RE: Bargain Pole Pigs

 * Originally By: Bzublin-at-po2.gi-dot-com
 * Originally To: Richard Quick
 * Originally Re: RE: Bargain Pole Pigs
 * Original Area: UUCPE-Mail
 * Forwarded by : Blue Wave v2.12

From: "Zublin, Bryan (SD-MS)" <BZUBLIN-at-PO2.GI.COM>
To: richard.quick-at-slug-dot-org
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 1995 18:47:21 -0600
Subject: RE: Bargain Pole Pigs

If anyone is looking for a cheap source of high voltage, high power 
transformers, this is where we went to get ours.  I live in San Diego, so we 
called San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E).  They have a maintenance and 
repair center for all types of transformers.  Apparently, they remove them 
from service to "refurbish" them.  This includes re-painting the cases, 
checking for carcinogens in the oil, high-pot test, etc.  They have so many 
of them, that they will sell them for "scrap."  Get this:  they charged us 
$3 per kilowatt a few years ago.  We bought a 10 KW "power pole" type 
transformer for $30!  The primary was either 10, 12, or 15 KV (I don't 
recall which).  The secondary is 220 V, center tapped.  Used in reverse for 
a Tesla coil.  This thing weighs a few hundred pounds.  It sure looks cool 
with the large ceramic insulators.  We later switched to a smaller, lighter 
unit called a "butyl rubber potential."  It is a transformer, used (I 
believe) for power factor correction.  It has a 100:1 turns ratio.  We 
supply it with 120VAC, output is 12KV.  The power rating is a few KW at 

We also bought some capacitors there.  They are used for power factor 
correction.  Unfortunately, the capacitance is quite large for a Tesla coil, 
around 2 to 4 uF.  This would require lots of power to charge.  We lowered 
the capacitance by removing dielectric layers (what a mess - I'd never do it 
again), but the capacitance was still too high.  Finally ended up buying 
some other capacitors (0.02 uF, 45 KV) which worked great.

If you do talk to the local power company, act in a professional manner so 
that they don't think that you are some mad scientist who is going to 
electrocute himself.  They are doing you a favor by selling you this stuff. 

Bryan Zublin

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