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Does a tesla coil need a spark gap? Answered

I was reading some instructables on how to build them, and they all have spark gaps, is that optional.  I assume it is just a power limiter for people who want to have control over their coil.


The spark gap is very important in a spark gap Tesla coil. It is important in the primary coils surge that will resonate the primary and secondary coils.

This is not optional in a spark gap Tesla coil but you can build a solid state Tesla coil that involves a circuit.

The spark gap is essential to the basic coil operation. It is essentially acting as a high voltage, high current switch.

I responded to another recent question that you asked, and included a short description of how the spark gap and the primary inductance and capacitance establishing the high frequency oscillation that then couples to the secondary.

It is common to also include "safety gaps" in tesla coils. These are used to arrest high voltage kickback that can deteriorate the insulation of the windings in the high voltage transformer (NST, microwave transformer, etc). These are spaced so that they fire at a voltage higher than the drive voltage, otherwise they would fire all the time.

Ok, I was just worried that a spark would reduce power. From what I understand a larger gap will yield more powerful sparks, but a small gap will have rapid arcs.


7 years ago

The spark gap is integral to the high frequency generation.