The paper presents the results of studies on shot-to-shot performance of a water Blumlein pulse forming line of 1-1.2 kJ of stored energy. The experiments were carried using the TEMP-4M pulsed ion beam accelerator during its operation in both unipolar pulse mode (150 ns, 250-300 kV) and bipolar-pulse mode with the first negative (300-600 ns, 100-150 kV) followed by a second positive (120 ns, 250-300 kV) pulse. The analysis was carried out for two cases when the Blumlein was terminated with a resistive load and with a self-magnetically insulated ion diode. It was found that in bipolar pulse mode the shot-to-shot variation in breakdown voltage of a preliminary spark gap is small, the standard deviation (1σ) does not exceed 2%. At the same time, the shot-to-shot variation in the breakdown voltage of the main spark gap in both bipolar-pulse and unipolar pulse mode is 3-4 times higher than that for the preliminary spark gap. To improve the statistical performance of the main spark gap we changed the regime of its operation from a self-triggered mode to an externally triggered mode. In the new arrangement the first voltage pulse at the output of Blumlein was used to trigger the main spark gap. The new trigatron-type regime of the main spark gap operation showed a good stability of breakdown voltage and thus allowed to stabilize the duration of the first pulse. The standard deviation of the breakdown voltage and duration of the first pulse did not exceed 2% for a set of 50 pulses. The externally triggered mode of the main gap operation also allowed for a decrease in the charging voltage of the Blumlein to a 0.9-0.95 of self-breakdown voltage of the main spark gap while the energy stored in Marx generator was decreased from 4 kJ to 2.5 kJ. At the same time the energy stored in Blumlein remained the same.
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