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mad man Warning: This poor translation of the original Czech text may cause psychic damage if you will continue reading! (especially for native English speaking people) mad man

Tesla Coil

      It's an air-core transformer working on its own resonant frequency used to generate very high AC voltage. Primary coil consists of few turns of thick wire, secondary coil is wounded by hundreds or thousands turns of thin wire on cylindrical skeleton in one layer. So it is two simple inductive coupled resonant circuits. Secondary coil with its own inductance and capacitance (between turns) plus capacitance of discharge electrode determine own resonant frequency f0 = 1/[2*π*Sqrt(L*C)]. To maximize the power distribution from primary circuit to secondary circuit is needed to tune primary circuit to the same frequency. Because between-turns capacitance of primary coil is negligible is needed to connect an external capacitor. More theory here. To do needed calculations easier I wrote a simple electro & TC calculator in PHP. Now we "only" need some power high-frequency generator. Principle scheme is here:
principial schematics scope view of damped oscillation
The capacitor starts charging from high-voltage transformer connected to AC mains (it must be charged within one half of AC mains period). When the voltage across the sparkgap exceed dielectric strength of air the sparkgap will fire. Conductive sparks connect the capacitor to primary coil and the electrostatic energy will be transformed to magnetical energy of primary coil. In secondary coil the damped oscillations is induced (as you can see on oscilogram). If induced voltage is high enough there will be sparks jumping out to air. This high-frequency high-voltage (and surrounding elmag. field) has interesting attributes. It can glow various gas-filled tubes, bulbs etc. lying around Tesla Coil. If you touch it you don't get a classic shock (due to skineffect) but you will/may be burned. Remember that more dangerous are voltages on primary side, HV supply and capacitors. This may be lethal. For more informations about SGTC basics you should read this document: James Kelly - Tesla Coil Theory.

Shock!
disclaimer:
Author doesn't accept any responsibility of any damages caused by electrical devices described here!
Shock!

      I have been fascinated by high voltage and discharges for a long time (no less by splendour of natural lighting show). I built a lot of various high voltage devices, (e.g. using burn coil from car, high voltage transformer from TV...). But few months ago (in 2001) when I discovered a Tesla Coil on the Internet I found the right device for generating high voltage. Tesla Coil is relatively unknown device in our country. I didn't find any Czech Tesla Coil website. I hope that this site set it right little bit. But in Germany, U.K. or USA the Tesla Coil is a popular device which is built by lot of amateurs. Since 1998 the TESLATHON gathering is done in the U.K. In 2008 there was held the 1st Teslathon in Czech Republic.
      When I acquired enough information from the Internet I started to build own TC. I used PVC pipe (d = 40 mm, h = 290 mm) as skeleton of secondary. I wound about 900 tuns by hand on it. I used CuL d = 0,28 mm wire from an old relay. I varnished the winding with resin in spirit to improve insulation. Then I wound primary coil using 3,5mm Cu wire 2 m long by hand on a pot. First I wound about 8 turns on 70mm diameter and then I found that sparks jumps between primary and secondary coil. Then I rewound primary coil on 120mm diameter. But only 4,5 turns. Whole system is mounted on plexiglass base. Discharge electrode on top is made of tennis ball wrapped with alufoil. I measured the resonant frequency about 1,26 MHz. For calculating primary coil inductance you may use my program or online TC calculator that I programmed later.

my 1st TC photo
my 1st TC

      The building of TC isn't so difficult (only that 900 turns I was winding for 2 hours). But problem with proper driving TC followed. First I tried classic static sparkgap. I used 200 W / 10 kV transformer as high voltage power supply. I have problem with capacitor - I need 7 nF / 10 kVAC with low tg(delta) and high dV / dt. I found only two impulse 1 nF / 15 kVAC capacitors which I connected parallel together. Other solutions is large Leyden-bottles or serial/parallel matrix combination of small usual capacitors called MMC - Multi Mini Capacitor. Sparkgap can be built in many ways. First I used two steel balls from bearing but it got hot quickly and soldered down. Then I used divided sparkgap with 6 copper pipes. This sparkgap can be cooled better. I reach about 5cm sparks with it. I know it's not enough but I have low capacity and only 200 W power transformer. The cool device is a rotary spark gap. There are pairs of electrodes ones static and other rotating (motor driven). When pairs meets the spark will jump. Because electrodes are moving the arc pulled after discharge is broken and air flows around and ions are spreaded away. And you can simple change the spin-speed and change discharges per minute (BPM). Sparkgap driver have an advantage that it is simple and can handle huge power (that any semiconductor can't do). But it have some disadvantages:
But there are other choices. The function of sparkgap can be also done by a silicon controlled switch or a vacuum tube. TC drivers can be divided into following caregories:
I'm interested in SSTC and VTTC constructions. Here are links to my projects:

SSTC
SSTC
VTTC
VTTC
miniTC
miniTC
BigTC
BigTC
inductor
inductor
microTC
microTC
MegaTC
MegaTC
dirtyVTTC
dirtyVTTC

      Meetings of TC builders in Czech Republic:
1st Teslathon 19.-20.7.2008
2nd Teslathon 11.-12.10.2008
3rd Teslathon 3.-5.4.2009
153th Tesla's birthday on Google 10.7.2009
4th Teslathon 12.-13.9.2009
5th Teslathon 6.-8.8.2010
6th Teslathon 20.-21.8.2011
7th Teslathon 18.-19.8.2012, report by Ivo
8th Teslathon 27.-29.9.2013
9th Teslathon 5.-7.9.2014, report by LTX
10th Teslathon 11.-13.9.2015
11th Teslathon 16.-18.9.2016

      Another nice photos you can find on other foreign websites associated as Tesla Coil webring. Here are also a few new Czech sites:

Czech Tesla Links CZ Discussion board: http://www.okoun.cz/boards/vysoke_napeti
http://elektronika.kvalitne.cz (Standa)
http://ok1imj.goo.cz/ether/tesla/tesla.htm (Tomáš)
http://www.pokusy.chytrak.cz/pokusy.htm (Silvestr)
http://danyk.cz (Danyk)
http://www.tosi.cz/tc.html (Milan)
http://www.sweb.cz/teslacoil (Michal and Radek)
http://www.meduza.czechian.net (Medůza)
http://elektrolab.wz.cz (Jerry, David)
http://www.elektrodilna.wz.cz (Worlik)
http://www.sopotniceeu.emartinka.cz/... (LTX)
http://www.vn-experimenty.eu (Jakub)
http://core.g6.cz/tesluv-transformator (Core)
http://www.teslatron.pjweb.cz (Teslatron)
http://brmlab.cz/project/tesla_coil (Brmlab)
Czech Tesla Links

TeslaMania Message Board
4HV.org forum
Tesla flash game :-)

1000 dinar bank-note

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updated at 4:57; 27.10.2016

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