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Old 02-20-2013, 02:00 AM   #251
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Thanks for the tips, I still haven't decided exactly how I'm going to attach the toroid...
Probably a plastic bolt thru the end cap providade I can find one. Then I'll screw the wire directly to the toroid.
Else I'll use a regular screw and attach the wire to the screw like most coilers do. I'm trying to avoid doing that to both ends because of internal sparks.

I'll add more pictures as I build it but it'll take quite some time, with my dayjob I only get time for this at weekends :/

My original plan was building a dual-MOT SGTC but I'm glad I went for the SSTC, I really lack the tools to do anything that requires mechanical labor.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:54 AM   #252
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Oh so you are going the solid state route, you can just bolt on the topload then provided you use a round top bolt. There won't be any internal arcing; arcs from solid state non-DR coils are much less aggressive. You might still have the corona issue I mentioned with the HV end, but the bolt will be fine (that is how mine is attached).
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:11 PM   #253
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

How did you attach the bottom end to the ground cable?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:33 PM   #254
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

I used a bolt and a thumbscrew nut, some washers, and another nut. Remember you need to strip the enamel off each end of the secondary wire. Your ground connection should be as thick cable as possible, strapping is better, as this is a high current low voltage connection.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:34 AM   #255
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

OK! I'll try with a tin foil counterpoise before actually grounding it, though.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:50 AM   #256
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Hehe, be careful if you do the counterpoise test... when I did it with my "baby" 500W coil I set the table it was on aflame. The edges of the foil can have a high voltage gradient and it doesn't take much corona above 100W to ignite/carbon track wood or plastic. Granted, on that coil the primary was adjusted relatively far up the length of the secondary for high coupling for best output which resulted in an altered voltage distribution across the secondary compared to what is "normal".



I finally got some time today to work on further testing of my audio modulation for my big coil (which is now a full 2kW CW). Using the enable pins of the UCC chips is completely out the window. Driving the enable pins with anything over a couple kilocycles drops output power by an immense factor, something like 97% at best. At f0 on the enable pins I was able to get up to around 7% power with full input voltage. So, this rules out the "just not at the right pwn switching frequency" theory.

That being said I did find I can direct drive the coil without feedback as long as I am very close to f0. So now I just need to make an audio pwm circuit that can handle 166.6KHz. I was using a SG3525 chip initially which can only do up to 100KHz. I then rigged up an astable 555 on breadboard to 165KHz and fed that in to the antenna, and it ran the coil fine, albeit a bit noisily probably from some mains leakage or just not being right on f0, but the coil still operated fine. I'm pretty sure I can just ac-pass pump low level audio in to the pin 5 of a 555 to get audio pwm out, but I've never tried it. It will have to wait until I have more time to build that and scope it out. Then it will be a matter of hooking it all up again and testing it out on the coil.

I'm really not sure why I can't audio modulate via my enable pins when I know others have done so with no issue, but at least I'm finding a work-around. If only I had a car audio amp and a 120/12V transformer which could handle 17Amps on the 120v side I would just AM modulate the DC bus and get 4kW PEP output on modulation peaks. That would be one MEAN LOUD TC flame.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:07 PM   #257
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

LOL, I'll try it on a cemented ground then :P

Your problem with the enable pin is strange indeed, I've seen a lot of people using it for that... in fact that's what I intend(ed) to do!

