Re: Demos and Experiments? (fwd)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 19:46:20 -0500
From: Bert Hickman <bert.hickman-at-aquila-dot-com>
To: Tesla List <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
Subject: Re: Demos and Experiments? (fwd)

Tesla List wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 12:26:22 -0400
> From: Fred Decker <fdecker-at-csi-dot-com>
> To: tesla <tesla-at-pupman-dot-com>
> Subject: Demos and Experiments?
> Where might be the best list, or just putting together ideas from everyone here about cool experiments and "Mr. Wizard" demos to wow our unsuspecting friends?  I like the styrofoam peanuts on the top of the coil, the ion engine, many others.  What are y
> our ideas?
> Fred

A few ideas:

1. Put a large 60 watt (6" diameter, clear) lightbulb on top - super
plasma globe. Philips' bulbs seem to work very well. With larger coils,
get plasma display inside, and streamers outside the bulb. Works
similarly with 300W or large 1000 watt stadium lights as well. Also,
sometimes a burned out light bulb will preferentially ionize at the end
of the broken filament - the filament will often become incandescent at
this point adding to the display.

2. Place a 4 foot fluorescent tube on top - lighting it the hard way!

3. Piece of pine 2x4 with a piece of metal on the top surface of the
toroid - will char/ignite a carbonized path (especially nice with a high
power coil running power arcs across the wood). If the wood's very dry,
you may need to lightly moisten the surface beforehand to get it

4. A small wattage (7W - 40W depending on coil output power)
incandescent light bulb sitting in the inside flat region of the toroid.
Connect one terminal of the bulb to the toroid and tie the other to a HV
wire projecting from the side of the toroid. Under high enough power you
can light the bulb simply from the streamer current coming off the tip
of the wire. 

5. Fashion an "S-shaped" wire, and shape the ends to sharp points.
Flatten out the center portion of the wire, and drill a small hole.
Carefully trim the wire so that will be balanced when resting on a
pointed support. The idea is to be able to easily rotate the wire on the
pointed support. Mount to the top of the coil - the thrust of the corona
discharge should cause the wire to rapidly rotate. Very effective for
tube coils, but will also work with smaller disruptive coils. A rough
ASCII art sketch follows:

                |            /
                |           /  
                |          /

6. With smaller coils, you can hold an incandescent by the base, and get
plasma display inside as you approach coil. [Not recommended for large
coils unless you're willing to take an occasional streamer hit! :^)]
The same thing works with neon "flicker" bulbs (the ones that are
supposed to look like a candle flame), but you can light them from a
much further distance from the coil. Works even better if you can get
some small lengths 12-18" long) neon or mercury vapor filled tubes from
your local neon shop. Sometimes their resident glass blower will make
these for you on the cheap...

There are many other interesting high voltage and high frequency effects
- you might want to check out a couple of books from Lindsay's reprint
of "The Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla", by Thomas
Commerford Martin. You can also sometimes find this same book on sale at
Barnes and Nobel as a reprint.

Have fun, and play safe!

-- Bert --