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electromagnetic shielding components

Original poster: "JT Bowles" <jasotb@xxxxxxxxxxx>

I currently have an ignition coil powered monopole tesla coil(nicely built).
It is run off a 12v, that goes into a 555 timer pulsing squarewave into a 2N3055. This in turn pusles 12v into an igntion coil. I have the whole igniton coil drive circuit, and the ignition coil in the base of my coil - just 4 inches below my primary coil. I noticed while connecting the battery, sparks of up to 1/2" in length jump to my hands( from the battery terminals). I know this isnt too bad for the drive circuit, because after a good 20 minutes of compiled use it still works. But, it cant be too good either.

I am wondering if placing a sheet of steel directly underneath the top of the base(above the top is the primary) will atleast hinder the electromagnet field reaching the drive circuit. Or, will this sheet just waste vital energy from the primary field?

In addition, will that steel or copper sheet mess up my counterpoise effect, that I have bolted to the base of my coil?

Any help would be appreciated, because the coil is so compact and beautiful-I want it to last longer. Thank you in advance.

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