As you said I was gonna feed 555's output to the enable pin of the UCCs (running on antenna or secondary base CT feedback, around 430kHz), with a base frequency around 20-40kHz and amplified audio fed to pin 5.
That does work quite well on flybacks but they're not as resonance critical as TCs.
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405nm Dilda from DX (o|81.5mW avg|200mW rtd)
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"low 445nm" C6 from Survival Lasers (o|1351mW pk|1289mW avg|1100mW rtd)
"high 450nm" Dominator by Blord (o|3010mW pk|2779mW avg during 5min)
520nm MXDL pen by DTR (.|31.6mW pk|28.8mW avg)
532nm module from DX (.|43.1mW avg|5mW rtd)
532nm NewWish from DX (.|28.6mW pk|26.8mW avg|10mW rtd)
532nm Classic from DX (o|120.0mW pk|103.1mW avg|100mW rtd)

532nm "The Green Box" - made from a broken DX 532nm 300mW NewWish by Atomic (.|176.7mW pk|140.0mW avg)
635nm NewWish from O-Like (.|4.6mW avg|5mW rtd)
638nm Classic from Lazerer (o|409.3mW pk|389.4mW avg|415mW rtd)
650nm Dilda from DX (o|216.3mW avg|200mW rtd)
685nm laser-in-a-box by Atomic (o|30.4mW pk|29.3mW avg)
780nm module from Ebay (.|1.8mW avg|5mW rtd)
808nm Classic - modded from a FocalPrice 532nm by Atomic (x|>200mW est)
[focus: .|fixed o|focusable x|unfocused][power: avg|average pk|peak rtd|rated est|estimated]

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Old 03-13-2013, 10:33 AM   #258
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Yeah I really expected it to work and was quite disappointed and shocked when it did not. I'm still not sure what exactly is going on and the folks at 4HV wouldn't touch it with a 10ft chicken stick.

If the modulation frequency on the enable pin rises above about 2kHz the coil's output drops off exponentially with frequency until within 2kHz of f0 where it starts to increase again. Right on f0 as close as a 555 can get I get about 90% output of normal, which makes sense as the phase difference between f0 feedback and modulation will cause output nulls in the form of beating.

3/17/13
Update: I was able to get some time in with my big coil and play around with a basic 555 interupter again, first time in months. I did a nice frequency response sweep from 10Hz to 1.5kHz on the enable pin. Longest arcs appear at ~90Hz and ~780Hz. At 90Hz the streamers are almost plant stem shaped with fluted thick sections every centimeter or so terminating in sword like sparks. At 780Hz a classic spider web / "banjo" effect is seen. Let me tell you... 1900W of 780Hz requires hearing protection. My ears are still ringing even with using ear plugs.

I also managed to track down the source of the noise when the variac is cranked up over about 80Vac; it is the DC bus "bottoming out" causing stuttering effects. 1800uF simply isn't enough for this bad boy. Good thing I'm using full wave rectification, I'd hate to see it on half wave. What I wouldn't do for a nice 50,000uF 400V cap and some high power diodes for a doubler circuit (I'm drawing 17.86A on the 110V line).
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:12 PM   #259
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Progress on my SSTC has been real slow. so far I've assembled the interrupter on a breadboard and tested it with a piezo speaker:


And wound the GDT:


And here's my bed with all the components waiting to be used:


To-do:
-Driver (already designed on Fritzing)
-Bridge
-Tin foil the toroid
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405nm NewWish from Ebay (.|29.1mW avg|5mW rtd)
405nm Dilda from DX (o|81.5mW avg|200mW rtd)
405nm 501B from Blord (o|500mW rtd)

"low 445nm" C6 from Survival Lasers (o|1351mW pk|1289mW avg|1100mW rtd)
"high 450nm" Dominator by Blord (o|3010mW pk|2779mW avg during 5min)
520nm MXDL pen by DTR (.|31.6mW pk|28.8mW avg)
532nm module from DX (.|43.1mW avg|5mW rtd)
532nm NewWish from DX (.|28.6mW pk|26.8mW avg|10mW rtd)
532nm Classic from DX (o|120.0mW pk|103.1mW avg|100mW rtd)

