Instructables

Step By Step Plans to Building a 250,000 Volt Tesla Coil. (REVISED VERSION)

Step 1: The Parts That You Will Need.

Picture of The Parts That You Will Need.
The parts you will need to build a tesla coil:

1. 6500 volt 23 milli amp transformer found at amazing1.com

2. 10,000 volt capacitor found at amazing1.com

3. Spark Gap found at amazing1.com

4. PVC Pipe 5-6 inches wide 3 feet long Found At The Home Depot

5. Copper tubing (refrigerator tubing) 1/4th inch diameter 30 feet found at The Home Depot

6. Toriod Found at Amazing1.com

7. 24-26 AWG magnet wire electronixexpress.com

8. Safety Glasses

9. Drill

10. 1/8 Drill Bit

11. Masking Tape

Step 2: Links For Tesla Coils and Other Supplies.

www.unitednuclear.com
www.teslacoil.com
www.tesladownunder.com
www.pbs.org/tesla/ins/lab_tescoil.html
www.powerlabs.org/coil2.htm
www.mos.org/sln/toe/tesla.html
www.richieburnett.co.uk/tesla.shtml
www.teslasociety.com/teslacoil.htm
www.pupman.com/safety.htm
www.angelfire.com/electronic/cwillis/tesla.html
www.tb3.com/tesla/index.html
www.teslasystems.com/gallery/index.html
www.ttr.com/index.htm
www.old-mage.com/tech/Tesla.htm
www.deepfriedneon.com/tesla_guide.html
www.qsl.net/ke5fx/tesla.html
www.tesla-coil-builder.com/double_cone_bipolar_tesla_coil.htm
www.penguinslab.com/tesla.htm
www.teslacoil.org
www.bizarrelabs.com/ind2.htm
www.tfcbooks.com/mall/more/371tcbg.htm
www.teslamap.com/guide.html
www.tesla-coil-builder.com
www.classictesla.com
www.teslamania.delete.org/frames/coilgallery.html
www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/6160/tesla/tesla.html
www.geocities.com/bob_motz/chipid
www.teslacoils4christ.org
www.lod.org
www.members.tripod.com/~mad_coiler/tesla.htm
www.hbci.com/~wenonah/tommy/td.htm
 
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Xellers4 years ago
I know that it has been a while since this was posted, and quite a while since I last visited this page, however, I feel the need to point out that this Tesla Coil does not work and following these plans is dangerous. The author claims that he has achieved sparks that were a few inches in length. Unfortunately, given his apparent understanding of his device and given how poorly it was constructed, even these mediocre results seem somewhat far-fetched. At the moment, I am trying to communicate with an admin to have this instructable temporarily removed until it is made to be up to par with the community standards of this website. Posting dangerous instructions about topics which one does not completely understand not only does you disservice by slandering your name, but it also puts the entire community at risk. Attaching warnings such as "IT WILL KILL YOU INSTANTLY THERE IS NO SECOND CHANCE!!!" does not help.
I highly agree, everything about this coil looks dangerous. Please, for your own safety, make a proper Tesla Coil, meaning not having the power switch next to the primary, which can more than easily kill you.

you don't even know what you're talking about.

This instructable needs to be removed before someone kills themselves.

Yeah, let's ban the universe from generating high voltages, lets change the laws of physics to limit the voltage in everytinhg to 5v, then after that lets change the law of gravity too, because gravity can kill you and there's no advice that gravity can kill, and after that let's ban water too, because we doesn't know what's in that water, let's drink just coke cola, we know that coke cola don't kill right?

Now THIS is why innovation and information suppression is alive and well - it's from some people believing that they are entitled to censor others because there is the possibility that a small handful of people *may* make a mistake, causing potential personal injury. Why do you feel that someone's lack of ability should ruin it for everyone else, especially those who CAN safely work with high voltages?

