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Re: Hello from The Newbie

Original poster: "Jim Lux" <jimlux@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Comments interspersed...

> Chris here, with my first post. Location: 35 miles west of Atlanta, GA. > I've been scouring websites, reading articles and posts about Tesla Coils, > for a few weeks now. The list kept popping up, so of course I subscribed :-)

A wise and perspicacious act...

> I've been in awe of Tesla coils since seeing a demo in school, too many
> years ago... but I never considered actually building my own. After seeing
> that it doesn't appear to be "rocket science",  I've decided to "Just Do
> It".
> (With assistance from you who have "been there and done that", hopefully!)

This is the place to ask..

> OK... > For starters, I think I'll wind the secondary. I'm not expecting it to be > gorgeous > or perfect, but I'll do the best I can. Scrounging around, I'm not finding > much > in the way of coil forms. The first two possibilities are: A paper towel > tube, or > a Pringle's chip can. Using partial specs below, which one would you > choose... > if you were forced to wind a functional Tesla secondary using one or the > other?

Cardboard mailing tubes work well.  You want your secondary to be about 4-5
times as long as the diameter.  That's the length of the winding, the actual
form should be several inches longer.

Look around for a 2"-3" diameter tube (try the mailing places like Mail
Boxes, Etc. and see if they have a tube that got partially squished...)

PVC pipe is another great form.  Scraps are often available for free.

Stay away from the black ABS drain pipe. (black = carbon black pigment = not
good for HV)

> > (Note: I'm not opposed to butting two items together if necessary. ie... on > first > thought, I'm guessing 2 Pringle's cans, 6:1 with ~1000 turns might work > well. > I'd rather use only one item, but will use two if it's felt that one just > won't work)

1000 turns is about right, but don't sweat it if you go to 800 or 1200...
A lot depends on the size of wire you wind with.

Some other ideas/questions for you:
1) Where will you scrounge the magnet wire?
2) Beer bottles in a plastic bucket makes a very inexpensive first cap.
3) What were you going to use for the high voltage source?  Neon sign
transformers are the thing most people start with.  See if you can scrounge
a 12kV or 15kV transformer with 30mA current.
4) For a spark gap, scrounge up 3 pieces of copper pipe about 2-3" long.