532nm "The Green Box" - made from a broken DX 532nm 300mW NewWish by Atomic (.|176.7mW pk|140.0mW avg)
635nm NewWish from O-Like (.|4.6mW avg|5mW rtd)
638nm Classic from Lazerer (o|409.3mW pk|389.4mW avg|415mW rtd)
650nm Dilda from DX (o|216.3mW avg|200mW rtd)
685nm laser-in-a-box by Atomic (o|30.4mW pk|29.3mW avg)
780nm module from Ebay (.|1.8mW avg|5mW rtd)
808nm Classic - modded from a FocalPrice 532nm by Atomic (x|>200mW est)
[focus: .|fixed o|focusable x|unfocused][power: avg|average pk|peak rtd|rated est|estimated]

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Old 03-25-2013, 10:56 AM   #260
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicrox View Post
Progress on my SSTC has been real slow. so far I've assembled the interrupter on a breadboard and tested it with a piezo speaker:


And wound the GDT:


And here's my bed with all the components waiting to be used:


To-do:
-Driver (already designed on Fritzing)
-Bridge
-Tin foil the toroid
Very Nice , good luck with the build , soon to see arcs we hope .

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Old 03-25-2013, 04:25 PM   #261
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Very nice progress guys!

Atomic: now comes the hardest part in my experience; taking a working design from breadboard to PCB and still have it work. (Don't run the driver hooked up to the resonator on the breadboard, breadboards are just huge capacitive arrays at RF).

Twirly/Ion 555: I've been following your updates on YT, excellent work! I REALLY want to make a VTTC but every time I check out approximate cost for just barebones parts the estimate number climbs close to $300, if not more. I mean hell, most power tubes are $50ea, with another $20 for the socket this side of the pond. Even the cheaper tube designs require a hefty (expensive) filament transformer capable of many amps and several doorknob caps (~$30ea). To add to it all I don't even have a suitable B+ supply other than a single MOT/MOC/MOD (which only suits an expensive tube) or an old 300Vac heathkit transformer (which isn't enough to suit "small" power tubes).

I'm in the process of making an open-loop unregulated 12-600V boost converter (already achieved stable 12 to 130V using a scrapbox inductor and no gate drive chip, tested on a 30kV thermionic valve diode, got 0.75mA plate current which isn't bad considering it is meant for >15kV) that I should be able to use for a B+ for some 6146A beam power tubes I have from an old Ham rig. I also have a suitable filament transformer for the 6146As. At best I could get about 60Watts per tube, which would make a nice small desktop VTTC. I just need to figure out how to put it all together (I know the rough scheme, but I don't know how to determine values for the grid leak system or filament RF bypass cap or anode to primary DC blocking cap, etc). Then it is just a matter of saving up for and sourcing all the caps, power resistors, and sockets.

By the way I recently spoke with Steve Connor (an expert in solid state TCs) and he suggests there may be RF getting back in to the small signal stages of my driver. Once I complete Po-210's driver I'm going to try a new method of RF shielding on it and put it to the test. The small form factor and RF immunity that allows may greatly improve performance.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:17 PM   #262
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurthr View Post
Very nice progress guys!
now comes the hardest part in my experience; taking a working design from breadboard to PCB and still have it work. (Don't run the driver hooked up to the resonator on the breadboard, breadboards are just huge capacitive arrays at RF).
There's nothing wrong with a breadboard coil
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:58 PM   #263
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Some guys have all the luck! When I tried it I blew the fets gates as RF got in to the GDT secondaries.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:56 PM   #264
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ionlaser555 View Post
Very Nice , good luck with the build , soon to see arcs we hope .

This was my latest Coil

Triac Interrupted Mini VTTC 811a - YouTube

811a VTTC secondary 2" x 2.5" , output 8.5 - 9.5 inches , harder to kill than Fets xD
Thanks! I'll do my best to get first light this weekend

That's a great VTTC, I love when small coils make a lot of sparks! Even more if they look swordish!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurthr View Post
Very nice progress guys!

