Latest coil - update

I finally got to run my coil again tonight. The bottom turn of the
sec. was set 1-7/8" above the primary. This isn't much higher than the
last time, only 1/8". The first toroid measured 5"x16". Then a
transition cone (okay, okay, it was an aluminum dishpan, I admit it),
then the two dryer ducts taped end-to-end. I was still getting racing
sparks, but nowhere near as bad. The longest one was probably 20"
straight down the side of the secondary. Then the drain-pipe toroid
was placed between the transition cone (hey, it sounds better than
dishpan) and the dryer-duct toroids. The breakout point on the top
toroid was somewhere around 15" above the top winding of the
secondary.The racing sparks finally stopped with this setup. But there
was still a lot of corona around the secondary, just no sparks.

But I am only getting 70" sparks now. Lost 10" of spark by doing these
things. I wonder if it is worth losing that much spark length? I'm
having a change of heart about taking it easy on the secondary. If the
spark length can't be brought back up without breaking down the
secondary, then what good is this particular secondary coil. I'm still
going to try and save it, but not at the expense of spark length. I
mean, what am I doing this for anyway... to see some puny little
sparks and have all the components working perfectly time after time?
Where is the challenge in that? If some part isn't breaking down, then
it isn't being pushed hard enough, right? I have had capacitors
explode on me and never worried about that, just cleaned up the mess
and built some more. I have had spark-gaps that were literally on fire
because they got too hot. Actually had green flames coming off the
tubes. I never worried about that either, just built a heftier gap
assembly with larger tubes and a bigger fan. My first variac was rated
9 amps, but I pushed it over 20 amps many times according to the
ammeter. Wasn't worried in the least about it, even though it cost me
an arm and a leg. Just went to a dozen or so hamfests until I found
some bigger ones. 

I'm just going to make sure the camera is running when the secondary
finally bites the dust. And maybe I'll learn something along the way
and the next coil will be even better. Anyone around northwest Georgia
have a big piece of pvc for sale? Say around 14" diameter.

ICQ #21057220