First, make sure any outlet you plug the power
strip into is properly grounded. Test the AC voltage
between the smaller, right (hot) slot and the bottom,
rounded (ground) slot. It should read 110V–120V AC.
If it’s outdoors, the outlet must be a UL-listed GFCI
(ground-fault circuit interrupter) type. These outlets
have test and reset buttons, and are often used
where moisture might cause short circuits.
CAUTION: When setting up, place the stand a
healthy distance away from the switch-operated power
strip. This is why you used an extension cord at least 15'
long. Also, place the stand on a high table or other flat,
raised surface so that no one can look down over the rod
and accidentally get hit in the eye.
FLOATING AND FLYING
To make the ring levitate, switch the power strip
on first, then immediately slip the ring over the rod
using one hand (keep the other behind your back).
This is easier with 2 people (and safer and more
fun). Notice that the ring stops and hovers instead of
falling. The ring is levitating! Then shut off the power
immediately, or else the fuse will blow within a few
seconds and need to be replaced.
For more fun, try shooting the ring upward. For
safety’s sake in your first attempt, wrap the ring with
2 layers of electrical tape. This will weigh it down
so it won’t shoot very high. Put the ring on the rod
and let it slide down to the coil. Step back about 10',
then turn on the power strip. The ring should shoot
up enough to come off the rod. If you want it to go
higher, remove some or all of the ring’s tape.
FASTER AND HIGHER!
This is a demonstration project. While its operation is impressive, you can shoot the ring higher
and faster if you make a few changes. For all these
enhancements, the most important precaution is
to locate the coil and rod even farther away from
the switch, yourself, and any observers. To do this,
use a 50' extension cord in the build, or add it in
between the power strip and the levitator plug. Any
enhancements are for shooting only — not the levitating trick. No one should get close to the live rod.
1. Use a countdown before launch, and make sure
any guests are paying attention and are a safe
distance away at the time of launch.
2. Place the levitator on a table or platform, and
aim the rod close to vertical (within 30°). Never
point the rod at anyone!
3. Test the levitator first outside in an open area
that exceeds a 50' radius. Locate it at a safe
distance from overhead power lines.
You may notice that the ring shoots up faster at
times, with the least impressive performances generally occurring while you’re showing someone you
want to impress. The difference in heights depends
on the instantaneous AC voltage, which in a typical
house can vary from below 110V up to 120V.
SAFETY WARNING: Do NOT try to shoot the ring to
the moon by hooking the coil up to a voltage source higher
than 120V AC. For example, do not try this project with
240V AC. Even if the magnet wire’s insulation holds up, you
can start a fire or cause serious injury. Leave higher-volt-age experimentation to the military or MythBusters!