Introduction: MINI TESLA COIL 50KV!!!! (revised)

Picture of MINI TESLA COIL 50KV!!!! (revised)

On my last instructable about my mini Tesla Coil I did not do so well because I did not know much about them but since then I have learned much more and have batter plans.

How it works: First off the mains goes through a high voltage transformer and charges the capacitor bank. When the caps are done charging they will let the high voltage from the transformer "pass" through them. During that split second (much to fast for a human to detect) the arc will jump through the spark gap, which is automated with RSGTC's, the caps will discharge into the primary coil. This is where resonance comes in, the fast action of the caps and spark gap rapidly induces an electromagnetic field around the primary, what many dont know is it starts off as a low voltage that adds up each time the spark gap fires until it creates extra high voltage

-=This project deals with high voltage that could potentially be lethal, do not touch the streamers unless you know what your doing=-

-=never operate high voltage equipment before turning it off=- 

-=I will be some information from my other instructable=-

Step 1: You Will Need

Picture of You Will Need

1' tall 1/2" diameter PVC pipe or other non conductive cylinder 
about 5' of speaker wire, I didn't have enough of the thicker gauge wire
8" tall 1" diameter PVC pipe, you can use something a little wider but I couldn't find anything
10kV 23mA ignition transformer, you can get them on eBay for about $20-$40
15 1kV 0.01uF film capacitors
about 300ft of 32 awg mag wire
some 18 awg solid copper wire to connect everything
2 round headed bolts or "i" screws, try to keep them as smooth as possible 
a 10"x4" piece of wood
copper connectors or some 1" bolts with nuts
a drill with various sized bits
a hot glue gun
a soldering iron, with solder

Step 2: Spark Gap

Picture of Spark Gap

This is one of the most important part of the whole resonating thing, you could compare it to the heart in the brain, the brain cant control the hear without blood and the heart can't supply blood without the brain. with the heart being the spark gap and the brain being the capacitors: the capacitors charge up via the transformer, when they are charged the spark gap fires and releases its energy into the primary. without the spark gap you would have continuous input into the primary and without the capacitors all the power would just go straight through the spark gap. So lets make a spark gap.

If your using bolts:
Take two 2"x2" pieces of wood and drill a hole in the middle that can fit the bolts and put a nut on them to secure them or if the wood can hold them in place then dont worry about the nut. now glue these on the board in front of the inputs, the capacitors come after, then the primary, then the secondary.

If your using "i" screws:
First drill 2 holes at an angle where ever your going to position your gap, now screw them into the hole and adjust them until the are at an appropriate length apart . 

Step 3: Capacitor Bank

Picture of Capacitor Bank

The amount of capacitance is determined by the input current, I'm not entirely sure how to calculate this but I would be grateful for anyone who could post a comment on what the equation is. Now it just so happens that the amount  of capacitance we need is exactly the capacitance of the capacitors so we dont need to worry about soldering them in parallel, we just need to do something about the voltage so we only have to solder them in series. Its best to have the overall voltage of the capacitor bank about 2 or 3 times the about of voltage going in, so-we are using a 10kV 23mA transformer to power it, our capacitors are 1kV 10nF. Solder all the capacitors in series to increase the voltage to 15kV and were not going to solder any in parallel because like I said, the capacitance is perfect. You may want to put a 10M ohm resistor across the leads to discharge the capacitors after use, you will also need to hot glue the capacitor lead to keep them from sparking over if you built yours like mine. 

-=I did not get any pictures on how I made this because I built it for version 3 which I did not make an instructable on=-

Step 4: The Secondary and Primary

Picture of The Secondary and Primary

This will take a lot of time do do but is pretty easy. All you have to do is wrap the 32 awg wire around the PVC pipe until there is about an inch of space left on each side and hold in place with tape or do what most people do and cover it in gloss. The way I did mine: I put 3 nails into my desk, on one I put the role of wire, the other two I used to keep tension on the wire so I could use both hands to hold the pipe, it took me about 1/2 an hour to finish.

After you have cut your 1" diameter PVC to length grab your speaker wire and wrap it around he pipe. Strip the insulation off one end of the wire, and glue that to the bottom of the pipe. Put the other end in a vice and pull the wire tight (not to tight or the glue will come off), turn the pipe until you are all out of wire, the wire spacing should be about 1/2" apart. when you get to the end leave a bit of wire sticking out of the end and glue the insulated part to the pipe, now glue every turn to the pipe all the way down so it never comes loose. 

Glue the secondary onto the end board, I drilled a 1" hole before i glued it on for support. now slide the primary over and glue it to the board after you have centered it. 

In that last picture, the shine is the exposed wire but it looks like reflection on the insulation. 

Step 5: Wire It All Up

Picture of Wire It All Up

Connect the HV transformer to the AC mains, connect the spark gap in parallel with the HV output, after that connect the capacitor bank series and close it off with the primary coil. Put the secondary coil inside the primary and hook the bottom wire to ground (I did nothing with it) and add a topload/toroid/torus to increase the voltage and effects of the sparks. 


IbraheemS2 (author)2016-06-17

why speaker wire?

mannray (author)2014-07-09

I built a big one

OVERLOADED (author)2012-02-14

Jimmy are you still on instructables? I have been trying to reach you and left many comments about your 100kv EB driver. can you pls reply if your still taking on questions here thx.

