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RE: [TCML] Tuning, Capacitors, and Spark Gaps

I have nothing useful to provide here but I have another question to add to
Joel's list. What are those HV caps in a microwave oven useful for anyhow?
Every time I harvest another MOT I also keep the cap, just in case. Is the
clutter worthwhile?

Hannwa Falls, NY
(motto: get me the hell out of here!)

-----Original Message-----
From: tesla-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tesla-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of Joel Torgeson
Sent: Saturday, August 22, 2009 6:19 PM
To: Tesla Mailing-list
Subject: [TCML] Tuning, Capacitors, and Spark Gaps


     I've now built my tesla coil, and am very disappointed that it fails to
work. My transformer is a 9,000v 30ma NST. I have tailor-built my capacitor
out of capacitors from microwave ovens. They are internally resisted, and
with 80 of them in series i hit my target capacitance of .0088 uf. My
primary consists of 1/4 inch copper tubing spaced 1/4 inch between each
winding. there are 15 turns of tubing in a flat pancake configuration. My
secondary consists of approximately 760 feet of 24 AWG magnet wire wrapped
around 3.26 inch outside diameter PVC pipe. The topload is of the tubing and
pie-pan variety, using 3 inch aluminum tubing/ducting. This makes a ~ 15
inch toroid on the top. i am using a 8 ft grounding rod that isn't attached
to anything important. There is no metal inside the secondary, so that isn't
a problem. My biggest concern is the spark gap. It's a static gap, not split
up into multiple gaps, just one big one. it is 5.6mm wide, and has a  hair
drier running on cool temp, high velocity blowing on it for quenching.

     There's all the numbers i have, now i need some advice. I have been
trying to tune it in for 2 days, and all i can get is the occasional 3/4
inch spark (usually no more than 1/2 in for rapid sparks). It does light up
a broken fluorescent bulb, and as i said, it makes some small sparks, but i
didn't spend all that time and effort to create something my Van de Graaff
can beat! 
     So, does anyone see anything obviously wrong? Any suggestions,
comments, tips, or (yes) criticisms would be much appreciated.

Joel Torgeson

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