Atomic: now comes the hardest part in my experience; taking a working design from breadboard to PCB and still have it work. (Don't run the driver hooked up to the resonator on the breadboard, breadboards are just huge capacitive arrays at RF).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurthr View Post
Some guys have all the luck! When I tried it I blew the fets gates as RF got in to the GDT secondaries.
Thanks! TBH I intend to test and optimize the coil with driver and interrupter on breadboard before moving to PCBs. I want to test many different designs before I commit to one
Hopefully it will work for m..

Did you hook the GDT secondaries to the breadboard? I intend to leave the GDT and everything "after it" soldered point to point.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:47 AM   #265
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Okay news time! I finished Po210's driver boards and gave it a shot. I ran in to troubles with the interruptor receiver section of the main board and discovered design issues which I forwarded on to Po210. That being said the actual function of the driver seems to operate rather well. My only complaint is that it does not start oscillation as nicely as my own design, but this may not be an issue with Po210's board as I've had this problem once before when trying a PLL based board.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:55 PM   #266
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Tried to get first light today... instead of sparks got a loud bang, a burnt up bridge and a black mark on my floor :/

Before it blew up the only output was lighting up a CFL some 40cm away.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:07 PM   #267
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomicrox View Post
Tried to get first light today... instead of sparks got a loud bang, a burnt up bridge and a black mark on my floor :/

Before it blew up the only output was lighting up a CFL some 40cm away.
I'd say it is time for pictures!!! Sounds like you might have forgotten to reverse the phase of the lower fet's gate drive and drove both transistors into cross-conduction. Either that or some major layout/wiring errors. Pics and a schematic please!

Edit: on second thought you said it was transmitting some RF, which would not happen during full cross-conduction. So you may still have shoot through (partial cross-conduction).


I finished my 4046PLL driver, hooked it up, and tuned for exact resonance (quite a bear of a process using a micro 10k 270deg trim pot for phase adjustment!) on my main SSTC. Excellent results were obtained! Up to 15" streamers @ 130Vdc bus voltage, fets running cool at full power, and I can even audio modulate now. Self-start oscillation is working beautifully thanks to the VCO and it seems to be tracking streamer loading well. No more noise or momentary hiccups in the arc. Very happy.

When I get some time I'm going to use PO210's driver for my mini coil after I give it some more tweaking. Either that or make a smaller version of my standard driver and use that.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:13 PM   #268
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Thanks for your help at 4HV! I can draw the schematics if you want but it's pretty much a mix of Po-210's driver with Steve Ward's interrupter and bridge.

I'm quite sure I got the phasing right. I did it according to oneTesla's manual.


Video of the audio modulated coil, please
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:43 PM   #269
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigurthr View Post
I'd say it is time for pictures!!! Sounds like you might have forgotten to reverse the phase of the lower fet's gate drive and drove both transistors into cross-conduction. Either that or some major layout/wiring errors. Pics and a schematic please!

Edit: on second thought you said it was transmitting some RF, which would not happen during full cross-conduction. So you may still have shoot through (partial cross-conduction).


I finished my 4046PLL driver, hooked it up, and tuned for exact resonance (quite a bear of a process using a micro 10k 270deg trim pot for phase adjustment!) on my main SSTC. Excellent results were obtained! Up to 15" streamers @ 130Vdc bus voltage, fets running cool at full power, and I can even audio modulate now. Self-start oscillation is working beautifully thanks to the VCO and it seems to be tracking streamer loading well. No more noise or momentary hiccups in the arc. Very happy.

When I get some time I'm going to use PO210's driver for my mini coil after I give it some more tweaking. Either that or make a smaller version of my standard driver and use that.
Nice Work , Do love the 4046 Ic's , i only managed 6 inch Arcs with mine though , Smoothed DC supply that is . plus a deformd secondary
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:13 PM   #270
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Here's the video:
Audio Modulated Phase-Locked-Loop SSTC - YouTube


The corona bush is about six inches tall with a couple of 8 inch spikes. If I drop the bus capacitance down to about 40uF (from the 1880uF shown in the video) I get 15" long spikes, but it is SUPER LOUD. I've got another 2200uF I need to add in at some point as well.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:03 PM   #271
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Cool!
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:43 AM   #272
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Just a minor update as well;

I managed to work the gremlins out of my Po-210 driver (not his fault, we think my ICs are slightly different than his and incompatible with his board's topology) and got it running very well with my modifications. I'll be using it with my small secondary once the toroid and bridge heatsink come in the mail from EVR. Hope to make a very portable table top coil out of it.

