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Re: [TCML] Sparks and neighborly fun
You are welcome to drop that beautiful nice designed,and well thought coil
in my yard anytime.Heck my neighbors might take up a collection to get you
to encourage me to trade in my pyro hobbies for some acrs and sparks what
are you complaining about anyway.sent with a grin .... Binny...
----- Original Message -----
From: "Joe Mastroianni" <joe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Tesla Coil Mailing List" <tesla@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, August 15, 2010 8:36 PM
Subject: [TCML] Sparks and neighborly fun
Can't run the coil in the garage anymore, so I have to roll it out to the
On a quantitative note, we measured some spark hits at 5+ feet. Nothing
like the 81 theoretical inches I could get if everything was perfect,
according to all the programs. My tuning lead wire is getting warm, which
leads me to believe running a pretty high VSWR in my primary, and I saw one
racing arc at full power. I could tune the thing a bit better and maybe
even adjust the coupling a bit more. Though now that I have to run in the
driveway, I'm not going to be able to do a lot of trial-and-error
experiments as the noise at full power is now pretty loud (I will take
measurements next time) and the neighbors are taking notice.
Which brings me to anecdote #1: concerning the police.
Just as I was running up the power on my first test of the day two cop cars
went tooling past my house at what could be described as a reasonably
hurried pace. They were not heading to my place, but rather some
disturbance in the wooded mountain side area at the dead end. I ran my
coil, but was unable to see the arcs in the bright sunlight except for the
occasions when the streamers hit the strike rail. Otherwise, they were
My neighbors across the street are an elderly couple, and I have on occasion
helped them get out of their car when they return from errands. I wave to
them, they wave back. Since the coil has been in the driveway, they have
stopped waving and stare at me suspiciously.
They appeared in their garage, getting into their car. I waved, they
stared, I set about making a clamp to attach my tuning lead to the copper
tubing. I had been using an alligator clip, which on occasion of poor
tuning got so hot it burned the insulation off the wire upon which it was
soldered. So I switched to clamping the lead to the tubing with a piece of
sheet copper to make the connection less resistive. Though the clamping
slowed me down.
After about 30 minutes the two police cars pulled up in front of my house.
They were side by side, and the cops inside were talking to each other,
fairly well ignoring me in the driveway while I worked with a screwdriver
and wrench, tinkering about.
At this point my wife came and asked me for help mounting some shelving, so
I abandoned the coil in the middle of the driveway (which is only about 30
feet to the street), we put up the shelf. By the time the shelving was up
the cops were gone, though they had lingered for a while, and I even tried
to make eye contact to see if they wanted to ask about the coil. I figure
in our smallish town, its good for me to advertise what I am doing so nobody
confuses coiling for terrorism.
I live on a street that dead ends at a trailhead many people use on weekends
to take day hikes in the Santa Cruz mountains. So on weekends there is a
lot of foot traffic past the my house. I may have mentioned that last week I
had several passers by and even the UPS man approach me in my driveway and
challenge me about the coil - insisting they had uncovered my secret - that
I was going to make "free energy" with my machine. To get these strangers
to leave, I agreed with them wholeheartedly. The power and oil companies
ruled society as we knew it. And that it was only us makers of "free
energy" who were going to become the new rebellion that sweeps the globe.
That satisfied them. Though I think some of the hikers told other hikers,
and that's why I had more than one group come and insist I was making "free
energy", to which I absolutely agreed, figuring that with the persona of a
typical SC Mountains nutcase, I could be left alone in my tie dye shirts and
pony tail. Don't have the pony tail yet. Working on it.
Anecdote #2: the neighbors and police (again)
The wife and I decided to roll the coil out into the driveway to test my new
tuning, and to see the arcs better in the twilight. We rolled it out,
cranked it up to max power, let it hum for about 10 seconds, and then shut
it down. I took my measurements and was putting the coil back in the garage
when a neighbor called. He came over with his daughter-in-law asking to see
Of course. This is why we coil (partly). We want to show off our work.
I have everyone stand behind me, put their fingers in their ears (it really
echoes in the garage), and I crank up the coil. Nicer arcs because it's
Cool. The neighbor's son comes by, looking for his wife. Have to demo to
him. Oh joy. I get to run my coil again! And I do.
Then my wife suggests the classic fluorescent bulb experiment. My neighbor
and family are enthusiastic. Yes, we must see this.
We duct tape a fluorescent tube to a 5' ladder, put a breakout on the
toroid, and we make sparks. They hit the tube, it lights up, arcs come out
the far side of the tube and dance up and down the rungs of the ladder.
Everyone is thrilled.
Let's try more, they insist.
But no. It's 8PM and I know that very same neighbor has an infant daughter
(yes, a 30-year old son and an infant daughter - welcome to california) and
it's her bedtime. If his wife gets pissed at us, we're toast.
So we shut down for the evening.
Meanwhile, my neighbor across the street has come out and seen the crowd. I
wave and invite her over. She turns away. Some 15 minutes later the police
roll by. We wave. They wave and head on past.
Three cop cars in one day. I have lived here nearly 4 years and haven't
ever seen even one cop car. I'm too old for this disturbing the neighbors
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