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Re: [TCML] trigatron tube

Clive Hansen wrote:
Hello All,
Has anybody tried using a trigatron tube instead of a traditional spark gap? What would be the advantages/disadvantages of this?


Hi Clive,

There has been some work done in this area. Check the TCML archives at www.pupman.com for various "Triggered Gap" or "STSG" (Synchronous Triggered Spark Gap) threads. Also, see the writeup by Ted Rosenberg on Bart Anderson's site (below). Former Tesla coiler Mark Metlicka is credited with initially applying a triggered gap with a Tesla coil. (Unfortunately, Mark died in 2004). Much of the initial testing occurred in the 2001-2002 time frame. A number of folks have subsequently evolved/refined the STSG approach. Following are some URL's you may find useful:

In practice, the main gap spacing must be large enough so that it does not spontaneously "self trigger". The triggering voltage is typically of the order of 40-50 kV to insure reliable triggering. Most coilers use an ignition coil driven from a pulsed synchronous source. The added spark gap length appears to aid somewhat in quenching, especially when used in combination with high velocity air flow. However, the longer gap length also adds to the "on" state voltage drop (positive arc column voltage drop scales with gap length), contributing to higher primary losses. he longer gap also makes for very loud gap operation. The tank cap should be sized to be Larger Than Resonant (LTR) to prevent accidental overvolting if the gap fails to trigger properly or if trigger phasing is wrong.

Results with Tesla Coils have been good. When used with an appropriately synchronized trigger source, performance of a well cooled triggered static gap approaches that of a single gap cooled with a high velocity air blast or vacuum, or of a synchronous rotary gap. Because of erosion, the trigger electrode should be fairly robust to prolong stable operating life - trigatron lifetime is limited by trigger electrode erosion. Operation at higher power levels will be limited by your capability to adequately cool the main gap electrodes. However, it should be possible to synchronously trigger a wider-spaced multi-electrode copper pipe static gap to handle higher power levels.

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