This is a situation where some feel the need to remove other people's freedom to make choices for themselves, catering to those who cannot (or will not) take responsibility for their own actions. If someone decides to build this project, that same someone needs to understand their own limitations before starting, then choose to build it if they feel they are within those capabilities - and does so at his own peril. Even those fully qualified to work on this sort of thing DOES SO AT HIS OWN PERIL, accidents happen to everyone.

I like the project, I am quite capable of working with high-voltage safely, why should I not have the the freedom and opportunity to benefit from this idea, merely because there are a handful of people that *MAY* attempt it and fail.

If someone is not qualified to drive a car, drives anyway and kills themselves, do we get rid of cars because this is a real possibility? Do we outlaw swimming because those who are inexperienced might drown? If the citizens of some countries weren't so quick to assign blame and sue another for their own misfortunes - a result of their own poor choices, clumsiness or simple stupidity - this "Nanny State mentality" would not be required. To shift the onus and responsibility for a hobbiest's safety onto the shoulders of those presenting the ideas and material to the masses, to the extend that it does, is almost unheard of in other countries. These people need to be aware of their own abilities or lack thereof.

And yet, prior to these last few decades of being legally responsible for others if they follow your suggestions, it was already a natural-developed tradition, out of common courtesy and care for his fellow man, that potential risks and dangers were pointed out in the interest of safety, that may not have otherwise been apparent.

I'm absolutely in favour of including a paragraph that clearly draws one's attention to areas where potential dangers and unique risks may be lurking within the idea or project, including personal observations or experiences, and suggested ways to minimise those risks. But it has gone WAY TOO far when it's required that someone sharing an idea has to nervously state he is not responsible, the publication is not responsible, the company and it's shareholders are not responsible etc. if you have an accident. GET REAL!! Handholding and babysitting that extreme and overprotective stifles innovation and creativity because many are too scared of being liable for another's actions... ruining it for everyone, including those enlightened countries able to enjoy such information.

*As an example (in an entirely unrelated field) - there exists an arrangement of huge, outdoor machines that move with such speed and force that you would be instantly killed if you got too close. That situation is prevented with elaborate gate and fence configurations of an exact height and grid spacing, including locking mechanisms and signage. In Europe, however, the exact same arrangement exists, but without the fences and paranoia - people there ARE responsible for their own actions and misfortunes. The machines?? Amusement rides at the carnival.

Sometimes people have to be able to skin their knees to understand that you need brakes on a go-kart. Making people walk through life in sheets of bubble-wrap and sewn-on mittens is not fair to those who won't fall-down-go-boom.

I'm not attacking anyone, especially you. I'm merely pointing out to those calling for the removal of this article that even the "scary and dangerous" projects deserve to exist for the overwhelming majority, and those who want to use them.

Everyone, please be careful when working with high voltages, and recognise whether or not you are experienced enough to safely build such devices. There is NO shame in asking for assistance from those who do have the experience needed to successfully and safely build and learn from this device, and others like it. If you are unclear about something, ask - but if you have the slightest doubt of your capabilities, try a similar project that is less risky to develop the skills you need to move up to a more challenging one.

Bottom line - BE SAFE - but the plain reality is, if you do mess up, it's your own fault.

Thanks for listening. Peace!

~Dave

Hi, Tesla peeps! Can I use ignition coils of cars instead of capacitors? Can someone help me build one that is in Solid State? I'll be helping my son build his (and mine, as well) first Tesla coil for his Science Project (one that could play .mp3 music from his iShuffle). After which, we could use this on New Year's day & 4th of July. This has to be done on or before December (2014).

Do the direction, spacing, and shape of the primary coil matter? It sounds like you can "tune" it for maximum spark length but if I just set it up in a coil or helix with no measurements will it still produce something?
studiobil3 years ago
DANGER -- DANGER - DANGER

!!! THIS COULD KILL YOU !!!

PLEASE REMOVE!!!
so?
can i use a flyback transformer driven with a 2n3055 driver for a tesla coil
Any electrical project "could kill you" if you make the right mistakes.

