[TCML] Displaying Tesla Coil in Shopping Mall
steve.ward at gmail.com
Mon Feb 13 10:18:10 MST 2012
I'll try to offer up some useful input here since doing live tesla
coil shows is my "job" now.
On Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM, Jim <electrical at triad.rr.com> wrote:
> Hello Friends,
> I hope 2012 is finding you well.
> There is a Makers Fair in my town at the local mall and I have been asked to
> display my Tesla coil. Could you guys give me some guidelines and answer
> some questions about this project?
> 1) Are there some safety issues that I have to be concerned about? The coil
> uses 2 - 9000-volt neon sign transformers, pulls 540-watts and puts out
> about 30 streamers.
Well certainly you want some sort of barricade around your equipment
to keep people away from the electrical hazard. Ideally this would be
some sort of "bicycle" fence, but in many cases just roping off the
area has to be settled for. You should have the ability to turn off
the power to the tesla coil in an instant. The operator should be set
up with a clear view of the tesla coil and the surrounding audience
just in case someone gets overly curious and breaks the designated
boundry, they can shut it off. If you do have to simply rope off the
area, then id leave plenty of margin around the tesla coil, say 15 to
20 feet if space permits.
> 2) Right now I am using a ground rod underneath the coil for coil grounding.
> This will not be possible at the mall. Is there a recommended method for
> grounding my coil?
I prefer to lay out large sheets of aluminum window screen on the
floor below the coil. For a coil your size, id probably suggest a
12'x8' area made with two, 4 foot wide sheets of screen that are 12
feet long. Connect your coil's ground to the screen. I personally
connect my RF ground to mains ground (though i run solid state systems
exclusively) due to lack of isolated RF grounds at any of our venues.
This seems to be fine for us.
> 3) Last but not least, should I get some insurance and sign some kind of
> agreement with the mall owners?
Im not sure what the right answer is here. I would hope the maker
faire has some sort of blanket insurance for all the stuff going on
there. Our group does have insurance, but it likely wouldnt be
economical for you to pay for it. The insurance itself costs us
something over $1k per year, which isnt much for us, but i think a
quote for a single event was still in the hundreds of dollars range.
I'd personally take the risk and do the faire without any insurance,
but i'd be very careful about my setup and safety (mainly 2 points,
proper clearance and visibility around the tesla coil, and the ability
to instantly remove power from the system).
For about 98% of the shows we never have an incident with public
safety... but on about 2 events ive seen an audience member do
something really stupid, like try to run up to see the tesla coils "up
close". Of course we kill the power long before they make it anywhere
near them so we have never actually had anyone get hurt.
> Thanks a bunch. You guys helped me build this coil 5 - years ago. It has
> been running greatly without a hitch for the last 5 - years without any
> protection devices installed.
> Best To All!!!
> Tesla mailing list
> Tesla at pupman.com
More information about the Tesla