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Tesla Coil

  1. Nov 22, 2011 #1
    I'm getting ready for my Christmas break project and I've settled on building a Tesla coil. I was looking at this
    << link deleted by Moderators >>
    but I'm still not really certain about what the components do and why they're needed. I kind of understand what a capacitor and transformer is but as I said I don't really know why they're needed and if you can guide me in the right direction that would be awesome! Oh yea, can anyone suggest any safety regulations I should follow stringently, thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2012
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2011 #2
    I would recommend that you choose a different project. Preferably one that involves principles that you understand. If you don't understand why the capacitors and transformers are needed then you don't really understand how they work or what they do.
  4. Nov 23, 2011 #3


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    Gold Member

    I completely agree with Dr Morbius above. Furthermore, what you describe is dangerous and can be deadly! Are you willing to risk your own life...or the lives of others...by working on some equipment you don't understand?
  5. Nov 23, 2011 #4
    I see, do you have any other projects I can work on or how I can learn about how these objects work. I was thinking of getting an Arduino with a breadboard and try to make some cool programs - I was thinking of making an alarm clock.
  6. Nov 23, 2011 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Those definitely sound like better projects to work on. In addition to being much safer, they teach you skills that you will use in your real-world EE work.
  7. Nov 23, 2011 #6
    Alright, do you know where I can learn the function of different electrical components and when to use them? I'm pretty sure I know what some of them are:

    Resistor: decreases the voltage and current

    Diode: only lets the current flow in one direction

    Capacitor: stores electrical energy

    Transformer: transfers the current to another circuit via inductive coupling

    Inductor: stores energy as a magnetic field
  8. Nov 23, 2011 #7
    Well people go to college for that.

    Malvino issued a very good book on electric circuits.

    Electric Circuits, Malvino. I use it all the time.

    When to use something and how to use and why would you use it, is something you pick up over the years.

    Transistor is in your main view, everything from op amps over 555 timer ICs to more advanced ICs is ased on transistor operation.
  9. Nov 23, 2011 #8
    Haha, obviously stated I was just curious and interested in learning now. I'm still trying to chose between mechanical engineering and electrical engineering so I'm trying to dip my toes in some projects. I was going to build a Stirling engine but that isn't nearly as cool as an alarm clock (which I can use).
  10. Nov 23, 2011 #9
    Well anybody can stab in components into breadboard and make it work. (looking at schematics that is). Trouble is understanding.

    You can't work with transistors unless you understand how they work. And transistor is in about every component out there.

    In my opinion, you should start with flashing LED diodes.(where i started AFTER learning transistors)

    You can google those, specifically astable multivibrators. Long journey. Try to chase the idea of transistor, it one of most beautiful things ever invented. Im in love with transistors :)
  11. Nov 23, 2011 #10
    Do you know of any places where I can get Malvino for a low cost? The lowest price I found was like 80 dollars.
  12. Nov 23, 2011 #11
    You won't regret one cent of it. That book is just pure awesome. And you have EVERYTHING there. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. From diodes over op amps negative feedback everything...

    And the guy talks in down earth language. So you will understand almost everything. And even if you don't understand some complex stuff, basics are explained like so good that you wouldn't believe it.

    Ask old fellows here, Malvino is an excellent book.

    Book is called

    Electronic Principles, Alber Malvino, David J. Bates
  13. Nov 23, 2011 #12
    Okay haha! But will I be able to build circuits and understand where to put each component and for what reasons once I've finished it? What about things like capacitors, inductors, resistors, transformers etc...?
  14. Nov 23, 2011 #13
    Book has about 1000 pages. It doesn't have projects in it for you to build. That is why google exists.

    Book explaines diode operation, transistor operation, semiconductor theory and all that good stuff.

    So if you want to build an LED flasher, you will need a transistor. How do you learn how transistor works? from the book.

    Don't be scared if you don't get it at first.
    Took me about 3-4 moths to completely agree with transistor action. Still after 1 year of constant learning, I am still in doubt about some things.

    Capacitor, resistor etc are components that are picked up as you learn. You will learn throughout the ages, how capacitors discharge effect can be used, or charging effect.

    Inductor is rarely used, if you overrule transformers. As a component, I personally didn't need any. I think it is good for high frequencies and such.

    Depends what you want to build. Set your mini project: "I want to build a remote controlled light switch" or something. Then ask, google etc things what you need and how can you realise it.

    Along that try to understand components that you use in your project.

    I many cases internet can be very obscure and poor when it comes to knowledge. Thats why you need a book, that is reliable, like Malvino's which you will use all the time.
  15. Nov 26, 2011 #14
    The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill is great.
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