Everyone has the right to have access to this material. Why remove it simply because there *may* be a few people that fail or get hurt as a result of not knowing what they are doing? That's called CENSORSHIP!

Drinking too much water can kill you, crossing the street can kill you, eating (and choking on) a meatball can kill you. Life is full of deadly risks every single day. It's ENTIRELY your job to choose for yourself those tasks you are capable of doing, in a manner that will minimise the risks.

It's all about choices, and living (or not) with the results of those choices.

Peace!
so can lots of things....you just have to know what your doing.
DANAN993 years ago
your secondary can also look like this
photo.bmp
Easier to make and almost as efficient
thats not a secondary, its a primary
i will not allow this
What is it that you "won't allow"?? If it's this project you "won't allow", it seems that it HAS been allowed for over two years. Just saying.
I just got 10 pounds of 24 AWG magnet wire for $90 (US). Call a local motor repair shop and ask who supplies their wire. They should carry 10 pound spools, or if you're lucky the motor repair shop might sell you some directly.
minh6342 years ago
will it work with a flyback transformer?, also if it doese i need to know what wires hook to wat and how its getting electricity? batteries, mains?
(removed by author or community request)
Tesla Coiler (author)  TheDeviant135 years ago
I am surprised that you survived that encounter with that microwave oven transformer there is some nasty current levels in them things, you are looking at about 20 amps or amperes from a microwave oven transformer. That is my guess because they will make a nice arc with a monstrous buzzing or humming sound, and you can feel the heat off of the arc from a couple of inches away. I have been electrocuted by the 6500 volt transformer on accident. I was doing a demonstration for my science class about 4 years ago and I brushed up against both of the HV leads it felt like getting punched in the chest and being pulled extremely hard and quickly. But the current that the 6500 volt transformer was creating was only 23 miliamps. That is half of what is needed to stop a human heart. You were very lucky to survive that electrocution. Be very careful.
You obviously need to learn more about high voltage. If the maximum current that is necessary to trip your breaker is 15 amps, then how could a step up transformer possibly give more than that and not trip the breaker? You don't need to know much about MOTs to know that they honor the known laws of physics. The actual number is about 0.5 amps, or 500 milliamps depending upon the size of the transformer. While this is still very deadly, and you are lucky if you survive a shock from one, you really need to know what you are dealing with before making foolish assumptions like you did.
Tesla Coiler (author)  Xellers5 years ago
you can maximize the amperage by using thicker wire, I use a generator to run my experiments. I don't use the mains to power my transformers due to the fact I don't want to run up a high bill. please don't tell me what I do or do not know.
Thicker wire, while more efficient, will not make a significant difference unless you are running a power company that distributes electricity throughout town. In any case, if you run a MOT unballasted, then the core will quickly saturate and it will keep trying to draw more and more current. Even if you were to have an infinite amount of power that you could feed into it, it would burn out rather quickly without ever reaching anywhere near 20 amps on the output side. If you really want something that deadly, wire a distribution transformer (pole pig) in reverse and try to build a Tesla Coil with that. It's been done before. I wish I had a generator....
f.3 Xellers2 years ago
I am new to this so yeah go ahead and tear my head off and spit down my throat like everyone seems to do these days with their fake online lives. I am not here for a peeing contest. On the contrary I would like it if you people put them beautiful brains together to sort out problems. I mean really you two are so smart then why are you saying that your using the "Grid" or an "IC" engine to power a device meant to (grow) electrical current from the 1800's? My challenge is for you two to put your minds together to generate electricity that you can grow with this device without the use of the Modern Grid electric and or an IC. Ha I even know the answer to this one.. I'm sure we all will be waiting for yours. You two get along and you can do it, we all have a lot to learn from each other. Oh and if you bark at me not only will you not get my answers but you will also get laughed at. I find these fake online identities hilarious. People will say in an instant on here what they fear they my say in REALITY or REAL LIFE so please treat this like its a part of your real life. Good luck and your clue.. perpetual motion.. another great one from way before our time that nobody has had the presence of mind to exhaust the possibilities of yet.
Tesla Coiler (author)  Xellers5 years ago
that is my plan to use a Pole Pig. but I don't have the money to do that yet I first have to get through college then I should have the time and money to do that. Pole Pigs that I have seen are anywhere from 1000-10,000 dollars depending if they are used or not. I plan on getting a new one. But then I will need a variac and one massive Faraday Cage, not to mention alot of space and a bigger generator.
I've actually heard of people getting their hands on them for only a hundred or two, but be careful, these may be illegal to operate in some areas.
