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RE: [TCML] Old VDG and Tesla coil found in attic

 Nice find!
On the Van de Graaff generator- I have found that Tyvek, the moisture
barrier material that is used in home construction, works excellent as a
charge carrier. The one I built had a 6" belt and a 15" sphere and no
active charging, and it would reach out and grab me with a corona beam
from 2' away, and if got just a little closer (probably 15") the air
between it and I would break down, and it would give me a heck of a zap.
A hair raising experience to be sure. 
Anyway, the Tyvek is much easier to work with than the exercise band
that is typically used. No worries of stretching your seam apart when
you put it on. You just cut it to the width/length you need, wrap it
around the rollers, and glue the two ends together. You can use packing
tape to hold it in place until it dries. I used super glue at the time,
but if I did it again I would use quick set epoxy. Hopefully there are
adjustment screws on one or both of the rollers so you can tighten it up
a bit when it dries and ensure that it stays centered on the rollers. It
will tend to slide off if the rollers are not slightly 

I recommend getting a small variac to control the motor speed. Make sure
that the collector/emitter arrays are clean and needle sharp. If you
need to rebuilt then make sure that you have about .5" of space between
the end of the array and the end of the belt to prevent the charge from
leaking around the belt to the roller, which will neutralize your

Sounds like a fun restoration project. You are welcome to contact me
directly if you need more help on the VDG.
There's lots of info out there on the net too. 
Send us a link to a pic with your hair (or someone else if you have
none..) standing on end when you get it operational!

Shannon Weinhold


"Failures are divided into two classes
those who thought and never did, 
and those who did and never thought."  
John Charles Salak

-----Original Message-----
From: steve date [mailto:sdate@xxxxxxx] 
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 1:23 PM
To: Tesla Coil Mailing List
Subject: [TCML] Old VDG and Tesla coil found in attic


Several years ago I found a VDG and Tesla coil in an attic doing an
install job near Seattle.  I asked the new home owners about the
equipment in their attic and they didn't have the slightest knowledge of
what the "junk" was.  They said I could have it as long as I hauled it
out!  this was appx 1981 and I have never had a chance to mess with

I am now retired and have the time to start the project.

I have placed them on my website:

My questions for the group:

1. anybody recognize either of them? builder? commercial?

2. should I keep the TC "true" (long secondary) when refurbishing it?

3. any ideas on the tube type? schematic? (yes, I can draw it out)

4. what material would be "best" for the belt

I would appreciate any comments from the group that would help restore
them to working condition.  (I know, I know... the TC will be a very
poor performer by today's standards... This is a "for-fun" project).

I suspect these were originally built for classroom use or school
science fair use.

Steve - Seattle

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