[TCML] My first Tesla coil
stamsund at earthtones.com
Fri Jun 13 13:40:18 MDT 2008
I built a Tesla coil back in the early sixties based somewhat loosely on a 1964 article in Popular Electronics. The secondary was a phenolic tube 5 ½ inches in diameter and approximately 36 inches high, coiled with 24 gauge enameled wire. The primary was wound with poorly insulated #10 wire. I used (4) WW2 surplus US Navy electrolytic DC Capacitors loaded with PCB . They were 25KV cans approximately 5"X14"wideX15'high and weighed at least 40 lbs each. I used a crude spark gap fashioned from heavy copper wire. I set up the coil in a large garage and when I powered it up it roared and sputtered and lit up all the fluorescent light fixtures in the building. My friends were dumfounded at my genius and referred to me as the neighborhood mad scientist.
The man who owned the local military electronic surplus store, who sold me the capacitors listened to my ramblings about the fantastic display and gave me dire warnings about the possibility that the capacitors might explode from the way I was using them. I then built a shielded cage from heavy plywood and acrylic windows so I could observe the phenomenon with some degree of safety, not realizing that had the capacitors exploded, the cage would most likely be shattered and PCB laden shrapnel would be everywhere including imbedded in yours truly.
Fortunately, the primary coil shorted and caught fire and the experiment ended.
I still have the secondary coil and the NST. "Unfortunately", the capacitors have been recycled as hazardous waste.
I'm now much older and wiser and much, much more cautious. I'm planning to build another coil using scientific methods and advice from experts like those on this board. But like that foolish youth many years ago I'm still fascinated by Nicholas Tesla and his profound and prophetic genius.
Rob Robertsen, KA7YAK
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