[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: bummed

Original poster: Davetracer@xxxxxxx

Dear Steven,

I'm sitting here looking at my Tesla Coil. I'm tempted to take a picture of it to send you to as a monument to duct tape and kludging. Let's see, right now I have a coil, a primary, caps built out of plastic and tinfoil, a 12Kv/60ma transformer, and a whole lotta duct tape. Frankly, I've been fiddling with it, and the best sparks I have gotten are, well, before I started fiddling with it.

    But that's okay with me.

Both in my Tesla Coiling as a teen and now (I'm 46), and in a career in computing, I've developed a saying: "What's it gonna do, fail?"

It's a bit fatalistic but it takes into account the fantastic number of problems that can come up either in a TC or in a computer. Some truly are unsolvable. Some are solvable with an insane amount of work. And then there's the day to day ones.

So, it isn't working? What's the problem? (What's it gonna do, fail?) TC's have failed on me for 30 years! Congratulations, welcome to the group! And believe me, some of the failures are going to totally suck! Congratulations! Wait until you blow a pair of 811A tubes and have to go wash and wax the wings of your Dad's airplane to get more! (Oh, man, talk about square yards!) Wait until you try a many-bottle-capacitor and hear it arc over! BANG! Wait until you blow a laptop by having it within yards of a TC! Whoops!

What I'm trying to tell you is this is the way it goes, sometimes. Then there are other days when the darned thing pops into tune and runs like mad.

I don't always hold with designing the thing perfectly. Sometimes its fun to kludge it. And sometimes you learn a lot that way. There really is a place for playing around and having fun with it.

Of course, be awfully careful of the thing. It'll zot you but good if you give it a chance, and you only get one chance. But I managed to survive being 16 with one or six of these things.

Let me drop a hint: disconnect your capacitor for a moment and make sure the gap is firing. Now connect the cap. (Of course do all that connect/disconnect with poweroff). Does the gap take on a strident tone, sort of like that teacher we all remember from school? Snarly? Hey, you're getting there. If not, you're not close on the capacitance. I'm running 4 plates of plastic (hey, that is what Home Depot had) with 14 x 14 tinfoil on each side. Sure, it's imperfect. But it costs a heck of a lot less than caps.

    Good luck and rest assured you are not alone!


    Dave Small

p.s. Where's my darn duct tape? And why was the epoxy tubes thingo left open? Who's running this operation?