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Re: Fluorescent Lamps

In a message dated 9/15/2000 1:43:32 PM Mountain Daylight Time, 
tesla-at-pupman-dot-com writes:

> ted,
>  this is a very good question, i have had small coils light every
>  florescent tube in the house, and large coils not light a tube three
>  feet away? i also was curios, so i'm on the same boat as you with this
>  one. i know the frequency has allot to do with it, but could it be that
>  if your getting close to all your output into the streamer, the radiated
>  energy is not sufficient for tube light? i'll be intrigued with the
>  reply's. also as a side note, i once leaned a 4' tube against the table
>  a medium sized coils primary was on, the top electrode of the tube
>  sprayed a brush discharge, just like a vttc? was there resonance in the
>  gas of the tube?
>  marc

This is indeed curious.  All my coils have been able to light fluorescent 
bulbs - some times from 8 feet away or more.  I use burnt out bulbs even.  I 
have even, in my crazier days allowed direct hits to the bulbs while holding 
them in my hand(I was on a second floor, so I wasn't grounded).  They light 
up really well that way.
  At work I have a little kicker coil meant for checking for leaks in glass 
welds and have lit up dead fluorescent bulbs by holding the hot end of the 
kicker coil in one hand, the bulb in the other and having someone plug in the 
coil.  I know this sounds crazy, but it is only a 40W unit that maybe puts 
out 50kV or so. It seems to be safe to do.  I have even drawn 1 inch sparks 
from the other end of the bulb to a piece of metal which causes the bulb to 
light with nearly the brilliance as when they are new and in the proper 
  BTW,  when I experimented with the direct hits to the bulb, my coil was in 
the less popular configuration where the cap was parallel to the NST, not the 
spark gap.  I think this helps to eliminate the 60Hz wave that could be 
present when the gap is parallel to the NST.  Please don't take my word for 
this however - I have no proof of this being any safer.  I might simply have 
dodged that bullet.   It may have been that it was only a 15/60 NST powered 
coil.  I cannot say for sure why this one seemed to be safe to play with.   I 
would even stand on a plastic milk crate, place one hand on the toroid, and 
emit streamers from a metal rod in the other hand.  But again, don't try this 
based on what I say(obligatory disclaimer).   I was doing this before I 
joined the list and 'thought' it was safe at the time.   
     I have taken an accidental hit from my 8 inch coil once(gap parallel to 
the transformer) and it was very different and I wouldn't do that on purpose 
EVER!!!.   That made my arm quiver and I felt it for some time afterwards.  
This was an experiment where I was trying to see if an aluminized mylar 
pinwheel on a long plastic rod could be made to turn from corona and a 
streamer seemed to flash an extra few feet or so- right up my arm.  It felt 
like the rush of a wave of warmth, but then caused the quiver of muscles in 
my arm.