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Re: [TCML] Comments please: Book review

Good review, but too long and wordy for its intended
purpose.  As an LSU dropout who nonetheless made
really high marks in high school english I offer the
following for your consideration:

1.  Pare it down.  I like the "rule of threes" for
persuasive writing.  Narrow your review to 3 main
points and hit them all concisely, but briefly.

2.  Use an attention-getting opening sentence to start
off a strong first paragraph introducing your subject.
 Recycle the same (slightly reworded) for your closing
paragraph and final sentence.

3.  Never admit that you haven't read the whole book.

4.  Cut out the personal experience stuff.  Your
subject is the book, not you.

Don't throw out your review and start over.  Its a
good review and most of it should go into your
finished product.  Just edit what you already have.

The Knowitall Dropout,


--- Chip Atkinson <chip@xxxxxxxxxx> 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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