Introduction: Tesla Coil Night Light

This project celebrated the color green by using wireless power from a desktop, DIY Tesla Coil to illuminate a pair of colored, mini-fluorescent lamps.

TC construction was fairly easy using a "kicker coil" from Science First (cat# 26-2010; Buffalo, NY). With this component you won't need to build a separate spark gap. Just wire your caps in series with the included gap along along w/four pancake turns of #10 grounding wire. for the primary as indicated in the basic schematic. Then wind about 400 turns of #24 magnet wire for the secondary. I found a wood sofa leg and wrapped it in plastic mailing tape to make the secondary coil form.

Connect a 2.5 amp variac to the input lugs of the step-up coil which will kick up line voltage several notches; subsequent increases in voltage occur as the primary circuit resonates w/the secondary. Top off the secondary w/a donut shaped wood form covered w/copper tape or foil. Attach a power cord to the variac and mount everything in/on a wood box. I threaded the primary wire through pre-drilled holes of plastic strips cut from coat hangers and then screwed the assembly to the box top. Lastly, accessorize w/neon indicator lights, an On/Off switch, fuse and bold warning labels.

A professional coiler bench tested the TC and recommended a second capacitor deck for a total of 0.01 uFd. This mod led to almost 5 cm sparks at a resonant frequency of 1.07 MHz.. BTW, there's a small DC fan located under the gap to cool the contacts. The 12 V DC supply was positioned in the upper right corner of the box and ran off the variac.

I mounted two mini fluorescents on either side of the secondary as light sources. When the spark gap was adjusted for the lowest variac setting, the night light ran continuously for 4 hours! The internal components were barely warm to the touch.

Caution: As w/any line powered TC, even this small unit can bite like a cranky piranha if disrespected. So use care when the project is powered up and never operate it unattended.

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest