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Re: Racing Arcs Explained???

Original poster: "Steve Ward" <steve.ward@xxxxxxxxx>

Hi Garry,

Saying its a voltage gradient problem is really just sort of stating
the obvious.  I cant really explain why it doesnt seem as bad if the
coil is tuned correctly (though i personally havent noticed this, i
see it mentioned often).  I generally cure racing sparks by simply
lowering the coupling, and as Gerry mentioned, the V/turn is
determined by the primary volts/turn, and the coupling between the
primary turns and secondary turns (though i think thats still
simplifying things a bit, since many primaries have turns that are all
of a different diameter, so the volt/turn isnt the same throughout....

My website is now at:


It could use some updates of more recent work, i guess i've been
getting lazy about that.


On 8/16/06, Tesla list <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Original poster: "Garry Freemyer" <garryfre@xxxxxxxxxxx>

Nice. Thanks for letting me know. I had the feeling I was likely incorrect.

Hey, what's your web site now a days? I've seen a few links to it but they
come up with the cannot be displayed error.

Interesting, I haven't seen any solid state coils that could work without
having a breakout point. I would really be interested in seeing some
pictures of how the streamers look without a breakout point.

The voltage gradient thing is a nice way to describe it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tesla list [mailto:tesla@xxxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 5:20 PM
To: tesla@xxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Racing Arcs Explained???

Original poster: "Steve Ward" <steve.ward@xxxxxxxxx>

 >So, the question is, has anyone ever experienced racing sparks on a tuned
 >solid state or VTCC? If they occur on these type of coils and if these
 >don't emit harmonics, it would disprove my guesses.

My DRSSTCs experience true racing sparks, but usually it isnt so
severe as what ive experienced with spark gap coils.  The problem has
worstened now that i try to make energy transfers as quick as
possible.  I actually only get racing sparks if i try to run the coil
without a breakout point, then i see the sparks across my secondary
now and then.  A DRSSTC shouldnt excite any higher harmonics, so it
seems the problem of racing sparks really may be just transformer
action, and having simply too much of a voltage gradient.  I know
Jimmy's original DRSSTC experienced a lot of problems with racing
sparks.  He went so far as to add disks to his secondary, which i
guess helped.

Ive also experimented with using inductors for marx generators, and
again there i have seen the same racing spark phenomena.  I was
running about 20kV/inch of winding length (though it could have
possibly peaked higher), and that was enough to start problems.  I
didnt have any insulation on the magnet wire, though.

The primary of a TC is pretty much a lumped LC, its not going to
respond so much to harmonics.  I think the reason spark gap coils are
worse with racing sparks than SS or VT coils is because the primary
energy peaks to its maximum within the first half-cycle.  SS and VT
coils slowly build up primary energy, which allows the secondary to
slowly ring up in voltage (even when the coupling is high).