Go back to -

Building a Laser Powered Flux Capacitor!

edited January 9 in The Science Lab

Sometimes when I am in my studio experimenting with musical ideas, I come up with something I wish I had recorded but didn't. Those are the times I could really do with a time machine! Anyone who knows anything about time travel knows the Flux Capacitor is what makes it possible so I decided to build one for my studio!

This one is based on the classic design by Doc Emmett Brown but with several modifications and upgrades given the advancements in technology since 1985. Mine doesn't run on Plutonium which is somewhat difficult to obtain. Instead, it uses lasers to excite a refined Dilithium crystal which creates the high frequency, high current electromagnetic field necessary to capture the time domain eddy currents accurately.

Here's a photo testing the response of the Dilithium crystal...

And a close-up of the crystal..

I'm using Hughes Industrial HeNe laser tubes for the top two primary exciter beams..

I'll be using vacuum tubes for some of the control circuits mainly due to the fact that they are somewhat immune to electromagnetic pulses which are generated during time travel and can easily fry semiconductors. Four of these vacuum tubes can be seen to the right of the lower exciter rod here. Obviously they aren't doing anything just yet..

The exciter rod drivers are also vacuum tube based. There's three of them, one at the base of each exciter rod..

Here's a closer shot of the exciter rods and Dilithium crystal. I'm testing the lower one with my RGB laser here but it will use a fixed colour laser for the final build..

One more shot of the Dilithium crystal and exciter rods in action..

Apparently, Jaycar Electronics here in Australia sell Flux Capacitors when stock is available in their warehouse. However, it is designed for automotive use rather than fixed installations and it is prohibitively expensive. The one I am building will cost me next to nothing because I already have the parts.

Here's the listing on their website..


Stay tuned for more updates as I continue this build.


  • I put together a base board for it today and laid out the main components to make sure everything will fit.

    I also removed the laser tubes and their power supplies from the cases they were in because I won't be using those cases in this build. The laser power supplies are the two PCBs and the transformers on each side.

    Below those are two Yokogawa Japanese AC mains watt meters which will display the power drawn by the laser tubes. The small transformer in between it will power the heaters in the vacuum tubes and the laser diode in the lower exciter rod. I might also use that to power the LED chaser lights for the three exciter rods too if there's enough current in reserve. If not, I may swap it for a larger transformer.

    There's more to add and nothing is mounted permanently yet. I'll post more as progress continues.

  • More progress on the build today. I mounted one of the HeNe laser tubes and the Dilithium crystal on the base board and tested one of the watt meters with it and all good.

    The light bulb array is a series current limiting rig that places any or all of the bulbs in series with the load under test. If there's a fault, the bulbs light up and limit the current, thereby preventing catastrophic failure. If all is good, there's an override switch that connects the load directly to the mains.

    I had the watt meter and laser power supply connected to this in case I made a mistake with the meter wiring. All worked perfectly first time so it seems I got it right. :)

    Closer view of the meter. It is showing a reading of 75 watts here but there's a multiplier of 0.4 with this configuration so the actual power consumption is 30 watts for this laser.

    And another one..

  • On a serious note here, this project involves working with dangerous and potentially lethal voltages and power levels. On top of that, some of the lasers are class 4 and can cause permanent eye damage and blindness.

    The input is AC mains (240v in Australia) and the lasers have a start voltage of around 8000v and operate at just under 1800v. Any of these can kill easily and quickly.

    ⚠️⚠️⚠️ DON'T attempt a project like this unless you absolutely know what you are doing!! ⚠️⚠️⚠️

    I have a fire extinguisher and blanket here just in case. I am also qualified in electronics and have around four decades experience.

    One essential item for any Flux Capacitor build is a label maker. I picked up a great deal on this Dymo label maker at the supermarket yesterday for half price ($25 instead of $50). I got a couple of spare label cartridges also for half price.

    Grabbed some more super glue too while I was there.

  • Testing electrode configurations for my 12kV (12,000 volt) Jacob's Ladder which I will be incorporating in this Flux Capacitor build.

    This is NOT a toy! The voltages and current produced by this neon sign transformer are LETHAL! Touch the electrodes and it is good night! 12kV @ 24mA is more than 250 watts.

Sign In or Register to comment.