While vacuum electronic devices have largely been superseded over much of consumer electronics, there’s one place where they can still be found for now. The cavity magnetron is a power RF oscillator device in which electrons are induced to move in a circular path through a tuned cavity, inducing a high-power RF field, and it lies at the heart of a domestic microwave oven. They usually need a high-voltage mains transformer and a rectifier to work, but [Hyperspace Pirate] has managed to make a solid-state power supply to power one from a 12 volt battery. Better still, he’s put the resulting combo in a Care Bears lunchbox. Take a look at the video below the break.
The video starts with a potted history of the magnetron before looking at the circuit of a typical oven, which uses a single diode and a capacitor in a simple voltage multiplier. The capacitor value is adjusted to lower the power output, and a pretty thorough job is done of characterising the circuit.
The low-voltage supply starts with an XVS inverter to make the high voltage via another multiplier, but the interesting part comes with the magnetron’s heater. It’s designed for 50 or 60Hz household electricity, but there it’s receiving 40 kHz and has an appreciable impedance. The addition of a capacitor soon restores it to a reasonable performance.