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Re: [TCML] Comments please: Book review

Hi Chip
I don't know anything about the book, of course, but I think tesla should be 

On Tuesday 15 January 2008 09:47:37 pm Chip Atkinson wrote:
> Ok, English majors and others...
> Here is my review of "The Ultimate Tesla Coil Design and Construction
> Guide".  I got the book as a review copy, read as much as I could and
> wrote a review of the book.  Here is the review below.
> I'd appreciate any comments ranging from typographical errors to major
> questions raised and left unanswered.
> Thanks in advance.
> Chip
> ------------------------------
> Review of Mitch Tilbury's "The Ultimate Tesla Coil Design and Construction
> Guide"
> In 2007, on my birthday, I recieved an email from Bettina Faltermeier of
> McGraw-Hill asking me if I would be interested in reviewing this book and
> posting the information about it on my website.  With the prospect of a
> minor amount of notoriety and a free book, I naturally said yes.
> I promptely received the book and began reading it.
> Safety should be always be the first topic when talking tesla coils. 
> Therefore I will start the review with this subject as well.  Understanding
> potential sources of danger in tesla coils is the first step toward safety.
> After a few pages of introductory material, the author spends six pages
> on safety issues, discussing various ways that one may hurt themselves
> or others and how to avoid such injuries.  I felt that the topic was
> covered to a suitable degree.
> Over all, I am quite happy with the book.  I did not arrive at this feeling
> immediately but rather after thinking about the many aspects of tesla coils
> that the author had to cover in order to make his book complete.
> To fully appreciate this book, one must understand the audience to which
> this book is directed.  It is my opinion that this book is directed towards
> intermediate to advanced coilers or those with a background in electrical
> engineering or physics.
> Like a college physics book, this book is rather dense.  It's not light
> reading that you can pick up after a long hard day and lose yourself. 
> Rather, it's a very complete, well researched book that covers every aspect
> of making a tesla coil.  If one steps back and looks at the book as a
> whole, they can easily see the huge amount of effort expended by Mr.
> Tilbury in making his creation as complete and in-depth as possible.
> Beginning coilers should purchase this book as well but with the
> understanding that much of it will not yet be accessible.  Once they have
> progressed beyond their first coil and have the desire to improve their
> coil and their understanding of how they work and how to design better
> coils in the future, they will find this book a great reference.
> One of the things that I appreciate most about this book is that it is
> cross-referenced and well organized.  It is easy to find the section,
> equation, or graph that will answer your question.
> I must confess too that as I started reading the book I had hoped to read
> it from cover to cover.  However, I only got as far as page 156.  By
> this time I relized that I'd better get this review done before
> McGraw-Hill started thinking I wasn't going to uphold my end of the
> deal.  However, I feel that I can still evaluate it based on what I
> did read.
> While I highly recommend this book, my one beef is that the author seems
> to have conceded defeat when it comes to making one's own capacitors.
> As the author states, "The cost of new commercial high-voltage capacitors
> ... can present a design challenge for even the experienced coiler".
> Much discussion has taken place on the tesla coil mailing list as well as
> research by many amateurs into the most economical way to manufacture
> home-made capacitors.  The current favorite, the MMC or multi-mini
> capacitor, seems to be nearly as good as any commercial capacitor.
> It's robustness is scalable and my experience is that it's superior to
> commercial capacitors.
> Many years ago there was a group purchase of purpose-built tesla coil
> capacitors from Plastic Capacitors Inc.  The voltage rating was higher
> than the 14,400 volt distribution transformer that I was using at
> the time.  I was using a rotary gap and running around 300-500 breaks
> per second.  The capacitor was a sealed unit without any venting or
> safety pressure relief.  It was halloween and I had the coil running on
> the top of my garage.  As it ran, it went silent.  In the time it took
> for me to wonder what was going on, a tremendous explosion followed.
> The capacitor case had blown up.  Thinking it was just that one capacitor
> that was defective, I swapped in another capacitor of the same model.
> Within less than a minute it too blew up.  That was over $300 worth of
> capacitors gone in an evening.
> Later I built an MMC for $240 and it's been much more robust, taking
> all that the earlier capacitors took without any problem.  I've run
> the 4 electrode rotary gap at 5000 rpm without incident and the
> capacitor is still in good shape.
> The author goes into depth about derating capacitors and calculating
> their expected life spans and voltage ratings.  However, given the
> cost and success or failure rate, I feel safe in saying that one can
> build their own capacitors that are comparable to or better than
> commercial capacitors on the market for slightly lower cost.
> I feel that the author could have spent a bit more of his energy on
> making one's own capacitors.
> That said, I still feel that this book is well worth the price and
> should be on the bookshelf of any coiler who wants such a wealth of
> information in one volume
> -------------------- END --------------------
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