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Need help fixing a Jacob’s ladder

1401 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  .id.
I pulled down the prop from the attic this afternoon. It’s been out of their own use for probably over twenty years. I cleaned off surface rust from the wires and fired it up. It worked, and then it didn’t.

After fiddling around a little bit, it seemed to work OK but then at some point it would arc but not climb up the wires. For a moment there were some Sparks that shouldn’t have been happening so I quickly and unplugged it and after that I got nothing.

I hope I didn’t burn out the transformer. Can someone help me diagnose this? Perhaps I could check the transformer with a multimeter, but I obviously want to maintain safe conditions. I’d be happy to describe the unit or post photos if that would help.

Thanks in advance.
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I spoke with an electrician Saturday and he speculated that a fuse within the transformer may have tripped. I’ve yet to do any testing with a multimeter, but I will report back when I have.
Just set the multimeter to 2000k and placed the probes on the two wires coming from the transformer. It settled at 10. The label does not indicate the ohms so I’ll have to see what that means.
I think that’s a weird effect. There’s no gap there. I set the probes on the two wires contacting the bottom of the V shaped wires- where the spark should start it’s climb. I’m wondering if there’s too little wire left where the insulating jacket ends. Thinking I maybe should cut the wires, strip the insulating, and connect with better contact at the base of the vertical wires.
I’m going to be talking with a sign shop about an estimate for a lighted retail sign. I plan on asking the vendor to do a quick check on the transformer. If it passes I can go from there.
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