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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.

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steveastrouk

9 years ago

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.

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Re-design

9 years ago

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.

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PhahQRe-design

Answer 9 years ago

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.

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Re-designPhahQ

Answer 9 years ago

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.

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PhahQRe-design

Answer 9 years ago

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!)

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steveastroukPhahQ

Answer 9 years ago

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.

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PhahQsteveastrouk

Answer 9 years ago

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.

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steveastroukPhahQ

Answer 9 years ago

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

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Re-designsteveastrouk

Answer 9 years ago

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

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orksecurityRe-design

Answer 9 years ago

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