1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Tesla Coil Help

  1. Mar 31, 2010 #1
    Hello everybody! :D
    Im building a tesla coil for a science fair and needed some help with it. For the toroid, I got a rubber pipe which I intend to bend to a toroid and wrap with aluminum tape. Will this work? How will it be different if I use a metallic sphere?
    Also, for the spark gap, should I use thick bolts or thinner ones?

    Some details about my coil:
    Transformer- NST, 9kV, 30 mA
    Secondary coil- 0.5mm copper wire, about 600 turns
    Primary- 1/4 inch copper tubing. 6 turns

    I might use this thread to post more questions in the future. Any help would be great! :D

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2010 #2
    I recommend following the instructions that you found to build the project first and then doing variations later. An aluminum tape toroid will probably make a decent terminal if that is what you are talking about. But a Tesla coil is high frequency apparatus and too much capacitance loading it can actually reduce the voltage. This is difference from say an electrostatic machine like a Van de Graff generator where you want as large a spherical terminal as possible. So for this reason I suggest that whatever terminal the instructions specify should be used to insure that the device will start out working properly.
  4. Apr 3, 2010 #3
    Okay. The "source-guy" used a can hammered into a dome shape lol :P.
    I have more questions.. I hope you dont mind-
    What are the things I can demonstrate using a tesla coil? I was planning on a lighting up tube lights, wirelessly. I guess I can also show electromagnetic induction by inducing a current in a wire and using it to light a bulb. What else? I've read that they can make wood glow. NO idea if that is true. Can it be used to demonstrate anything else?
    Another thing-
    What are tesla coils used for? Im sure people are gonna ask me this in the exhibition, so I must be prepared. I know that they dont have much use anymore. I have also heard that "modified" tesla coils are used in street lamps.... dunno if its true or not.
  5. Apr 3, 2010 #4
    iirc, Tesla coil was used some experiments in transmitting radio in late-19th and early-20th century.

    If you are interested in Tesla coil, read "Tesla - man out of time" (first 10 chapters covers the period Tesla built the coil). You can also take a look on "The ultimate Tesla coil design ..." (McGrawHill).
  6. Apr 8, 2010 #5
    Can you guys tell me some do's, dont's and tips which I should keep in mind while operating/building the tesla coil?
  7. Apr 12, 2010 #6
    Im working on the capacitors now. How do I find out the total capacitance I need in my primary circuit? Im planning to use an MMC arrangement.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook