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Re: [TCML] what's the difference between a power supply and transformer

On 5/29/11 8:43 AM, James Hutton wrote:

hello coilers,I have a question about the difference between a power
supply, and a neon transformer.I have heard that neon power supplies
are completely useless for tesla coils.

If you're talking about the high frequency inverter things, yes, they're not useful for a Tesla coil. For the usual spark gap coil, you need something that provides essentially a constant current to charge the tank capacitor that is periodically interrupted (to make sure the primary gap quenches eventually). A neon sign transformer is pretty close to what you need in a small power (the other alternative is a pole transformer with an external ballast inductor).

 I was just wondering if this
is true, and why.I am trying to make a very compact/ small tesla coil
for my school and I have very limited space, so obviously a 30lbs
neon transformer wont do.Does a neon power supply just give bad
results? or does it completely not work?

It completely won't work. Not only does the output of the usual neon power supply come out as a few tens of kHz square wave, but they're not very robust in terms of the transients fed back to them from the TC circuitry. The neon power supplies are very much designed to feed a gas glow tube: high strike voltage, and then constant current at a few hundred volts to keep the tube lit up.

I also need this to be a
common spark gap tesla coil, so i cant get into all that mosfet sstc
stuff.and please note that i'm young so i dont know that much.thanks
for any help!

If you want smaller, you can try an oil burner ignition transformer (OBIT).. a few tens of mA at a few kV.

However, you should easily be able to do something like a 9kV/30mA transformer in a small tabletop coil.
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