Jumping in with both feet?

From:  D.C. Cox [SMTP:DR.RESONANCE-at-next-wave-dot-net]
Sent:  Friday, January 30, 1998 12:54 AM
To:  Tesla List
Subject:  Re: Jumping in with both feet?

to:  Steve

A good idea is to invite them over for a BBQ and show off your coil to
their kids.  They will all have fun and usually ignore an occasional glitch
in their TV or stereo reception if they think you are taking an active
interest in the education of their children.  Be sure to provide free soda
and BBQ -- the process is a lot cheaper than having them call the cops
because they think some "weirdo" is going to burn down their neighborhood. 
A small amount of friendliness always goes a long way.  Our neighbors
always drop by once a year for our annual open house and enjoy the show
with munchies!!!


> From: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
> To: 'Tesla List' <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
> Subject: Jumping in with both feet?
> Date: Thursday, January 29, 1998 10:24 PM
> ----------
> From:  SBJohnston-at-aol-dot-com [SMTP:SBJohnston-at-aol-dot-com]
> Sent:  Thursday, January 29, 1998 4:35 PM
> To:  tesla-at-pupman-dot-com
> Subject:  re: Jumping in with both feet?
> Hi listers:
> Well, I've rolled my "dead man's coil" out into the driveway and I'm
ready to
> crank it up.   I'll record the results here as I go...
> With just the bolt protruding out of the ceramic top insulator, full 11
> on the primary, and the spark gap set to 0.100 inch, I had a couple
inches of
> tiny, but lovely, corona discharge at about 50% on the variac.   Any
> on the input voltage and the top wires of the secondary began to flash.
> Dropping to the 9-turn tap on the primary (should be better tuned with my
> four caps in parallel) dramatically increased the discharge from the
bolt, as
> well as the tendency for the top wires to discharge for the same variac
> setting.
> Widening the spark gap greatly increased the size of the discharge, but
> changed its character from a continuous sizzle to a rythmic snapping. 
> performance seemed to be at about 0.250 inches gap.  Hmmm....seems
> I'm surprised at the loudness of the sound, particularly when the gap is
> and the snaps are more distinct.  Then again, I've always been surprised
> I've heard a high voltage zap in one of my transmitters (of course, none
> the those were desired, and usually involved the destruction of some
> expensive components!).
> I tried the 6"x8" metal dome top-load but it seemed to suppress the
> discharge.  Perhaps that's normal - maybe if it had a nearby object to
> to...?
> I then tried about 8" of solid wire pointing straight up.  WOW! What a
> display!  The sharp point concentrated the discharge nicely, resulting in
> beautiful round ball of streamers about 15-24" in diameter depending on
> E.  At about 75% on the variac it was up to 30" diameter but the top
wires of
> the secondary were beginning to join in.
> At this point I notice the neighbors are beginning to come to their
> windows... 
> Next I brought the tip of a grounded 8' aluminum antenna element into the
> near field - and was rewarded with 24" solid strikes instead of the
> discharge.  It was interesting to see how the voltage builds, then POW,
>  builds then POW,  builds then POW,  builds then POW.  
> Now the neighbors are out of their houses and coming toward me.   I don't
> any pitchforks or torches, but still...  Should I pretend I know nothing:
>   "What sparks?  I was just cleaning out the garage.  Oh, that old thing?
>  No, no, it couldn't have been doing that".
> No, I didn't have to face them -- they were just setting out their
> cans.  Well, I'm sure they were trying to get a closer look at what I'm
> to.   
> That's enough excitment for tonight.  I guess my next step is to
construct a
> toroidal discharge terminal.  Am I right in thinking that it will
> the buildup of voltage prior to discharge?  Will it suppress streamers in
> favor of arcs/strikes?    I need to read more... off to the archives.
> Steve Johnston
> sbjohnston-at-aol-dot-com
> I guess my next