What size TC to start with?
From: Roth, Leland[SMTP:webwise-at-johnstown-dot-net]
Sent: Saturday, September 13, 1997 10:18 PM
Subject: What size TC to start with?
Hello... I've been a subscriber to this list for a few weeks now
and would like to ask a 'newbie' type of question:
What size TC to start with?
My background is thus: As a kid, I did a lot of messing around with
HV in the form of induction coils. I even built a few of my own, and to
my surprise they worked... how I had the patience to hand wind them, I'll
In about 9th grade I decided I wanted to 'graduate' so I bought a used
neon sign xformer for $5 - 15kV -at-??ma (I don't remember). I was experienced in
electricity/electronics, so I used the typical precautions. I immediately
used it for some Jacobs ladder work- and after shutting it off foolishly
myself on the hot ladder rods! I decided I wanted to not have anything to
do with something with that kind of current (worried that I might fry
myself making a mistake), so I threw the thing in a dumpster and stuck to
induction coils. Also made a VanDeGraff for some electrostatic work. My
machine never quite got completed. Sigh.
I'll leave out the stories of fun with a Model-T spark coil connected to
my old 66 VW Squareback- one side of the secondary to the frame, the other
side to a chain that dragged the ground. The use for this setup should be
Well, now the yearn to get back into some HV stuff is at hand. I'm trying to
decide where to start. I don't just want to make sparks, I want to *learn*-
I want to be able to summon my math and physics skills that have been dormant
for so long (although helping my two oldest teens with their math homework
proves I'm still agile in that department).
I want to pick something small to start with so I can learn the TC basics-
try different gaps, primary sizes, positions, secondaries, caps, etc. I've
just about ruled out the neon sign xformer route for the moment... I'm looking
at either an oil burner xformer (23ma, 10kV) or maybe even automobile spark
coil(s) with a suitable driver transistor setup. Once I feel I've really
learned not just the 'how', but the *why* things work/don't work, then I'll
look at moving up to higher input currents- neon sign xformer then maybe,
some day, a 'pole pig'. One step at a time. This effort may take many
I don't really care- I just want to learn.
I've got a stock of acrylic plastic and the equipment to work with that,
so that should be a small help. Various junkboxes have all sorts of wire
and odds n' ends. Looks like if I use any kind of AC input I'm going to have
to scrounge a Variac somewhere.
Now that you experienced TC builders know what I'm trying to do, do you
have any suggestions about what size of TC I should start with?
Lee Roth - N8JQY