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Original poster: "Metlicka Marc by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-uswest-dot-net>" <mystuffs-at-orwell-dot-net>

while i don't agree with shad on getting a free pt if you can, (i'm sure
you already know your going to take it) i do agree with him on the
starting slow and low.
just to let you understand, i have owned both pt's and pigs for about
three years now. i started with nst's and after maybe a year i moved up
to using one of my 300-1 pt's. this was a very costly upgrade, as shad
stated, caps, ballast, ect. are very costly for higher voltages and
i have yet to power one of my pigs in continuous tc service. after
melting down a 20 amp variac my first attempt (also a costly lesson) i
decided that much, much more needed to be learned and have been
gathering parts, reading, asking and thinking about it even now.
i have finally gotten enough confidence in my knowledge and ability to
put all the pieces together for the pig powered systems that up until
now were great dreams. it is nice to have the pt or pig in the garage,
under the bed or on the coffee table so you can look at it, fondle it,
kiss it good night so large sparkly dreams always fill the nights (did i
do that?), but start it low and take it slow. get a good grip on the
fundamentals of what is going on with your coil, what every change to
the configuration will do so that even before you do it you will be able
to fairly accurately tell what the outcome will be. 
i think that your science fair presentation will be much more impressive
and awe inspiring if you can explain why the streamer length gets
shorter if you tap out, alter the coupling by just a fraction of an inch
or move the taps on your static gap in for a lower bang size.
long streamers are impressive, but anyone with a pig and a bit of luck
can get them. it is the knowledge that you will hold in your head that
separates you from the rest of the fair.
good luck and be safe.


Tesla list wrote:
> Original poster: "sundog by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-uswest-dot-net>"
> Hi Drew,
> I'm not going to lie to you.  A PT or pig is not a good choice for a
> beginner coiler.  Besides being lethal, they must be ballasted properly and
> generally reqiure higher quallity components than an NST based coil.  (caps,
> gap, etc).
>  I know it won't make me popular, but I say don't get a PT or polepig.  An
> NST system can drive 4-5' sparks, and isa *whole* lot safer, simpler (no
> ballast, no need for heavy duty contactors), runs on 120v (a PT or pig will,
> but that's besides the point), and easier on components.  Gain experience,
> get a few good-sized coils build and running well.  Once you've got
> experience running coils get a PT or pig and give it a try.  It isn't that I
> don't want you to make big sparks, it's not wanting you to get zapped from
> inexperience.  A pig or PT won't hesitate to make you very dead, and will do
> so indescriminately to newbies, amatuers, average or professional coilers.
> The only saving grace working with them is knowledge and experience.