The Explodium is a power supply used for purposes of Mad Science. The first version, the Mark I, was no more than a microwave oven rewired. Since then it has been the subject of many upgrades and improvements to become a safe, reliable means of generating very high current discharges.
No video or images were produced of the early experiments. It was only after the first upgrade that the group decided to name the construction the 'Mark III,' in reference to it being the third configuration to be tested. Since then, each significent design alteration has increased the number.
Mark III saw a substantial upgrade: The replacement of a 1uF capacitor with a 100uF. You can get so much on eBay. A 100W 230V bulb was used as a test object, at 2KV. The bulb didn't last very long.
The Mark IV improved upon the Mark III by adding a new pneumatic switch. Safety considerations limited the Mark III to no more than two kilovolts: Any more was judged too dangerous to be anywhere close to, even at the length of the hot stick. With a new pneumatic switch, far higher voltages and energies can be used without endangering the operators: Pneumatics ensures complete electrical insulation even at voltages a hundred times greater than the equipment is intended to produce.
The use of a voltage doubler raises the output to four kilovolts (approx - exact measurement not yet possible), and the addition of three more capacitors holds a kilojoule. A single test was performed on a grape. Although the grape was instantly destroyed, the demonstration proved overwhelming to both the camera and the diodes. As each diode was actually six diodes in parallel each rated for a surge of 60A, this is quite concerning.
The Mark V was intended to add resistors in series with the (replacement) diodes to protect them and to enclose more of the high-voltage equipment. This was a dismal failure: The first charging resistor proved too high, and when removed even the new over-speced diodes burned out. Worse, the camera was knocked out of place and recorded only the ceiling and puff of smoke! However, from the remains it was possible to determine that the diodes failed due to a reverse bias far, far in excess of what they were rated for. The only source of such a potential would be inductive, so plans were made to add three huge relays to isolate the charger completly before discharge. Relays good for isolating ten kilovolts or more are not common, but ebay can provide so much.
Though a failure, the Mark V design was able to discharge once. The test material used was a pokemon card dampened in vinegar. Though most of the energy was wasted in destroying the diodes, enough made it to the card to cause some damage. The markings left by the paperclip contacts are visible, along with a noticeable fading of the dye. As this is present only in the current-carrying regions, it cannot be attributed to a chemical effect of the vinegar. The most likely explanation is destruction of the dye by heating.
Mark VI solved the serious design flaw of the Mark IV and V: Failure of the voltage doubler diodes due to very high voltages resulting from inductance within the discharge wires. This was solved by adding three relays which completly isolate the transformer and diodes from the capacitor bank. This is when the schematic starts to get complicated. A second control is required for the charging system - rather than a pneumatic link, this is a simple microswitch with a piece of string attached. This small switch in turn operates a set of relays: Two (shown on the diagram as just one for simplicity) connect the AC supply to the transformer, while another three (Likewise shown as one for simplicity) are used to isolate the voltage doubler from the capacitor bank. This was a huge success. A fuse with a 20Ka rupture current was not just blown but entirely obliterated leaving nothing but the end caps and a cloud of ceramic, while a PC speaker experienced such force on the voice coil that it was ejected at considerable velocity. The equipment took no damage from either of these, and was even able to achieve our first can crush with nothing more serious than a few melted wires and a banana plug welding into place - problems that can be easily solved with nothing but thicker wire. The next improvement should be a less unweildy and improvised control system than relays and string, and the enclosure of components for protection and safety.
No video survived from the speaker test. The mobile phone was too close to the high-current wire, and crashed as a result of the magnetic field. We will also require some improved recording equipment - the video quality from a mobile phone is not good, and the audio even worse.
Mark VI: Session two. No changes were made this time, just additional testing performed - work continues, but the new control system is far more complicated electronically and takes time to complete. We did have access to an old DV camera that records at a full 25FPS so some jerky slo-mo was possible. After three shots, the bank ceased to function due to a failure of the pneumatic switch contact.