Re: Spark Gaps & *!*SAFETY*!*

At 05:37 PM 08/23/1999 -0600, Tesla List wrote:
>Original Poster: Alex Crow <user-at-alexcrow.clara-dot-net> 
>Welcome to the list Tabraze!

[Big snip]

>I am a little worried, as I am sure other list members may be also, that you
>are considering doing the so-called 'skin effect' tricks at this early stage
>before having thoroughly digested all the available information. There is
>serious doubt that skin effect is that significant in the human body at the
>frequuencies we see in tesla coils over say 2" diameter. There have been a few
>deaths associated with these risky pursuits, maybe Terry would be prepared to
>repost his known accounts. It may indeed be that the main reason why
>attracting the discharge of a small coil doesn't shock is that the
>pain-sensing nerves are not sensitive to these frequencies. This does not
>necessarily apply to your heart or brain nerve-cells, and it may also be that
>the blood vessels form a fairly nice conductor to these areas. Also, be very,
>very, aware that either a power arc from your fingers to a nearby earthed
>object, or yet worse one to a live mains cable, may transmit far more current
>through the body than you can survive. The worst case is perhaps an arc from
>secondary to primary while you are doing this, which will connect you diectly
>to a source of *high* voltage 50/60Hz line power. You will almost certainly
>die in this case. I *don't* think I can imagine myself doing this trick with
>even my modest coil running at 2kW input. It's simply too frightening when
>I see what the discharge can do to (a) my hearing and (b) nearby inanimate
>objects for me to risk. Read the safety FAQ for more details. Don't leave
>anything to chance here - as it says,, your first mistake could well be your
>last. Seriously.

When my 6" coil is running, after some experimentation and 
adjustments, the longest spark achieved is 43", with consistent 
40" streamers. I stay WAY back from the coil when it's running. I
cannot imagine anyone _wanting_ to "play" with the skin effect on
these streamers, unless it's Austin Richards in his specially built
Faraday suit, a very knowledgable and experienced coiler.

I have a lot of respect for the power in these arcs. 

I have watched too many streamers zap nearby (placed) metal 
objects and there's no way you're getting me to hold a metal object
in *my* hands and interact with a streamer. Anyone who has ever
seen an arc hit the strike rail, or got your temp primary tap alligator
test clip just a little too close to the next turn knows exactly the 
potential hazards involved in coiling. This isn't a 9v battery current
we're dealing with; this stuff can KILL, especially if a streamer
contacts the primary and splits off.