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Re: Trial and error

Original poster: "Steven Steele" <sbsteele@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Thanks, Dave. It's always good to hear, or, in this case, read, a sucsess story.
Heres another story for you:
In college, My electronics teacher built a Telsa Coil in his dorm room at Georgia Tech.
He wanted to impress the girls, so he figured he would just move the thin to the doorway( It was a giant TC) and have it arc to the door frame. That would impress the girls that happen to walk by.
What he didn't count on was the fact that the light switch was next to the door frame. The door frame wasn't grounded, but the conduit for the light switch behind the wall was. So, instead of arcing to the door frame, it arced through the wall, to the conduit and caught the wall on fire. It did over $1,000 in damage and Georgia Tech took away his Tesla Coil.
Instead of the girls saying "Wow, can we come in?", they said "AHHH! Run away!!". And later instead of people coming up to him and saying "Hey, your that smart dude who built the Tesla Coil. Man that was cool!", they said "Hey, your that moron who caught his wall on fire. What an idiot!"
It's a shame they took the thing away, though. At least it's a good story. LOL.

Steven Steele ----- Original Message ----- From: "Tesla list" <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx> To: <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx> Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 10:36 AM Subject: RE: Trial and error

Original poster: Sparktron01@xxxxxxxxxxx
When I first started coiling ( late 60's - telling age :^? )  had very
little success with "home brew" systems (even built the "Big TC that was
in Popular Electronics, best I could ever get was ~ 12").  I built at least 3
from scratch systems with "zero, zilch, nada" to show for the effort

I did finally successfully build a TC using a 5kV 30mA NST, glass plate caps in
a cigar box (2-3nF at max), while a senior in HS. I used a needle electrode (BAD) but put a fan in front of it for cooling (GOOD) and also put steel bolt in center of primary and secondary to boost coupling.

I could get about 4-5", and actually could see the effects of:
1.  Good quenching (turn fan off, spark length was cut in half).
2.  The utility (NECESSITY!!!) of being able to tune the system
    (I believe this one factor was the major design issue with the Big TC
    machine, other then sucky SG design, and glass crap caps).
3.  I put a small tophat allumum pulley on coil and could see longer
    sparks, and benefit of top capacity.

This small system was an incredibly illuminating (no pun) project, and a real joy (BLAST) to run. And actually had pretty good (maybe even high) performance considering the state of knowledge of TC's at the time.
At this point (staring EE in college), I felt we would eventually gain
understanding of these deceptively simple (but damnifyingly complex) transient circuits. Finally are getting close, still ALOT left to research, particularly in SS realm... only 30+ years later...

OBTW, other then mechanical sizing of components (measuring and cutting parts), not ONE calculation on the electrical side, from the outlet to the HV electrode.

Best Regards
Dave Sharpe, TCBOR/HEAS
Chesterfield, VA USA

> Original poster: "Derek Woodroffe" <tesla@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Have any of you guys ever just built a good TC by trial and error?
> Yes I have made a couple of TC's and an SSTC by trial an error,
> using bit I had lying around.
> But when I started coiling, I tried much the same things and had
> many total failures. Even with trial and error you must start with
> components in the right ball park, you can then fiddle to get them > right.
> I'm sure most of us on the list who have built a few coils could guess > at
> the frez of a secondary, pick a primary that'll be about right, and be > in
> the correct order of magnitude for a primary cap to match. This is due > to
> experience. Even then you probably wont get the max out of the coil.
> Without the experience, you can save yourself a lot of time and play
> with some numbers in JavaTC, WinTesla or similar. Its much quicker in > the
> end, believe me..
> Derek