug wires with the copper wires stuffed into them so you have around a 3/4" gap. DO NOT LET THEM TOUCH!!!! For a quick second, plug in the transformer. It won't be loud...nothing should go wrong. What you should see is a spark like in the pics. :hello: If you leave the transformer plugged in for more than a few seconds, the copper wires and the plug wires will get pretty warm. Remember...these transformers are NOT ok with a direct short, which you are damn close to doing when you create the arc. All this is, is to test that the transformer works. Once you are over the childlike excitement of this phase, move on to the next. I know we had ear-to-ear grins!!!

Attached Thumbnails

  • 100_0603 3.JPG
  • 100_0606.jpg

Edited by MindBender01, 07 November 2010 - 08:58 AM.


#3
MindBender01

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Ok. Now we build the screen. I chose to go with four separate plates instead of one massive one because I wanted to be able to 'upgrade' as needs arose without building another unit. My goal is to try to achieve a 'neutral' smell. No ozone...no 'dead guy' smell. I am going to run two screens until I catch a whiff of something outside. When (if) that happens, all I have to do is bridge over from the active screens to the next inactive one with some aluminum tape. You'll see.

First, you want to create the 'mirror' surface. Take a Sharpie, and draw a line about 1/2" around the edge of the glass on one side. This is the border for the aluminum tape. Fill INSIDE this box with aluminum tape. Take your time and try to get it as smooth as possible. Not a pro at this, but it makes sense to me that anywhere the tape isn't touching the glass is potentially a 'dead spot'.

Next, I positioned one of the screens at one end of the glass on the opposite side of the aluminum tape. For the air gap on mine, we cut pieces of plastic from the insert in the bottom of a Safeway reuseable shopping bag. I then stuck the tip of the nozzle of the hot-glue gun into the holes of the perforated material and squirted some glue into some of the holes filling the gap between the screen and the glass. Kindof like a little hot-glue washer.

As for the connections, I fashioned some out of the Romex center from some 14/3. You will need to make two. One for the bottom, and one for the top. Hot-glue them to their respective areas (top or bottom), then cover the glue with aluminum tape.

Depending on your transformer, the distance between the screens might change. How we found the right distance was to hot-glue one plate to the glass, and set another one about 1/2" away. Make the connections, plug it in, and watch for long blue arcs between the plates and around the edges of the glass. Keep moving things around until all you have is a nice purple "glow of death". If you get arcs around the edge of the glass, just cut some of the aluminum tape off. It should just hiss.

More to follow tomorrow night.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 100_0608 3.jpg
  • 100_0614 3.JPG
  • 100_0611 3.JPG

Edited by MindBender01, 07 November 2010 - 08:59 AM.


#4
rooster1369

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#5
MindBender01

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I hear 'ya rooster...honestly, this kind of voltage scares me as well but it's the amperage that hurts. My 9k transformer only puts that out at a measly 30mA. Still enough to kill ya (I think...Mythbusters????). I have had mine up and running now for a week, and the only problem I have is the humidity. If I let my light timer control the unit, it tends to arc over until the fan comes up to speed....all is fine once it does though. I am working on a new design. A square box made from 1/2" plastic (Interstate Plastics) and four (or more) individual plates. The new design will be able to start off with a 4" axial, and be able to be upgraded up to an 8" axial fan.

#6
MindBender01

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So, on with the build. Once you have your plates built, test things again. And again. Make ABSOLUTELY sure you have no arching. I don't know if it will hurt anything, but it sounds terrifying. TAKE YOUR TIME. Also, the first time you connect the plug wires to the transformer and the plate, put a piece of aluminum tape on the transformer NEAR (NOT on!!!) the terminal you connected to the aluminum-tape side of the panel, as well as a small piece on the plug-wire you connected to that terminal.

When you are testing your plates, try to arrange them in the configuration they will be in with the final install. As for the plug-wire connectors, I turned mine so they both pointed towards the center of the plate. I did this so my two plug-wires would come out of the duct around the center of the duct. To insulate the plug wires from the duct, we took two plug-end boots from the plug-wires and cut them down to about 3/4" long and drilled two holes in the duct (where the wires are going to come out) and stuff the plug-boot-grommets into those holes. For the one I built, I used a section of 6" duct. To insulate the glass from the tube, I took a section of 1/2" foam pipe-wrap 16" long and cut it in half length-wise. I had to squeeze the duct to a slightly egg shape to be able to slide the glass-and-insulation assembly into the duct. This step is made ALOT easier if you have a second pair of hands.

Pass the plug-wires through the grommets and connect them to the panel inside the duct (one onto the aluminum tape side, and one to the screen side), then connect them to the transformer. DOUBLE CHECK ALL CONNECTIONS. CHECK THEM AGAIN. ONE MORE TIME. Make sure everyone is away from the unit, and plug in the transformer. All you should hear is a hiss and soon after, you should smell ozone. DO NOT STAND THERE AND BREATH IN THE OZONE!!!! It won't kill you, but in high concentrations......well, like I said....no expert.

