Thanks to everybody for the posting on this thread!
I discovered what the problem was.
First I would like to make some comments on the posts.
[snip from Bert Hickman]
If you've followed Richard's guidelines of 28 mils per
gap, and use his rule of thumb of about 2 kV/gap, you might be running
too great a gap-length for your 9 kV neon. A 12 KV neon will work better
(once you get a higher voltage/lower loss cap).
Bert: I went back an re-read the Richard Quick paper a few times. I may
be wrong but this is how I took it. In the first few sentences, the gap is
described as 6 - 8kv range and later in the paper I saw the 2kv rule but
thought this applies if you are also using a rotary gap. I am just using the
gap by itself. Maybe Richard can clear this one up.
[snip from Richard Hull]
Think about was is going on. The extra gap now takes the firing point
even higher on the AC input sine. It may even max out at the peak
and only one pop, sometimes none, are seen per alternation energy
to the tank is now maximum, but infrequent and, or, intermittent.
You get long sputtering sparks. Your transformer is also strained
to the max. Continue operation a neon like this and it's history!
Richard: That is a good point and one worth snipping and saving.
This may be what was going on but a change I made recently
has cured the problem and maybe you can comment on this
in as well put words as your above description.
Here is what I believe may have been the problem:
The cap I was using reads .01 at 30KVDC. It's casing
is hard white ceramic. It is 6.5 inches long, 1 inch in
diameter and has studs less than .125 inch diameter.
My theory is that since it got so hot so quick always
that the dielectric is not at all suited for TC application
and that its role in life was a a filter type capacitor
and that it hated life while it was in my system. Because....
(Here is the great news....................)
My CP caps came in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hooked the .01 CP cap up to my system and it was
the difference between tiddly winks and discus throwing!!
I have achieved my longest sparks to date 14" from this
system. Still with all 6 gaps employed, all the sputtering
went away. This cap has balls. I even added more torroid
to it and beside the long spark, I have leakge from the lower
torroid. All the difference in the world. I know with your
great achievements that 14" sparks is no feat, but for me
I had a great moment of achievment!!!
Thanks all again for comments,