Techno Dude (author)2012-01-08

Do u know someone who can help me

Jimmy Proton (author)Techno Dude2012-01-09

Can you read schematics?

Techno Dude (author)2012-01-07

I want to know how to connect 555 timer with ignition coil,because I tried another ignition coil driver,
but it dint work why can some one pleas help me?

Jimmy Proton (author)Techno Dude2012-01-08

I didn't use an ignition coil, I used an ignition transformer. there's a difference. but I've never made an ignition coil driver so I don't know how to help.

Bumba Lodh (author)2011-12-28

Hi,I built a TESLA COIL with 5kv 30ma nst.Primary coil made with 4mm
copper tube with 10 turns secondary made with 2inch PVC pipe.Winding
height 10.2inch(0.315mm enameled copper wire used) also made Capacitor
bank with 2kv 0.15uF polyester film capacitor.But the problem is my
Capacitor burnt several times but the coil works with LEYDEN JAR
capacitor.Why the capacitor burning??????

Please Help Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

techxpert (author)2011-12-07


Techno Dude (author)2011-09-19

can u tell me the connect of the 555timer and ignition coil?

Bumba Lodh (author)2011-09-17

I've bought 5Kv 30mA NST at 35$. Please tell me how many capacitor needed?

Here is Some Formula that can help you
1. calculate the resonant frequency of the secondary circuit:
f = [2π√(L(Ccoil+Ctop))]^(-1)

2.The primary coil forms an LC oscillator together with the capacitor. The desired inductance can be calculated with the following formula: L = [(2πf)2C]^(-1) C is the capacitance of the tank capacitor and f is the resonant frequency of the secondary coil.

3.The resonant capacitor value for the power supply can be calculated with the following formula: C = I ⁄ (2πfU)

and Visit

hope it may help you

josh1324 (author)2011-09-11

Amazing! 5*s!

Bumba Lodh (author)2011-09-09

i want to say can i use transformer(I Found it from my Old CD player) coil's wire to make primary coil

Jimmy Proton (author)Bumba Lodh2011-09-10

If you unwind the wire from the transformer then it could work but its good to use thicker wire.

Bumba Lodh (author)2011-09-09

how to make a toroid

Bumba Lodh (author)2011-09-08

I've large amount of 200volts ac to 12 volts step down transformer coil. can i use it for make secondary coil

Jimmy Proton (author)Bumba Lodh2011-09-08

I'm not sure what your asking.

Techno Dude (author)2011-08-20

why do u need an 555 timer

Jimmy Proton (author)Techno Dude2011-08-20

Because transformers cannot run on smooth DC so you use an oscillator (555 timer) to disrupt the current and then you are able to drive a transformer.

Techno Dude (author)2011-08-12

so I was thinking of making a tesla coil using battery and ignition coil do I need a 555timer

Jimmy Proton (author)Techno Dude2011-08-13

Not necessarily as there are different kinds of oscillators that can be used to drive an ignition coil. Here you can find a ton of schematics.

sguy1 (author)2011-06-17

i am working on one of the teslacoil medium sized. but i don't know which part should i ground? is it the capacitor! or the primary coil or secondary coil? or none!
i again want t0 ask again one question
do we have to connect primary coil and secondary coil? i just don't get this part! how primary coil gets that enormous amount of voltage! is it because of the magnetic field due to secondary coil as you mentioned above!
please do reply soon because the science exhibition for high school is soon in my town.

Jimmy Proton (author)sguy12011-06-18

The bottom of the secondary is grounded and the primary gets its power from the discharge of the capacitors.

.Unknown. (author)2011-05-07

Do you still need RF chokes like the last tesla coil you did?

Jimmy Proton (author).Unknown.2011-05-07

No, you don't even need them in the other one, its better without them.

baker amin (author)2011-04-29

Hi. thank you for this instructable. if you want to know the equation you talked about in step 3, then download this program from this link

this program is called "Tesla Coil CAD" and its uses to designing tesla coils.
Hope you like it.
And I have a question. did you make it from the first time. I mean did it work from the first attempt??

Jimmy Proton (author)baker amin2011-04-30

That program did not give an equation, just a calculator.

Jimmy Proton (author)baker amin2011-04-29

Thanks, and yes it worked the first time I powered it up.

Incandescence (author)2011-04-29

Good job, this is one of the best instructables about Tesla coil I have seen.

I understand how the primary part work, but i don't get it for the secondary, an end of the coil has to be wired with the earth (something like a radiator?)?So the circuit is open, why is there a current and how can it produce an arc?

I'd like to build one but i'm a little concern about safety, I was really surprised when i saw you "touching" the arc, why doesn't that hurt you? I thought HV was dangerous.

Sorry if my english is not correct but it's not my mother tongue.

Grounding is usually only used for larger Tesla Coils like the one I'm working on now but this thing is so small it doesn't really matter.
When the spark gap fires all the capacitor energy is released into the primary which makes a magnetic field that is picked up by the secondary. The primary induces more and more voltage each time it fires, it starts out low and builds up very high each time and if you know much about high voltage it tends to make sparks.
There is very little output current so it wont hurt to touch it like that and you cant hardly feel it (you can a little bit) and if your not touching anything connected to ground or something else on the Tesla Coil then you'll be fine because it never leaves your body and even if you were it still probably wouldn't hurt you.

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