Picture of Solid State Tesla Coil
A solid state Tesla coil is one of the kinds of Tesla coils available. It has several advantages over the more common spark gap tesla coil. They are less louder than conventional Tesla coils, yet they can still achieve a respectable output. They can also be made to play music through its spark, which is a cool effect. Examples of this trick can be seen by searching for musical tesla coil or singing tesla coil. They are also more friendly to nearby electronic apparatus, although caution should still be applied.

In the following instructable, I will show you how to make a solid state Tesla coil, as well as several helpful tips and hints that will come handy during its construction. I take no credit for the original design, which is Steve Ward's, with some small modifications "here and there."

While fiddling with the antenna, I accidentally burnt both of the Mosfets, so bear in mind this design is far from perfect. I'm still posting the instructable, as some of the techniques I used may be interesting to some. Try at your own risks. Results may vary.

If you like this instructable, please rate it and vote my instructable for the contest.
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 75Next »
IshanD26 days ago

Hi Michael,

I am making this Tesla coil for a school project. I had a couple of questions. In other designs of an SSTC, there is no mention of a start-up circuit. What is this circuit doing exactly? Also, is it possible to have a GDT at the output of the IR2110 for better isolation of the high-voltage and the low-voltage side?

Hitman3121 month ago

i dont have made it yet. But how to Power it up or is it self-charging and no battery or something that?

NurK23 months ago

Would you sent me the schematic and the components of your tesla coil ? Please.....

Copepod3 months ago

Which exact diodes should I use for the bridge rectifier? I noticed the ones on steve ward's design are unlabeled and I couldn't tell what the ones where on your schematic. What should their ratings be?

sefus6 months ago

How much would this hurt/kill if you were to be shocked by it?

Michael Chen (author)  sefus6 months ago

The streamers probably won't hurt much, or at all. This is because the frequency is above what our nerves can sense. It still does damage so you should avoid it, but it wouldn't hurt.

On the other hand, the primary and the large DC caps can definitely hurt and/or kill if you touch them while charged.

That knowledge increased the amount of fun im going to have with this then

sefus6 months ago

What input voltage does this need? As I have a set up for a 20kV capacitance power supply, would this work in place of the mentioned control circuitry?

Michael Chen (author)  sefus6 months ago

What you are thinking about is a spark gap Tesla coil, which requires a high voltage supply. A solid state Tesla coil does not require this, as it works with mains voltage.

If you were to build a spark gap (not this instructable) tesla coil, your power supply probably wouldn't work; although I cannot be certain without knowing the current rating of your supply (20kV is plenty, but those usually have low current ratings).

Thank you for that

jasshopper7 months ago

could i use a SMPS from a PC as a powersupply, the blue(-12v) wire for 12v and white(-5v) for 5v?

Michael Chen (author)  jasshopper6 months ago

I wouldn't recommend it. SMPS tend to be more sensitive to electromagnetic noise; which the Tesla Coil produces in abundance. I'd recommend a transformer. If you go for a SMPS, it may or may not work.

i tried connecting using the -ve lines from my SMPS, and my ucc37322 blew, other components were left intact. My SMPS was kept a little far away from my coil and i was running the coil at 48v.

makershaker0511 months ago
Do you know how many volts the output of this tesla is? As in how many volts can its magnetic field power? You can test this by putting light bulbs in it and seeing the highest on it can power.
Michael Chen (author)  makershaker0511 months ago

You cannot test a voltage on a Tesla coil by putting light bulbs; I recommend you to read clearly the difference between voltage, current, and power to see why. Most household light bulbs (not counting cars) operate at 120V; the Tesla will light them all to varying degrees.

At these voltages, unless you have a (extremely expensive) high voltage ac meter, acquiring a precise measurement is unlikely. A (very vague guess) would be between 100kv and 500 kv.

makershaker0511 months ago
Sorry I don't know why it sent three
makershaker0511 months ago
Do you know how many volts the output of this tesla is? As in how many volts can its magnetic field power? You can test this by putting light bulbs in it and seeing the highest on it can power.
makershaker0511 months ago
Do you know how many volts the output of this tesla is? As in how many volts can its magnetic field power? You can test this by putting light bulbs in it and seeing the highest on it can power.
lam1 year ago
Hi Chen..
Could you tell me how wattage or ampere (240V or (120V) x I?? = watts) when your tesla coilworking.Thank you so much
jasshopper1 year ago
could i use irfp460 and increase the input voltage to about 220v? and what is the resistance of R4 and R3?
Could I get a nice list of materials? I'm looking to go somewhere and buy what I need... And I'd prefer to know what I need to get thanks
JHSTUBA1 year ago
I have a 4.25 OD PVC pipe, should I be fine? I also was wondering what length I should make the secondary winding, because you have yours as 17 inches, and Steve's is only 10
Michael Chen (author)  JHSTUBA1 year ago
Actually, tesla coils are not really that sensitive to coil specifications, as long as the aspect ratio is still close enough. Your pvc pipe is just fine.

