[TCML] Tim's Qs was: can you connect the secondary *directly* to
btmeehan at gmail.com
Fri Nov 16 20:39:03 MST 2007
Thanks for the advice!
I heard so much bad stuff about the wood for the spark gap, so I ditched it
and got a scrap piece of delrin and bored some holes in it for the spark gap
(until I get a better one at the hardware store this weekend).
I have 2 foil capacitors (I guess - they aren't electrolytic, and they
aren't the pancake shaped ceramic ones ... they are about the size of a
cigarette lighter). They are 0.01 microfarad 8kV rated, in series, so I
figued that they were 0.005 microfarad 16kV or so. (Now that you guys
mention it - I never checked the capacitance to see if it was punched
The NST is 120V pri / 9000 V sec, 30mA, 270 VA. I am using a Variac to vary
the input also.
I went back to measure the secondary. It is 989 turns of 28AWG on a
1.5inch diameter phenolic tube. The height of the windings is about
12.5 inches and there is 1 inch of tube above and below the windings.
JAVATC said that it should have a Q in my configuration near 200.
I have a nice topload - a spun aluminum toroid from (
http://hometown.aol.com/futuret/page1.html) which measures roughly 2.5 inch
minor diameter, 6 inch major diameter.
I went back and ran with a ground connection to the secondary and got no
sparks again, so I decided that I would scrap my primary and go back to the
drawing board with JAVATC. When I ran it with the "tune my coil" box
checked and a test helical primary I noticed something else that was
probably messing me up. JAVATC said that with a 2-inch radius primary coil
I should have 6.8 turns, and that the inductance of the primary coil
was 5.7microhenry, and with 2 feet of primary leads (that were
0.857 microhenry) ... however I had a lot more than 2 feet of cable there -
I had about 5 feet, and I coiled it up to prevent it from getting tangled up
and in the way ... so the primary leads probably had at least as much
inductance as the primary coil if not more.
So, I'm probably going to be making some nicer secondary stands, and a
better RF ground needs to be located ...
Thanks for all the tips
On Nov 16, 2007 11:05 AM, <Mddeming at aol.com> wrote:
> Hi Tim,
> A complete answer to your questions will require more information than
> you provided. See comments interspersed below:
> In a message dated 11/16/07 1:56:03 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,
> btmeehan at gmail.com writes:
> "This is my first tesla coil, I built it without consulting any sensible
> source of information on the web."
> This is far more common than you'd think.
> "All I had was a healthy respect (fear) of high voltage and a neon sign
> A little fear and a lot of respect is healthy at this point. What voltage
> NST? What current rating?
> "I made a spark gap out of two screws and a u-shaped block of wood."
> NOT GOOD! At ~10 kV and above, wood, with any degree of humidity, is
> CONDUCTIVE!! Several heavy coats of varnish or polyurethane helps, but
> it's still
> better to use HDPE or similar plastic. For your gap, use 2 brass bolts
> head to
> head, or two round brass lamp finials, or two brass drawer pulls, or two
> round brass door knobs, etc. You can also use short sections of copper
> pipe in
> parallel but your sum of all gaps should not exceed 2kVrms/mm. Also use
> of air flow, vacuum cleaner, fan, pressure hose, etc.
> "The choke coils are wound on a 3.5" long 3/8" diameter slugs of ferrite
> and they had a 1millihenry reading on the LCR meter at the office. I put
> there to protect the NST, but I
> have since found out from members of this list that there are much better
> ways to do that."
> Ditch the choke coils, use a terry filter if you can, but at least use a
> safety gap. See the archives for details.
> "The secondary that I built had a 1.5" diameter, 10" tall and has a first
> resonance at about 500kHz. I used the frequency generator to drive the
> of the secondary and read the peak from an oscilloscope probe used as an
> This is smaller diameter than most people build, but it's not bad for a
> first time. Without knowing what size wire and how many turns, it's not
> to analyze.
> "The primary is 15 turns in a flat coil with an inside diameter that is
> away from the base of the secondary coil (3.5" diameter). The primary
> circuit and the NST are not grounded at all."
> Again, without knowing the spacing between turns, wire or tube size, or
> outer diameter, there's not enough to analyze. If this is fastened to a
> board and/or your using metallic fasteners, you probably have a high
> resistance short circuit or two.
> "The capacitor is a 1 uF 20 kV rating that I borrowed from someone at the
> office. I did let them know that there was a fairly good chance it might
> come back alive."
> What type - mylar, mica, foil, film, ceramic, etc?? NOTE: Your cap
> rating should be not less than twice the output of your transformer. If
> have a 12 or 15 kV NST you may have already punctured your cap.
> "I have a crude
> ASCII art drawing, (obviously this only works with fixed width font):
> | | | o
> | v | |
> NST PRI SEC
> | ^ | |
> | | | |
> Ditch the chokes and add a safety gap. The general layout is OK. You
> have a least a Variac with a switch and a fuse for safety and control as
> minimum. You can add metering, safety lockouts, contactors, etc as
> permit, and as your lust for power grows. (And it WILL!)
> "It never sparked, however I have more enthusiasm than smarts for RF ...
> I also had the spark gap about 1/4" apart, and when it ran there were big
> cloudlike angry blue sparks ..."
> Depending on the size of your NST, that may or may not have been too
> as mentioned above.
> You may indeed have blown the cap and are now feeding all your power into
> the gap.
> "I am guessing that I am breaking about 20 good design rules at this
> so I sought help before I shocked myself or blew up my secondary coil."
> You got here, and enlightenment does not care which door you came through
> how long your journey was.
> "I am open to all criticism of the design, or pointers - I have found
> some of
> the online resources for design such as JAVATC, etc. and I'll probably
> start working on version two using some of the designs that I see on
> pages ..."
> Copying designs, even good ones, without understanding what or why, could
> VERY hazardous to your health. Ask many more questions, read more on the
> principles and safety, and make haste very slowly.
> Thanks again,
> Matt D.
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