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Re: [TCML] All of my tesla coil questions (for now)

On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 7:47 PM, Nicholas J. Goble <ngoble@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> I figure I should introduce myself.  I'm a sophomore in college,
> studying business.  I have only a basic college level physics course
> under my belt, but I've read a lot about Tesla coils on the Internet.
> I've always enjoyed building things and impressing people with them.  I
> think the most fun is building them though.  My plan is to build a
> small to medium coil over the summer.
> Instead of filling the archives and your inboxes with multiple
> questions that are unknown to me but second nature to everyone else,
> I'll just clump them all in one big message.  Here are all my
> questions; hopefully someone can answer them:
> 1) Do I NEED a Terry filter?  I know they protect the transformer, but
> I don't know how they work and what happens if I don't use one.

Don't need it, just a good idea.  I would say that you do want to have
some kind of filtering for your circuit.

> 2) Do I NEED a saftey gap?  Again, I know they protect the transformer,
> but I'm in the dark as to how they work and what will happen if I don't
> use one.

Yes, you need a saftey gap.

> 3) How much should I plan on spending on a transformer (approx 10KV,
> 30mA)?  I don't want overpay because of inexperience.

Pull out the phone book and call up neon sign shops in your area.  Ask
them if they have any used Neon sign transformers that they'd be
willing to sell.  Tell them it's for a 'school project'.  I made the
mistake of going to ebay first instead of checking locally.  You're
likely to find a much better deal locally, and you don't have to pay a
lot to ship the transformer.

> 4) How do I construct an MMC?  What type of circuitry do I use?  I
> can't find any concrete information on MMC's.

MMCs are made of a bunch of small capacitors.  You string several
together in series then put several strings in parallel.   May people
recommend bleeder resistors, but those arne't really necessary unless
you're running a DC coil.  Your NST, will act as a bleeder resistor.

> 5) Instead of building an MMC, whould it be cheaper and/or more
> effective to build a plate capacitor out of just window glass and some
> other metal?

Cheaper, absolutely, more effective, definitely not.

> 6) This was my plan for a spark gap: Have 2 rods (preferably Tungsten)
> form a gap inside a PVC pipe and have a fan or blower at one or both
> ends.  Will this be sufficient?  Would a rotary gap be better?  I just
> don't want to be replacing the rods every time I fire this thing up.

> 7) Should I use insulated, magnetic wire on the secondary coil?

You want insulated magnet wire.

> My biggest fear is that my coil doesn't work after all the time and
> effort I invest into it.

If you plan everythign well you can have success from the start.
Often times your first coil will be a little disappointing.

 My second biggest fear is that it dies
> shortly after I put it together.  My third biggest fear is that I die
> from it.  I'm pretty sure I can be safe around electricity.  Just don't
> touch the thing when the cap is charged or it's plugged in, right?
> These are all my questions for now.  I appreciate all of your past and
> future answers.  This has been an extremley helpful listserve.  Thanks
> Nicholas Goble
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