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Tesla coil questions

Discussion in 'Misc Electronics' started by jriegle, Oct 18, 2003.

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  1. jriegle

    jriegle Guest

    I find the Web to be a great source of Tesla coil design information, but
    some questions I haven't found answers. Here goes...

    Q1) Why is the primary typically a pancake coil set at the very bottom of
    the secondary tower? Why not a concentric cylindrical coil?

    My best guess that why the coil is at the bottom is to keep it as far away
    from the top of the secondary as possible to keep the streamers off of it as
    much as possible. No idea why the pancake coil is used.

    Q2) What secondary wire gage is optimal? One site recommends #20 wire
    because of the lower resistance thus higher Q of the circuit. Others use #24
    wire just fine.

    Q3) Building the coils will be the cheapest and easiest part for me,
    therefore, I will do this part first. Before I build the supply, I will use
    my high voltage supply that gets its juice from a 9v DC 300ma wall wart. The
    output is from a flyback transformer and is DC. It will charge up a
    capacitor I made out of aluminum foil and Mylar film and make a deafening
    crack from a 1" spark. It takes a few seconds for the capacitor to charge.
    I'm wondering if streamers will be emitted, although only a flash, if the
    coil is pulsed only every few seconds rather than at a higher rate than the
    high power supplies.

    Thanks for any help, John
    czecht likes this.
  2. Don Bruder

    Don Bruder Guest

    They *CAN* be made both ways, but the explanation I've always heard, and
    understand best, is that a pancake coil offers better inductive coupling
    at the operating frequency, resulting in more efficient energy transfer
    to the secondary, better performance overall, while maintaining maximum
    isolation of primary and secondary. (So dodging the arcs is a PART of
    the reason)

    That would be variable, and depend on your *EXACT* design and
    operational goals. All other things being equal, smaller wire = more
    turns in smaller space = better energy transfer into secondary = better
    overall performnce. Trouble is, it seems that when winding a Tesla coil,
    "all other things" seldom turn out to be either equal or optimal! :)

    I'm thinking (not certain, since I don't know any of the rest of the
    details of yout particular coil setup) that you'll probably cook off
    your wall wart (and maybe more of your power supply circuit besides) the
    first time you try to fire the coil.
  3. I thought _all_ TC questions were answered on the Web. Not much left
    to the imagination, is there? Besides, there are a lot of websites
    with builder/operators of TCs that you could contact thru email.
    Some coils are conical. Dunno why.
    Depends on how big the TC is. What did you have in mind? I've played
    with - literally held my hand to - desktop sized TC toys when I was
    young. They use much smaller wire than the ten foot monsters we see
    <Crocodile Dundee> _That's_ not a Tesla Coil, _This_ is a Tesla Coil!

    @@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@,@@[email protected]@[email protected],@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@
    ###Got a Question about ELECTRONICS? Check HERE First:###
    My email address is whitelisted. *All* email sent to it
    goes directly to the trash unless you add NOSPAM in the
    Subject: line with other stuff. alondra101 <at>
    Don't be ripped off by the big book dealers. Go to the URL
    that will give you a choice and save you money(up to half). You'll be glad you did!
    Just when you thought you had all this figured out, the gov't
    changed it:
    @@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@@

    hosts an excellent mailing list. But read the FAQ first,
    and check out as many of the sites in the webring as you
    can. Many tutorials and plans available, for free.
    All kinds of arguments involving flux distribution,
    coupling, impedance, and like that, as well as ducking those
    nasty primary strikes.
    "Ten foot monsters"? See below...

    But yeah, it seems mainly to do with how much power you
    plan to shove through the secondary.

    No, you won't get streamers, you need to "ring" the thing
    much more often to get decent streamer growth. A wallwart
    won't cut it.
    Crikey, an impostor! _That's_ not a Tesla Coil, _This_ is
    a Tesla Coil!

    <about a third of the way down, mate>

    Mark L. Fergerson
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