Regarding the length, either one will work. In fact, steve ward's sstc 1 (which has a similar topology) has a 14" secondary; his sstc2 has a 18" (albeit this one uses a full bridge instead of a half bridge). Anything about this range should work fine.
Adrenal1ne2 years ago
I have been trying to make an Audio Modulated SSTC for a while now, and I have found that your Ible has been the most helpful yet. So on step 11, where you say this SSTC could become audio modulated by changing the interrupter to an audio one, what exactly does that mean? Circuit diagrams are definitely not my thing, and I have not been able to find a sophomoric explanation of an Audio Interrupter or MIDI Microcontroller. I hope someone can help me!
Michael Chen (author)  Adrenal1ne2 years ago
Well, actually, this tesla coil is not audio modulated.There is nothing on the schematic that performs audio modulation.

However, if you were to replace the smaller schematic (which is the interrupter's schematic) with one designed for audio modulation... well, you would have audio. There are several diagrams over the net. However, I would recommend you to only go for audio modulation after you get the basic setup running.
Would I be able to power this tesla coil with 240v without using a power converter or similar?
Michael Chen (author)  tesladude1232 years ago
While yes (with some minor modifications), I would recommend using one f]designed for 240v.This design is made for 240v:

If you still want to use my design or Steve Wards, there are some changes that need to be done, mainly replacing the mosfets with higher voltage equivalents.
Michael Chen (author)  Michael Chen2 years ago
I have decided to use your design because of the lack of components (mainly the ucc chips) I will most likely use FDH44N50 mosfets. One question, on the schematic all of the capacitors are eletrolithic but on steve wards schematic they are not, the capacitor that is 470uf, is that electrolytic and what voltage rating is it?
Michael Chen (author)  tesladude1232 years ago
Sure, those Mosfets are perfect. Regarding the capacitors, I kinda just used a single image for all of them, but not all of them have to be electrolytic.

     Usually, >1uf are electrolytic; <1 uF are not. The .68uF capacitors have to be non-electrolytic. Yes, the UCC chips are not that common. In fact, I made this design because I couldn't find them. However, this design does not use an isolation transformer as other designs.

     The disadvantage of this is that if you make a mistake, all the chips will blow up instead of just the mosfets. I see no reason why this wouldn't work at 240v, as long as you use the Mosfets you showed me, and the capacitors you use for the bridge are rated at at least 400v (240v * sqrt(2) + clearance). C5 should also be rated 400v; and for D3 you must use a diode that can withstand that voltage; UF4004 to UF 4007 will work. Don't use UF4001-UF4003, as their reverse voltage is not enough for 240.

I'll double check the schematic later to make sure everythin else will tolerate 240v, but so far that is all I can think of that has to be changed.

Curious fact: my design is just steve ward's design with this stuck in place of the UCC; if you look at the reference design you'll see my design is a virtual copy of that.
Ok, thanks for your quick reply. Another question though, the 470uf capacitor on the half bridge is that non-electrolytic, because I'm thinking it would be hard to get a capacitor that size and voltage for ac current.
Michael Chen (author)  tesladude1232 years ago
It is electrolytic (I seriously doubt they make non electrolytic 470uf caps). On the halfbridge section, the ones that are not electrolytic are the two .68uF capacitors. For every other capactor, just use whatever you find, either or. Just make sure that whatever you use on the halfbridge area can take at least 400v.
Thanks you are a great help, ill get back to you soon when i start building this tesla coil. P.S im using a auido interruptor seen here:
pranjal122 years ago
Hey can you provide clarification on the parts needed.As he schematic is not clearly visible. thnx
This project can cost u approx 600 to 700 $(INR 33000 to 38000). I recommend u to take a look at this 'ible
Michael Chen (author)  panny19962 years ago
Actually, your estimate is way off. I did mine with less than 100, although I did scrounge some pieces.

Besides, that tesla coil is a spark gap tesla coil; which uses a primary with 15 kv through bare coper wire. That type of tesla coil is potentially more dangerous than mine, as mine's primary uses 170 v in an insulated wire.

Besides, that one is potentially expensive. Right now, the one you linked uses leyden jar capacitors. Although it works, it is nowhere near its full potential. A commercial high voltage capacitor is expensive, so at the end, they end up kinda even.

The spark gap coil may be a tiny bit cheaper, but I don't consider that is worth the safety risks.
i get it that but the thing is, the guy to which i sent the message lives in India. I too live in India where the material required actually is expensive comparing to the costs in US.

Second thing is that the guy prefered to have better explanation, so... i got down to search and gave a ible that appeared to me bit more explanative.

So, don't misunderstand me dude.
The first answer i gave was a rough pricing, if i consider yours as 600, its relatively simple(according to you) that the other one is about a 1000$(For guys in India).
So, mix the answer and sorry if i hurted you.
Michael Chen (author)  panny19962 years ago
Sure, no problem; I understand not everything can be gotten anywhere at a fair price. For instance, my design is based on Steve Ward's design, but I had to make several modifications to the design in order to make it with what I could obtain cheaply in Panama.

Similarly, you can surely make a sstc on India, but to make it cheaply you would have to alter the design based on what you can obtain; a non trivial process which requires electronics knowledge. The other design (spark gap tesla coil) is way easier to modify and uses parts that are easier to obtain.

If you happen to make one, just make sure to really step back when they are on. Although the the streamers from the secondary shouldn't be lethal, if a streamer touches the primary and a person simultaneously...well..don't touch it.
thanks for understanding, i took a look at your other projects, i liked your PSP speaker mod.
By the way where do you stay in USA
1-40 of 75Next »