4.3.13: Got bored and made this from old parts:
http://youtu.be/JmyGG4kV328



Yes that is a water bottle I cut holes in for 1/4-20 bolts to make a spark gap out of. Secondary is 7" of 30ga on a 3.25" coilform, raised up about 5" off the table on some pvc couplings. Primary is 5 turns of 10ga on a 4.5" coilform. MMC is 17.7nF, NST is a 7.5/30, coupling is modeled as 0.124K. 7" multiple streamers.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:57 PM   #273
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Nice coil, Sig!
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:05 PM   #274
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Managed to get first light and about 5 runs of up to 30s before it blew up again:




This time I'm quite sure the high side gate resistor shorted to Vbus+ and the source pin of the MOSFET exploded (again). The rest of the bridge suffered minor damage and I think I'll be able to fix without rebuilding.



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"high 450nm" Dominator by Blord (o|3010mW pk|2779mW avg during 5min)
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:06 PM   #275
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Congratulations on first light! That is a milestone to enjoy. Now that you know your coil works in theory it is time to do some bulletproofing!

Now then; I am thinking that due to the use of a counterpoise you are getting capacitive coupling between secondary and primary which is causing dielectric breakdown between high side drain and gate as RF feeds back in to the high side fet. Either that or there was some physical touching of the gate resistor and the drain lead.

Run that long ground wire to a RF ground and ditch the counterpoise. I think at this point you've blown up more components than the spool of wire would have cost.

Increase the spacing between the pins of your fets by angling the gate pins about 45degrees outward off the left side of the fets. Do the same with the source pins out towards the right side of the fets. Lay the freewheeling diode parallel over the plane of the fet and make 90degree bends in the diode leads to interface it with the Drains and Sources. Do not use such thick wire terminations right at the body of the fets. I know you were aiming to keep inductance and resistance low by maximizing connection surface area, but keep in mind there is 1 to 2mm of pin length inside the plastic case of the fet that you cannot correct for. Yes it is ideal to minimize any unecessary additions to the length of thin conductor present, but another 2mm isn't going to cause the bridge to fail at TC frequencies. 2mm more spacing yeilds 2kV more voltage isolation. Leave 1 to 2mm of pin length between the body of the fet and the heavy gauge wire, and a cm or so of length on the freewheeling diodes won't hurt anything as this does not handle much current, it is only there to protect the fets from flyback voltage.

If you can, get some back to back zeners across gate and source of those fets! The two zener's anodes are connected together and one cathode goes to gate and the other to source. You want a low impedance disposable path for any spikes and short currents outside of your GDT. Every time the drain shorts to the gate you risk complet;y destroying your GDT. I don't know about you but I F^%$#ng hate winding toroids by hand. Lead lengths on the zeners are not critical, as they ideally will not carry any current.

Add a very sharp breakout point to the toroid.

Place a snubber capacitor (2x DC Bus voltage, 0.1 to 1uF, film, foil, or ceramic type capacitor) across the high side fet Drain and low side fet Source.



Here are some photos of my latest half bridge. This thing is SOLID. If I had a higher voltage bridge rectifier I could run it off a doubler easily. Runs for 10min at 2.2kW before getting hot to the touch with no fan. Get as much info out of the construction as you can, the only thing better than this design would be laminated bus with actual bus bars with the caps closer to the fets (tight bend radii of stranded 10ga is hard to do).






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