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Old 01-02-2015, 01:53 AM #1297
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Today I built a beer bottle array. 9 bottles. 2 hours of work. Only 5.8nf. Seriously. This is going to take a long time.

I'm gonna need like 45 bottles from the way things are looking.

Anyways, is it possible to wire different capacitors in parallel, such as beer bottle caps, and then adds some plate caps, as longs as each can take the voltage?

Also, can I use 2 liter soda bottles for the caps? I wouldn't need so many.

I don't even own a wire stripper! I use a knife or scissors. So tomorrow, you know what I'm buying!


Edit: Oh, and I have another question. Do I need to use RF chokes? People say to put wire wrapped bick pens to protect the transformer.

Also, do I need a safety spark gap? Would that just be a small gap across either side of the capacitor terminals, that doesn't usually fire, just when high voltage kickback occurs?



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Old 01-02-2015, 04:41 AM #1298
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

You can parallel caps of different types as long as the voltage is tolerable for all of them .

2L bottles don't tend to work well, they explode or catch fire from the stress. Beer bottles are the way to go. Make sure the water is salty enough too!

Forget using chokes. It's just nonsense.

Safety gap is fine to use and doesn't hurt anything.
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Old 01-02-2015, 04:59 AM #1299
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

But I would need 45 beer bottles. 9 beer bottles is only ~5nf and one soda bottle 2 liter soda bottle is 4nf. It took ten minutes to make the soda bottle on, and two hours to make the beer bottle capacitor array.

I don't know if they'll explode if I leave the cap off. They need ~160 psi to explode. They could melt though. They need ~160 F to melt. What a coincidence!

I suppose I can try different types and see. I'll probably get some output to start, and experimenting is always possible.

Right now my bank is at 13.2nf.

Edit: Also, is the spark gap or terry filter really needed, if there's no chance the arc will hit the primary? Like if the arcs are 6 inches and there is no way for it to reach?

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Old 01-02-2015, 08:42 PM #1300
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

The safety gap and terry filter aren't for a primary strike. Nothing protects from a primary strike besides preventing it with a strike rail.

A terry filter stops RF from getting into the NST but it literally does nothing if your spark gaps are set correctly.

The safety gap prevents your capacitors from being overvolted by a misfire on the main gap.

Make a safety gap, don't worry about anything else. Make sure both gaps are parallel in the circuit with your power supply. The old TC circuit which has a series park gap kills power supplies.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:20 PM #1301
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Should it be bigger or smaller than the regular spark gap? So it's like having two spark gaps, why wouldn't the arc just jump across the smaller one. I guess it needs to be set so the breakdown voltage is above the regular gap, but below the breakdown voltage of the capacitors?
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:59 PM #1302
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Exactly. It's for just in case the main one fails to fire for any reason. You set it slightly wider than the main one.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:31 PM #1303
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Okay I'm hard at work. Today I fabricated the topload. I haven't even measured it yet. Anyways, as you said (Sigurthur), I have built a safety gap (took 15 minutes!) on plexiglass, on top of wood. In the picture of it, you can see a possible problem. Although the gap is insulated by the plexiglass, the screws touch the metal and go down to the wood. Is this a problem?

Also, is the top load to big or bumpy. It really looks cool. I put aluminum tape over it, and used a hard metal pan (not a disposable pie pan) in the middle. Then I drilled a hole and attached it to the upper bolt. There now is continuity between the top load and ground.

The 12 gauge wire I'm using is only rated for 600v so I'm insulating hv parts with vinyl tubing.

The last image is of my smaller flyback powered tesla, that can out put almost 2 inch arcs to ground. And just corona otherwise. Kind of purple plasma. No air sparks. I haven't even tuned it yet (because I don't know how to without an oscilloscope).

Speaking of tuning, how do you tune it without a oscilloscope.

Edit: Also on the toroid, you can see a few places I forgot to tape. Doing that now! Oh and if I didn't already say, it's three inch flexible metal duct.

Oh and, everyone who has helped so far, thanks for helping. I would have never gotten even this far without the advice you guys have given me.

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Old 01-02-2015, 11:49 PM #1304
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Replace the bottom bolts with nylon or replace the wood with a cheap plastic cutting board or Tupperware. That wood will probably catch fire that way (not at first, it will just eat power for a while ).

Topload looks good. Smooth it over with more foil if you can or use a breakout point.

Tuning; use JavaTC calculator to get a ballpark range of how many primary turns are needed and move the outside radius connection to that point. Move the connection a few inches with the coil totally unplugged and the gap shorted (safety) and turn on again. Repeat until best output observed.
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Old 01-03-2015, 12:22 AM #1305
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Okay. Things are coming to a close. I'm working on obtaining a transformer.

What I've decided to do is this. Add another layer of plexiglass underneath the other one, that way the screws won't touch the wood. They aren't long enough.

And then screw the bottom sheet of plexiglass to the board. Or glue it with gorilla glue. Will that work?
Also, I need to make more capacitors.

Problem is, Christmas break is over Monday and things will slow down to at least a quarter the speed of progress I'm making now.

Edit: Ever day now I work about 1-2 hours on it throughout the day, but when school starts, I'll be lucky to take half an hour when I get home from school.

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Old 01-03-2015, 02:37 AM #1306
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

I think it looks great!

The HV can't touch any wood, it never works!

progress has slowed for me too, I'm out of state for work
and I'm almost done with my upgrades
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Old 01-03-2015, 02:52 AM #1307
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

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Originally Posted by nospin View Post
I think it looks great!

The HV can't touch any wood, it never works!

progress has slowed for me too, I'm out of state for work
and I'm almost done with my upgrades
Thanks. I can't wait to see it work. I wonder how long the streamers will be. What really sucks is I can't even test it a little because I haven't got a transformer yet.

..........But I will get one soon. Believe me. I've gotten this far. I can't give up now!
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:04 AM #1308
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

My primary isn't perfectly round like it was purchased. Is that a problem? And it only has like 8 turns 1/4 inch copper wire with no strike rail.
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Old 01-03-2015, 10:47 AM #1309
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Nah it doesn't matter if the primary isn't "pretty". The magnetic field doesn't care about looks.
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:58 PM #1310
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

The computer fan isn't powerful enough to quench the arc, so I found a way to make it more powerful (at least in one spot). I tape it into a modified tissue box to funnel the air pressure out one hole.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:23 PM #1311
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

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I wonder how long the streamers will be.
Rough rule of thumb is 1ft of arc per 500W.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:45 PM #1312
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Default Re: Tesla Coil Build Thread

Seriously. That sucks. I saw someone though, with a 6kv 30ma tesla coil, putting out about 9 inch streamers. That is like 180 watts.

All I want is this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sllH2UQI_eA It is 100 watt.

If you add a bigger NST do you get more output? Does voltage or current matter? Would the 6kv 30ma NST I link put out enough to make streamers like the video I linked?

I'm afraid my topload is too big. It's 14 inches X 3

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