Tesla coil Instructables are not uncommon--I've written one myself--but in the following Instructable I'd like to not only describe building a simple upright coil, but also suggest some easy ways to assemble Tesla system components. Sometimes the parts of a Tesla coil system are harder to get than the coil itself. Then, at the end, I will demonstrate (in a small way) how Tesla coils can transmit electrical power through the air without wires.
The essence of this Instructable is simplicity rather than brute power or maximum efficiency. Because my coils are small, indoor models, I prefer to follow a modular method of building them. Most Tesla coils are unitized--everything packaged together in a single unit, just plug and play. I like to build in modular fashion so I can switch components around, try different coils, capacitors, or power supplies. Consequently my designs are clipped together with alligator clips and length of high voltage wire. If you
prefer the unitized approach, you can certainly adapt this design that way.
This Tesla coil system consists of these parts:
A high voltage (7,500 volts, 30 milliamps) AC transformer
A pressurized spark gap
A capacitor array
The coil itself, consisting of a primary and secondary coil on some kind of supporting
A "top load," or terminal
Wire to connect everything
Optional components you will want include a variable transformer (variac), and a small
hose-type vacuum cleaner.
Fluorescent light tubes, with stands
Each of these topics will covered on a separate page.