First Light and a lesson learned

Hi All,

I was in the process of putting the final wiring together on
my 6" coil when I decided to fire it up and see what happens,
in the garage.

At this point, no RFI filtering, no variac, only protection was
just the safety gap, set initially at 1/4". Two Fair Radio 01.
mfd caps wired in parallel, flat primary of 16 turns, RQ
style cylindrical static gap using 11 gaps and 15/60 NST.
Ground *not* hooked up. The ground from the base of
the secondary is a thick piece of 4" copper sheet, hanging
loose on the floor.

On first run, no toroid mounted, just the wire sticking up,
no spark and plenty of noise from the gap unit. Safety
gap was firing like crazy. Initial tap was at 15 1/2 turns
on the primary. 

Second run, tap moved to 14, weak spark noted from 
wire. Safety gap firing like crazy. Garage door opened
by itself. Shut down and unplug door opener.

Third run, adjusted safety gap out, installed toroid,
which is a 20 x 6 flex alum duct, pie-pans. Moved
the primary tap to 13 turns. Noted several small
sparks coming from the toroid, but nothing really
spectatcular. Safety gap stilll firing like crazy. 

Fourth run, adjusted safety gap all the way out as
far as it would go (about 1/2"). Moved primary tap
to 12th turn. Got several streamers about 12-15"
in length. Safety gap not firing as much, but still
conducting even when adjusted out from 1/4 to 1/2".
The heavy smell of ozone is quite evident.

Fifth run, moved primary to 11th turn, streamers
a little longer.  Safety gap still firing, but not as 
violent, yet with a white hot arc, *much* brighter
than the noisy gap unit.

6th and final run, adjusted primary tap to the 10th
turn, streamers much longer, estimate about 24-26"
in length overall. Nearby flourescent tube glowing
a little more brightly.

With the exception of the 6th run, run times were
less than a minute with a 2-3 minute interval between
sucessive runs. The 6th run was two minutes.

At *no* time during any run were the Fair radio caps
even warm at all. In fact, on the last and final long run,
they were stone cold. I think helps having two of these
units in parallel.

I plugged the garage door opener control unit back in
and while the door did open, the motor did not want to
shut off, and the remote has no effect on it's operation.
I'm pretty sure I toasted the unit. I had to remove the
metal movement strut off the door, just to close the door
manually. The lesson learned here is I shouldn't have run
the coil in the garage without taking some kind of precaution
of protecting the opener unit. I bet I won't do that again,
especially when I'm looking at replacing the unit! 

I'm sure I violated a lot of stuff here (not using a variac,
no ground hooked up, no filtering in place, etc) but it did
give me a good idea of how the coil works, even at full
power. I'm pretty sure I'm real close to the optimum
tuning point. I'm going to run it _outside_ tonight with
the ground officially hooked up and see what happens.
Maybe I can get the safety gap to quiet down as I get
the coil into a finer tune.

It's my intent to get all the filtering/RFI/NST protection
stuff in place next, get a variac, etc and perhaps some
ferrite ferules on the gap to reduce the spikes. However, I
was tremendously pleased to get the coil working.