Instructables
A few months ago I made a small desktop Tesla Coil that was powered by a 12 volt supply. When I presented it at school, everyone acted like it was something that could only be seen in a movie. So I decided to document it here to show 'iblers that you don't need very much power to get the coil to work, it could even be powered by a battery which I did do at one point. Most people say that you need at least 5000 volts at a lot of current, but I just used an ignition coil running off a switching circuit I made. I hope that this will be useful or inspiring to anyone who wants to make their first Tesla Coil but doesn't know how to start (this is actually my second but it is built using the main parts from the first one). This was also built on an almost $0 budget since most of the parts I either had on hand or were recycled. Something cool about this is that the circuit has the option to be wired to play music very easily, but not at the best quality. Full documentation here, and my full website with all the other projects here.
 
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Step 1: The Tesla Coil Circuit

Here is what my setup looked like (very amateur with alligator clips) and what the schematic looks like for the Tesla Coil. This is a basic spark-gap Tesla Coil with no safety features or regulators. I initially wanted a solid-state Tesla Coil, but I don't have much experience mixing high voltage and complex electronics together, so I kept it simple to see if it would work, and it did. I also designed this circuit to not need a grounding connection when in operation, but it is probably recommended to have one in there for better performance. If you do decide to include the grounding, then be careful to not use something that appliances and stuff are connected to, try to make your own grounding connection. More info on solid state TC's can be found here.
matt826102 months ago
Dude. I thought (for a better output) you were supposed made the primary and second resonant with each other..? Or am I mistaken
techno guy (author)  matt826102 months ago

Yes, you're supposed to, but I wasn't in the position to do accurate math with such make-shift parts and I don't posses an LCR meter at the moment, so it was just easier to gun it in this case.

matt826102 months ago
Make*
Cheerfultrout7 months ago

I'm really trying to understand how you made this Tesla Coil, but a a lot is unclear about your design (at least it is to me) thanks in advance for answering my questions! What was the diameter of the wire you used in the primary and secondary coil? Also, what kind of wire did you use, and how many turns are there in your coils? What is the secondary coil wrapped around? Why is that bottle labeled as a capacitor? Did you make your own capacitor using the bottle in some way (if so, how did you make it) or does the bottle serve some other purpose?

techno guy (author)  Cheerfultrout7 months ago
As for the diameters of the wires, I cannot say because I don't know, but the thin wire was salvaged from a motor and the thicker wire was salvaged from what klooked like an inductive current limiter, but both are copper wire, I think the thin one is marketed as enameled magnet wire, the thicker wire though should be 18 awg or thicker, I also do not know how many turns there are on the coil, just wind as many as possible. The secondary is wrapped around a toilet paper tube. The bottle is a capacitor called a Leyden jar, which you can find how to build by searching "Leyden jar" or "tesla coil capacitor".
Thanks! The info should definitely help me with my project.