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Can a fluorescent light ballast be used to drive a Tesla Coil? Answered

I'm thinking of the newer 'magnetic' high-frequency ones, or maybe even a CFL (https://www.instructables.com/id/MAKE-A-HIGH-VOLTAGE-SUPPLY-IN-5-MINUTES/). Of course a ~15 Watt CFL isn't going to output very much though.


You're fundamentally misunderstanding how a tesla tranformer is excited. It isn't DRIVEN at "100kHz" it OSCILLATES at 100k or whatever, by virtue of a high voltage capacitor and the transformer action. Its primary is pumped from a NST, the spark gaps etc help the excitation and pump energy into the primary, where the magnetics pump it into the secondary. Fundamentally, any decent HT AC source will stimulate one.

Maybe. Depends on the ftrans. The smaller crt's only use 2kv. Some of the larger color crt might use 60 kv. So, pick wisely and don't get bit.

I'm asking about using a fluorescent light ballast, not a Flyback Transformer (which is basically a type of Tesla Coil). The newer fluorescent ballasts use a high frequency (I don't think a high voltage though) to drive fluorescent lights. I wonder if I used one of those what I would need for spark gap, capacitor, etc. Or if it would even work at all.

Um, the link you quoted, uses the cfl electronics and FLYBACK TRANSFORMER obtained from a tv, comp. monitor or something with a crt. A flyback transformer is not even close to a tesla coil. It's just a step up transformer. A tesla coil is a stepup transformer but is resonant. It is this resonance that gives it its power. A ballast would not give you anywhere close to enough volts to build a tesla coil unless you use something to raise it up like a flyback trans. You could use a neon sign transfomer instead.

Oh, I see. I was thinking that because both are driven by a high frequency, The high frequency ballast would also work for a tesla coil as well (but with not quite as high of a voltage output because the ballast doesn't step it up). I see what you mean about resonance though, would it even be possible to tune a standard coil to run with a fluorescent ballast (I was thinking it would be kinda like a simple Solid State Coil)? If that wouldn't work, do you know of a good place to get a NST cheap/free (I got my flyback transformers from a TV repair guy, only catch was that I had to take the whole TV too. Good deal!)

A Tesla coil runs at frequencies several orders of magnitude higher than a flyback transformer, which is operating not much out of the audio band ! NSTs can be found on Ebay, or by looking up neon sign makers in the Yellow Pages.

I read somewhere (http://www.semiapps.com/High_Frequency_Ballasts_in_Fluorescent_Lighting_6360.aspx) that newer fluorescent ballasts run somewhere around 100KHz. I think that's about the same frequency of a typical spark-gap Tesla coil.

I noticed in the original question that I mention "magnetic" ballasts. I think those are actually the low frequency kind. What I had in mind was the "electric" kind.

AFAIR, small Teslas can oscillate in the Megahertz. That is what they were invented to do. Steve

And the NST is going to be running at 60 hz. in the US.

Uhm... I'm confused. The question was about CFLs rather than CRTs. (Not that I know the answer to the question.)