The word ion simply means charged particle, therefore, this is basically a device that creates a focused beam of charged particles. The name may sound like something out of a dime store science fiction novel, but the truth is that the ion ray gun is the basis of cathode ray tube displays and other devices. This is simply a "gun" that charges nearby particles and is not confined to a vacuum tube. In any case, it could also be called a high voltage power supply.
What do you do with such a device? Well for starters you can light up certain phosphorescent or fluorescent materials by simply pulling the trigger and hitting them with the ion beam. You can light up fluorescent lights from a distance by merely shooting them with this gun. You can also supposedly charge capacitors at a distance and operate a number of electrical devices remotely. Most interesting of all, however, is that this gun is capable of inducing severe shocks from a small distance. I can verify this since I have endured a number of painful shocks from the device.
I bought the kit for the device from Information Unlimited and assembled it. Unfortunately the PVC tube they provided me with is of inadequate size and the circuit card will not fit in past the voltage multiplier section. The device generates about 100,000V and is very capable of inducing painful electric shocks and even acrid ozone gas.
The best way to ensure the most of the electricity is discharged from the end of the voltage multiplication circuit is to attach a sharp object such as a needle to the end of the safety resistor, using epoxy or some sort of adhesive, while making sure the two components are connected. This provides an excellent point for the ionization energy to transfer to the surrounding air. If you do not have a sharp point where you want the ionization to occur, it will probably take place on the capacitor leads, which are rather sharp. Make sure that when you are soldering the multiplication circuit the solder forms globules rather than the so-called icicles and the effectiveness of the ion gun will be greatly increased.
If you want more power, remove the safety resistor on the end, but be careful since it hurts bad enough to get a shock with the resistor. I myself, have never tried removing it. I hope this helps anyone who tries building it!
How does this device work? Essentially, it is supplied with a direct voltage by the 9V source (usually batteries). This is changed into an oscillating signal by an RC combination. This signal is passed through the transformer, which increases the original voltage by a factor of about 300. This higher voltage is placed across a series of diodes and high voltage capacitors, which form what is known as a voltage multiplication circuit.
The diodes prevent the capacitors from discharging in reverse and make the capacitors appear to be wired in series. As you may know, when two capacitors are in series, they act the same way as batteries do in series and their voltages simply add up. In this case, it produces an extremely high voltage. Fortunately, the capacitors are only able to hold a certain amount of energy before discharging. This prevents them from releasing a continuous output and gives them a charging time. If the output was produced only by the transformer, there would be no charging time and the output would be continuous.
R1 2.2K 1/4W Resistor
R2,7 27Ohm 1/4W Resistor
R3 220Ohm 1/4W Resistor
R4,5 100MOhm Resistor
C1 .47 MFd/50V Capacitor
C2,3 .047 to .068 MFd Capacitor
C4 1MFd 100V Capacitor
C5 .001MFd/15KV Capacitor
D1 22KV 5MA Avalanche Diodes
Q1 MJE3055 T0220 NPN GP Transistor
BH1 8 Cell AA Battery Holder
S1 Push Button Switch
CL1 Battery Snap Clip
HS1 Heat Sink Bracket