In this project, the construction of the simple variable inductor circuit, illustrated in Figure 1, will help you learn more about inductors.
As you will experience, the placement of the steel bar affects the inductance of the wire coil and, therefore, the light through the lamp.
Step 1: Wrap hundreds of turns of the magnet wire around the paper tube.
Step 2: With the paper tube empty, connect this homemade inductor in series with a low-voltage AC power supply and lamp to form a circuit, as illustrated in Figures 1 and 2.
You can use the low-voltage supply described in the earlier AC project, Using a Transformer to Build a 12 VAC Power Supply. When the tube is empty, the lamp should glow brightly.
Step 3: Insert the steel bar into the tube. The lamp dims from the increased inductance (L) and consequently increased inductive reactance (XL).
Step 4: Try using bars of different materials, such as copper and stainless steel, if available. Not all metals have the same effect due to differences in magnetic permeability.
Learn more about the fundamentals behind this project in the resources below.
In Partnership with Autodesk
by Jake Hertz