Shhh. How this top works is “Top Secret”

Many, many years ago I had a great little toy. It was a small top that you spun on a black base. It didn’t float like the Levitron. But it had a great trick of it’s own. It would spin for days! My friends thought it was the coolest thing when they would see it in my room (yes, we were dorks). But it WAS amazing. The top didn’t just sit there spinning it bopped around on the base and sometimes it would spiral around toward the center.

Many years later, when I started Dave’s Cool Toys, this cool little top was on my list of toys I wanted to carry, but I couldn’t find it. But recently, one of our suppliers began to offer it and we recently added Top Secret to our line of cool toys. Of course, the minute they came in, I took one for myself and it’s been spinning on-an-off ever since. My kids love it.

HOW IT WORKS: No, it’s not perpetual motion. It cheats by using a hidden battery and circuitry.

This is how the manufacturer explains it on their website:
"Top Secret" consists of a spinning top with a radially oriented magnetic field and an associated base that houses a conductive coil. When the top spins past the center of the base, its changing magnetic field induces a current in the coil which momentarily opens the switch to the battery resulting in powering up the electromagnet. The electromagnet then delivers enough torque to the spinning top to allow it to speed up and spin away from the center. Since the electromagnet is only engaged when the top crosses near the center of the base, one 9 volt battery can last for over a week of continual use!

I do not know too much about electronics, and my eyes sort-of glazed over when I read this. But, here’s the way I understand it. There’s an electromagnet in the base run by a 9 volt battery and a magnet in the top. The base is concave, so it slopes down in the middle. The electromagnet turns on when the top gets near the center (when it’s slowing down). This turns on the electromagnet, which spins the top faster and sends it on it’s way until the next time.

My friend Richard added "it’s exactly like a brushless DC motor where the armature is free to roam about." Yes, Richard was one of those dorky friends. Still is.

More importantly, it’s a very cool toy. Check it out here.

And check out a short video I made of it below.

Leave a Reply

Security Code:

Dave’s Cool Toys Blog
We post news about new toys on our site, new toys in the market, general toy information, or stuff we just thought was cool (usually toys).

We welcome your feedback and comments.

Be sure to check out our toys at Dave's Cool Toys. We work hard to find toys you won't find at the big box stores. Now go out and play!

Dave Ference

A little disclaimer
A few things we thought you should know:

Some of the links on our weblog will not take you to Dave's Cool Toys, but to other sites. If you purchase an item from that site we may, or may not, receive a commission on that purchase.

All toy reviews are honest and will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly, even if it's a toy we sell. We receive no compensation for any toy reviews.

Links to other sites have been checked by us for appropriate content, but we cannot check every page of every site and every link on those sites, and any changes that may have been made to those sites since we visited them. Children should be supervised at all times while surfing the web.

We've done our best to make sure that information on our weblog is accurate. Some items may be rumors, gossip, or hearsay. We will do our best to make it clear when it is, and will correct anything we find to be wrong.