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[DPRG] Spark Generator Ladder

Subject: [DPRG] Spark Generator Ladder
From: Rick Bickle rbickle at intconsys.com
Date: Fri Apr 6 12:26:30 CDT 2012

Hey, if it can't kill you, it's not nearly as much fun.


I've always wanted to build a tesla coil. I have a couple of neon sign
transformers and a few machine tools. Got any good designs for a Tesla coil?


BTW, I now have a 4'x4' CNC plasma table and 5hp CNC mill online. Working
now on a 4'x4' router table.




From: dprglist-bounces at dprg.org [mailto:dprglist-bounces at dprg.org] On Behalf
Of Ron Grant
Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2012 7:27 PM
To: DPRGlist at dprg.org
Subject: Re: [DPRG] Spark Generator Ladder


Sign transformers are nice because they run at line frequency (60 Hz -- at
least the old style) and produce a pleasing sound. They also have typically
enough power to generate the heat need to carry the arc upward. Adding a
capacitor in parallel with the transformer transforms the arc into a noisy
evil beast. e.g. few square feet of foil or thin metal attached to each side
3/16" plate glass with plenty of margin around edges.

Typical sign transformer is 12KV at 30mA which does not sound like much, but
it is. I remember my brother kicking a table 3 feet in the air when getting

For my high school fun, I used a 15KV 60 mA transformer which was quite a
beast.  Made nice Jacob's Ladder and drove a Tesla coil nice too --  2000
turns of magnet wire on 3 feet of PVC  with 20 turn primary coupled via
spark gap to transformer parallel with above mentioned capacitor.  3 to 4
foot arcs discharged into air. Pretty wicked (~300 to 400 KV ) . I never got
shocked by the transformer, because I am writing this post.

One note: messing with big capacitors and inductors fried a nice handful of
wimpy transformers, Inductive voltage spikes and all.


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