Xellers Xellers5 years ago
By the way, if you can, please post some pictures of your coil in action. I really want to see it.
Tesla Coiler (author)  Xellers5 years ago
My Pictures and videos will be on the way in 2 days I finally fixed my Tesla Coils secondary coil and capacitor. I am now getting 3 inch arcs even though that is not much but it is a start. as soon as I get that pole pig I will have some real fun. the next coil that I am making is going to be 7 feet tall powered with 4 neon sign transformers and 100 capacitors, with a rotary spark gap, the primary coil will be adjustable by remote control, the spark gap also will be remote controlled for adjustability, the toroid will be 2 feet in diameter, 10,000 wrappings for the secondary coil, and 20 wrappings for the primary coil. there will be a generator built in to the power cabinet. I am expecting arcs to be 15 feet long from this monster. I hope this works out because this will be alot of money to build.
10,000 windings on the secondary coil? Tesla Coils work because of resonance, the turns ratio is more or less insignificant. Instead of more windings, you should use thicker wire. 1000 turns is about right. How will you make the primary coil adjustable;le by remote control? The Tesla Coil will disrupt any such electronics. Also, even if you use 4 16kV 60ma neon sign transformers, the maximum spark length (with 100% efficiency) is less than 10 ft. I used the formula found here: http://www.deepfriedneon.com/tesla_frame6.html to calculate this.
Tesla Coiler (author)  Xellers5 years ago
I am also trying to figure out how many Kilovolts my Tesla Coil is creating. is there some sort of formula that I can use.
Tesla Coiler (author)  Tesla Coiler5 years ago
Here is a list of problems that I am having with my Tesla Coil I am having trouble locating a toriod Locating a brand new NST at 15KV 60MA I am not sure how to attach the toriod Is there a special motor that I need for a syncronus rotory spark gap I need help finding new capacitors that are compatible with a Tesla Coil What type of capacitors should I use
Why don't you try to improve your existing Tesla Coil first? Try to make it give 12 inch sparks. Toroid: For your first few runs, you might not even need one. But later on, you can buys something on eBay, but they get expensive. The spherical ones work worse, but are cheaper. If you really can't afford it (like me), then try to make your own. There are many instructions out there on the web. I have not yet had to make a good one because my Tesla Coil is very small and I just use some balled up AL foil;. For anything serious, you will need to make an investment. NSTs: The transformers are the hardest part. Your project sounds big, and expensive. On eBay, these type of transformers go for dozens of dollars each. I recommend that you use MOTs instead for this coil. This will save you a great deal of money, but you will need to have multiple ones to get a high enough output voltage, and I recommend that you also use a voltage multiplier. Tesladownunder has a good example of a MOT powered coil. Look at his schematics. You could also use a single ballasted MOT with a 5 stage multiplier for a slightly smaller coil. Attaching the Toroid: Attaching the toroid is hard because you want to prevent coronal discharges except from the toroid itself. Unfortunately, you will always experience losses, but there are ways of minimizing them. I admit that I have no experience with this, but I would imagine that you take a nut and bolt and attach them through a short piece of wood. This piece of wood should then be fitted into the very top of the secondary coil, in such a way for the bolt to stick out of the top of the secondary. Then, you proceed to soldier and wrap the top wire coming out from the secondary coil around the bottom of the bolt. The topload ism then screwed onto this bolt. If this isn't clear, then tell me, I will draw a picture. Spark Gap: I too have little experience with rotary spark gaps, but I do know how they work. You can use any type of motor as long as you can control the speed that it spins at. Be it through pulse width modulation, a variable resistor, or a lamp dimmer, you need a very fast motor that you can slowly bring from zero to several thousand (or more) rpm. The contacts on the gap need to be very close together so that it fires each time. This requires very good construction and a decent investment of time and money. Capacitors: Don't use ceramic disk capacitors. Use polypropylene or similar capacitors. I think that anything you find on eBay sold as a "Tesla Ham High Voltage Capacitor" should work fine. Voltage: The voltage that you are creating with your coil can only be estimated using the length of the sparks that you create. This also depends on your altitude, the relative humidity, and many other factors. However, you can usually make a decent estimate using data tables found oj the internet. You will never be exactly right, but you will be able to tell if you coil is making between 100 and 200 kV or 200 and 300 kV. If you need any more help, feel free to ask.
Tesla Coiler (author)  Xellers5 years ago
I have another question you said that you can't boost the amperage of the 120 volts 15 amps that flows from the house mains by using a transformer but how do arc welders boost the amperages?
Because an arc welder uses a lower voltage with a very high current. It exchanges voltage for more amps. It's called a Step Down transformer
I said that you can't boost the amperage with a STEP UP transformer. However, with a STEP DOWN transformer, you can.

