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Homework Help: Tesla Coils

  1. Aug 25, 2004 #1
    I want to build a tesla coil for my school's science fair. Is there some way you can make the Tesla coil safe and not extremely dangerous and deadly? I don’t want to kill myself :eek: ! Does anyone have any tips or advise?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2004 #2
    There are quite a few ways... Though I'm not sure you should try to make a Tesla coil. They hurt.

    Try this site:


    These guys are crazy... but they tell you exactly how they make most of their stuff.

    Here's the section on Tesla Coils:

    Normal Tesla Coils: http://www.powerlabs.org/teslacoils.htm

    Mini Tesla Coils: http://www.powerlabs.org/minitc.htm

    You'll probably want to look at the mini ones. They're nifty :approve:

    Hope that helps (a bit) :smile:
  4. Sep 1, 2004 #3
    Yeah I dont' think that I'm going to make one because I don't want to get killed (did you get hurt making one?). I might make a cathode ray tube. Do you have any advise?

  5. Sep 1, 2004 #4
    Did I get hurt making one?

    I'm not brave enough to make one. :tongue2:

    A cathode ray tube? Just bring your telly to school and say you made it. :approve:

    I don't know too much about them, sorry. I can't really offer any advice.

    Maybe a quick search of google would help?


    There's a lot of good stuff there. However, I think a cathode ray tube would be as hard as a Tesla coil. Do you have any other ideas? You seem to like electricity... :wink:
  6. Sep 1, 2004 #5


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    I have some books on Tesla coils and they say that the high voltage off of the main coil cannot hurt you. If it does, there is supposedly something wrong with the coil. I believe the skin effect causes the current to pass on the very surface of your body since the frequency is several MHz. I wouldn't be too worried about making one. Usually they use a neon sign transformer or ignition transformer such as out of an oil burning furnace as a voltage source for the primary winding of the coil. The voltage out of that is probably the most dangerous other than the 120 VAC line voltage. Do a search here in PF. Tesla coils have been discussed. I have often thought of building a coil, but I just haven't had the time to do one the way I would like to.
  7. Sep 2, 2004 #6


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    I made a tesla coil using an old Ford spark coil as the primary voltage source [5000 volt output] powered by a 12 volt DC transformer. While not dangerous, it had a bite. The secondary coil put out around 80,000 volts. It was harmless, aside from giving you a mild RF burn if you let it arc to your skin too long. Neon sign transformers run off line voltage and put out around 7500 volts. They can be dangerous. I would put a cutoff switch on the case lid to break the circuit when the enclosure is opened. Wear lineman gloves if you must play around inside while it is hot.
  8. Sep 2, 2004 #7


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    I've played around with the Ford Model T coils as well. I made a jacobs ladder though. It'll juice you alright, but I would not consider it as dangerous as the neon sign transformer or the ignition transformer out of a furnace.
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