In vs. Out
From: richard hull[SMTP:rhull-at-richmond.infi-dot-net]
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 1997 3:49 AM
Subject: In vs. Out
I have been quietly following the input vs. output rounds between John
Couture, Malcolm Watts, and John Freau. It seems each has a valid point and
the bottom line is which end of the coil you are looking at and what your
usage is in the end.
I am more in the John F. and Malcolm W. camp, but see and view things from
John C. is structuring his argument to look at the coil from the engineering
aspect. Being an engieer myself, I can see this argument has real merit.
Johns approach is sound. It is just that few coilers are at a point where
real output energy can be measured accurately. With the engineering brain I
see spark and naturally am willing to assume more spark out = more energy
out. This seems a classically and thermodynamically sound assumption.
The snag comes from my own brain from the artistic side which often does
battle with the mechanistic side. In my experience, I have seen a lotta'
sparks!! I have seen sparks of x length which were thin, pale, whispy, and
violet-purple. I have also seen flaming hot, blindingly white arcs of x
length, but never at the same input power as example #1.
It is this subjective argument that John F. spoke to when he rightfully, I
feel, said that we seek lowest energy input for the longest length. He
futher noted that this may or may not, as the case may be, the best case
power or energy wise.
I feel as, John F and Malcolm that if, as coilers, we are after sparks, let
the power consumption fall where it may. Virginia Power will sell me all I
I have my own criteria for performance which has little more viability than
any other method. This is the resonator length vs output spark and its
fractional relationship. This is a far less engineering oriented measure
and is more a measure of long term success and artisanship in the coiling
adventure we are all taking part in. It speaks more to the experience and
knowledge of electrostatic control of the builder.
Still I have never heard of a coiler exceeding 4 times the resonator length
under 100 watts. This is due to the large terminal sizes demanded
accomplish this feat and the requirement for real power expenditures to
break out of such capacities.
There are many criteria pegs upon which one may hang their "performance
hats". The engineering one is strict and rigid and may or may not relate to
sparks which are after all a measure of loss to the air! Rarely has
enginering positioned itself when desinging a device to seek maximized losses!!!
The spark based method relies on a uniform spark intensity, coil to coil,
with subjective calibration efforts won only with experience.
The resonator vs spark length argument probably speaks more of experience
than efficiency, although when coupled with some measure of energy
efficiency for a given spark length, may give the ultimate gauge of
penultimate, plus ultra performance.
This is not speaking to the mechanistic side of the adventure we are on but
should allow us to embrace all methods of determining good to best performance.
I think most old hands at the game can look and instantly guage
(intuitively) whether a given system is a real "performer" or not. The
knowledgable and experienced human engine is still the best and ultimate
Richard Hull, TCBOR