Voltage * Amperage = Wattage

Therefore, you can use the same amount of power either by having a high voltage and a low current (as with a step up transformer), a medium voltage and current (as with the mains), or a low voltage and a high current (as with an electric welder). Look at the instructables on converting MOTs into arc welders. All of them call for you to remove the original secondary windings on the MOTs and wind your own secondary that is only a few turns of heavy gauge wire. This changes them from STEP UP transformers that produce approximately 2kV at up to an Ampere, to STEP DOWN transformers that produce about dozen or two volts at several dozen Amperes.

I hope that this answers your question. By the way, where are the pictures?
Xellers Xellers5 years ago
Pictures of sparks coming yet?
Tesla Coiler (author)  Xellers5 years ago
I am trying to use a mirowave oven transformer for my Tesla Coil, and I am having some trouble with hooking it up to my primary circuit. I am not getting the arcs in my spark gap and I keep tripping my breaker system each time I hook the MOT up to the Tesla Coil. I know that we don't really get along but this has been very anoying. is there something that I don't know or is there something different that I need to do?
Yes, there is a very simple solution to your problem with the circuit breaker. All that you need to do is add an inductive ballast. Every time that you turn on the MOT, it tries to draw more and more current as the core becomes more and more saturated, eventually it draws more than your breaker can handle. If you add an inductive ballast, this problem will go away. Either wire one from an old mercury vapor lamp in series with the MOT, or even use another MOT with its secondary windings shorted out in series with your MOT. This also current limits the output of the MOT that you are using.

The problem with the spark gap is a bit harder to solve. Use a voltage multiplier or two MOTs in an antiparallel configuration. 2kV is not quite enough to power a Tesla Coil. Here is an example of three MOTs being used in a 4kV power supply. One is used as an inductive ballast, and the other two are in anitparallel: http://www.andreas-kilchenmann.ag.vu/index.html (look at his MOT stack page, note that the site does not always work). The spark gap itself is also harder to construct. The high current of the MOT will quickly vaporize the ends of the gap, so it will become wider and wider until it no longer works. The solution to this is to use tungsten electrodes and a fan. You can also use a rotary spark gap. I once tried to make a MOT powered Tesla Coil, but problems with the spark gap forced me to abandon my hopes. I hope that you will enjoy better luck.

Also, if you still have any questions, or need to know more about inductive ballasting, feel free to ask.
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