#7
rooster1369

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#8
MindBender01

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My best friend (who did all of the electrical) and I were talking today about possibly making these for people not comfortable with building this. So far, we have built 3 of these (my plate-style, his tube-style eyeball-of-death, and another friend's plate-style), and all are running great. We are kindof thinking the price would be enough to cover materials and a bit for our time....nothing NEAR the commercial prices.

#9
MindBender01

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BTW...PLEASE don't get me wrong. I am not in any way trying to say this thing is not potentially harmful. I have this thing running in a closet grow where my family resides. My wife and I are probably the most paranoid people we know. I check on this thing EVERYDAY. I even put a small PC fan near the transformer to keep it cool...I didn't think it would burn down the house, but I don't like warm electronics. Even if this thing is trouble free for a year, I will still check on it. Also, that's the reason for the 3-amp fuse on the main supply to the transformer. Should something go slightly wrong, the fuse blows...which also kills the fan.

I do agree with you whole-heartedly, rooster. If someone is thinking about trying this and they are AT ALL weary of the electrical aspect, DON'T TRY IT.

Edited by MindBender01, 15 November 2010 - 02:07 AM.


#10
tidlibitz

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may i ask how it works and what produces the ozone? thankyou

#11
MindBender01

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My understanding of how these things works is the electricity is trying to go from one plate to the other, but the glass is in the way. As the arc tries to jump the gap, it does something with the are and out comes ozone.

#12
dazarooney

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Good thread :)

#13
MindBender01

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Well, the aluminum tape I was using to bridge the plates...one piece finally failed. It lifted from on of the panels (between the first and second) and started arcing pretty good, making alot of noise. Not too good for a stealth grow. I swapped that out for the one my friend built (tube version), and that worked...for a week or so. We think the center-electrode copper wire wasn't in the plug wire far enough, and the end of the plug wire 'fell off'. Nothing burned up, but it did fail. Raised some concerns:

1) If the transformer fails and the array stops working, the fan is still ventilating the garden. Not good. :bolt:
We are trying to come up with some monitoring products to make this product more dependable.
2) Aluminum + ozone = aluminum oxide....not good stuff. :eek:
Our next design is going to use as much stainless steel as possible. Even the copper is oxidizing. If we do end up using something that will be consumed by the ozone, we will try to put it on the side of the emitter that is not emitting ozone.
3) My design with all the screens in-line and on one side of the glass is not the best. It works, but not the most efficient use of space and materials. I think we have decided on the 'tube of death' design. That puts the ozone-generating screen directly in the path of the moving air. If we use a jar, then we can still use copper and have that element inside the jar, out of the path of the ozone.

I already have a couple of temperature control units that read via a thermocouple (one for the transformer, and the other for the duct the array is mounted in...like I said...I don't like warm electronics...). They are going to kill the fan and transformer should anything get too warm.

The one we are stumped on is how to monitor the array itself....
1) Photo sensor looking at the purple glow of death (how sensitive are they and/or would they need to be)..
2) Sound sensor 'listening' to the hum of the arc (what about the sound from the fan?)...
3) Some kind of high-voltage relay? (Would it only monitor weather or not the transformer is putting out voltage? If the emitter fails, would the relay trip? I would WANT it to kill power like the temp units.)

This is still a work in progress. I have decided to go with a DIY carbon scrubber until we get the ozone generator design more dependable...failsafe...ect...

#14
MindBender01

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Good thread :)


Thanks for the links for the perforated sheet!!! Kindu spendy, but if that's what it takes...

#15
MindBender01

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Well, the ozonator finally let go. One of the leads to the unit started to burn through....makes me wonder how far it would have gone if I wasn't there. The unit was still working as it was still producing ozone. I think it was just a matter of time before mine came to the same fate as my friend's. On to the carbon scrubber for now.

Note to self: Possible higher quality plug wires? What is used in actual neon signs?

#16
MindBender01

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Rebuilt the ozonator last night. I lifted the screens about twice the original distance (I used the 'zip' section of a zip-tie). I also used a piece of romex to connect the screens to each other. Right now, I am only running three of the four screens, and I am having the same results as when I was running all four with less gap. We'll see how far it goes!!!

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#18
freakinout084

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Frame of reference???

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Tihspeed

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#20
MindBender01

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yeah... i cant really see what it is your trying to explain.. and with the possibility of dying...

more pictures would really help...


I am assuming you don't know what an ozonator is used for...:confused:

I use it to destroy (not filter) the smell out of my garden. Right now I have five plants four weeks into flower, and all I smell on the exhaust is.....nothing. As for pictures, I don't know what else to post that I haven't already that would make it any clearer.

As for the possibility of dying, I only said that because this is a DIY-type of device. And whenever anyone is dealing with electricity, there is the potential for fire, shock, even death if one is not careful.




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