Closure of the Electrum Project

From:  Greg Leyh [SMTP:lod-at-pacbell-dot-net]
Sent:  Saturday, May 30, 1998 4:30 PM
To:  Tesla List
Subject:  Closure of the Electrum Project

Hi All,

Here's a summary of the final installation effort at the NZ site.

First off NZ is a cool place, a country of 3 million inventors 
and 60 million sheep.  I don't recall meeting a single person
there that I would have considered dull, except perhaps at the
customs offices.  It is now clear to me as to why NZ is so well 
represented on the TC list.

Our only major problem was getting the 40' shipping container 
through Customs -- we were declaring the contents as a sculpture 
(12.5% tax), however the customs official said that in searching 
the container, no sculpture was found, only electrical switchgear 
and equipment (32.5% tax).
The container was cleared after 6 days of tense negotiations.

The install went without a hitch, using a team of highly adept
farm workers and digger operators to erect the tower and 
install the switchgear virtually on the side of a cliff! 

Tuning values for coil onsite came very close to the Hunters Point
numbers, about 37.9kHz.  The Q of the sec (without breakout) was 
about the same as well, maybe slightly better than SF, indicating 
that the re-bar in the concrete vault walls produce no significant 
current loops.

The earth grounding array worked better than expected, with a
measured ground resistance of only 0.44 ohm!  This may be due
in part to the fact that ground array elements inadvertently
cut through an array of septic tank irrigation lines.

The coil is able to digest the 400V 50Hz from the substation 
with no apparent ill effects.  However, the video camera monitor 
for the central manway picks up too much 50Hz noise during operation,
trashing the sync pulses.  Shielding a CCD camera placed in the 
manway may prove to be difficult.

Occasional strikes to the ground during operation were observed when 
the wind was right.  I had not expected ground strikes from this coil 
at all, due to the spherical electrode and the fact that the base of
the secondary starts 14 feet above ground level!  Improved quenching 
due to increasing the effective gap spacing may be responsible.  The 
tungsten is also consumed at a quicker rate with wider gap spacing,
but it's worth it!  
Neither sheep, yaks, nor storks approve of the coil during operation.
One kiwi couple also joined the "2 Million Volt Club", as well!

I don't have pix of operation in NZ as of yet, though it looks just
like operation in SF with a different backdrop.  One person shot
some PAL footage there, and we're trying to get a copy (I still 
don't own a video camera!)

New pictures of the install effort can be found at: