Monday, November 26, 2012


"Meditation is power"
The Buddha sits on my Tesla coil, enlightened also by the very high voltage arcing into the air around him.

My main goal for high voltage experiments has been to build tube lasers and eventually build a full Tesla coil. I want to reach a full foot long arc and get to more then 1million volts eventually.  I still have a long way to go, but this is a good start.  Mostly for me--it's about money and how resourceful I can be at building coils with very little of it. I have finally built a REAL Tesla coil that operates via an arc and capacitor combination. Not just a flyback or transformer setup in series.  It was not as difficult as I thought it might be, and since my successful Coil Driver circuit was perfected I have been able to run a lot of things.  I also learned a great deal about TV circuits and Flybacks.  I have many projects planned, one is to build my own O-scope from scratch.  I have done something similar before--back in the mid 1990s I built a "ocilograph" from scratch with a B&W TV but the picture was weak and I never perfected the drivers and amplifiers for it's deflection coil.  I now know how to do so.  This is one of my planned projects.  I have used many means to drive flyback or LOPT transformers from old TVs to homemade AC ones.  Hartley Oscillators to my take on the ZVS as I posted before--and now, my favorite, a flexible synthetic oscillator and mosfet combination. Simply a 555 and power mosfet IRFP260 was my obvious choice for getting the most out of flybacks without burning them out.  Thus the Coil Driver 1628 was born, which I will explain later--powers a TV flyback and here thus the Tesla coil circuits.   I am sure I am not the first one to ever use a TV flyback to run a 150Kv Tesla coil--however--I have never seen anyone do it on the Internet or anywhere else.   I decided to power my coil with a large TV flyback (yes DC due to it's built in diodes)- as I had no choice.  I simply had to-- on a very low budget put this coil and two others together with whatever I had laying around.  The primary is made of old TV coax, the coil itself wound around an old plastic bottle.  I built the adjustable arc chamber inside a pill container which surprised the very loud sounds it made (possible since the arcs are slow and thus not enough heat generated to melt the plastic--makes for easy adjustment of arc).   Since my largest Tesla coils powered by flybacks run at a pulsed frequency rather then the more constant 60hz a NST (Neon Sign Transformer) will produce the heat generated is less and arc chambers that keep things quiet are more easy to make.  I have since saved my pennies and ordered a 12Kv NST which I got and modified so that I did not have to worry about any GFI circuits and got a coil going over night with a new primary--again made of very useful old TV coax! I had to remove the darn GFI "smart" circuits because they will shut down an NST if it is used to power things like a Tesla coil since they produce many voltage and RF fluxes.  I made short work of the GFI circuits only because I have a very good understanding of transformers and high voltage transformers.  Do not attempt to remove a GFI from an NST unless you really know what you are doing it can be VERY DANGEROUS.  It is better to buy a NOS (New Old Stock) transformer or transformer from another country that does not have the crazy GFI laws.  Funny thing is, they don't prevent you from being shocked or fires from starting very well!  I was surprised at this, it took several min before the GFI circuits did anything about serious fault problems and I was not even in "setup mode".  My tests showed that with the GFI an arc could run for more then 10min with a load, plenty of time to start a fire or shock someone.  The GFI circuits and the law to need them is a joke when it comes to the NST! I really despise big brother laws like that--and putting chips in everything to protect mainly adults from ourselves. This site is not about politics--however.  None of these pictures show the coil powered with an NST--they are all with the coil powered using a large color TV flyback coil and my Coil Driver 1628 build.

So all of these pictures are of the flyback version powered by my Coil Driver which was built to drive flybacks and other transformers as well as figure out unknown and unmarked transformers.  To make this simple as I can explain, the "PWR Coil Driver 1628" which I have named it since I built it--drives a large TV flyback which then drives an arc chamber.  Then the HV is passed into 3-4 homemade capacitors (each about 1500pf 50kv) and then the primary of my Tesla coil--which is about 17 turns of shorted TV coax.  I max out the flyback with my driver which has a lot of flexibility (it can be used to even control motors or power iron core 60hz transformers all the way up to small RF AC arc welding transformers) and thus get nearly 50,000 volts out of the large flyback. I am thinking of using another chip to drive the frequency range even higher--another timer chip that can go into the HF range in the future, this could be really interesting.  I also am adding a singing arc system, either will be input to the 555 or a bifilar wound transformer on the mosfet's gate.  I did that and it worked very well with the prototype version of my Coil driver.  I will post videos of my singing arc later.  So back to the Tesla coil--the flyback voltage (about 30-50kv) is then arced so that it can produce the discharges needed to power my Tesla coil with homemade capacitors.  It has a primary resonance without capacitors of nearly 14Mhz!  Really high! But that's just the freq. of the primary air core coil alone, not taking into account the caps in this resonant circuit or anything else.  I have yet to calculate all of the math in my Tesla coil.  At least I finally got a fully operational Tesla coil going and now I am finally posting it!

Much of my success was hours of experimentation and electronics intuition.  As you can see I did not just find a how-to on the internet.  I wanted to see if it could be done with a TV flyback and proved that it really could--and very well!

You can't keep a good scientist or photographer down!
I have to experiment and get ideas around my pain attacks and physical illness issues that are a daily problem.  But doing things when I can, I have spent as much time as I can working on this and continuing my exploration of high voltage electronics.  I have over 20 years experience in electronics, --now combining my photography with electronics is one of the best things I have ever done.  It has been fun, but reminders of my physical difficulties come up all too often.  I don't like to talk about it much in my blog.  I just want to show what I can accomplish despite my life challenges.  Have fun looking at my plasma pictures!
 Here is a corona shot--this is what it really looks like and soon a video will be up showing a bit more.  Notice the big home made capacitors in the background.

If you are not comfortable doing what you are with high voltage, you should NEVER do it unless you are supervised by someone who is.  This is VERY DANGEROUS and experience is necessary.  I have spent years reading and working on many types of projects before I got here.  Don't take shortcuts and if you want to get into high voltage or Tesla coils--find a mentor who will help you knowledgeable and trained in electronics.  I am now a licensed Technician in radio and have done everything from taking collage courses to a mentor-ship in my pre-teen and teen years and then studying on my own. It took me years to get good enough to do many of the things you might see in my blog.  So please, don't just try something you don't understand. You can have lots of theory, but it does not really prepare you enough for building the real thing.  There are subtle things, hidden and complex about electronics, especially in RF and high voltage!  It took me years working with other kinds of high voltage stuff and many bad electric shocks--to get good enough to build this stuff.  I was lucky.  I have seen destining U-tube videos.  be careful with electricity and always treat it with respect!

 Many arc shots are not done with a ruler to show scale or size, I figured I should take a picture using this one which gives you an idea of how big my streamers are.  I used a wooden ruler with a metal strip on the side A real pain! If you know what I mean--from experiments with HV!  When you forget it's there you can quickly get shocked!  However, not being plastic and having the metal strip made it great for showing streamer size.
 "Glass is not an insulator anymore"
To nearly 200,000 volts--glass is no longer really much of an insulator.  The power goes through it almost as if it were not there.  I could feel it too.  It does act as an insulator, but not as much. This is not doped glass and to more normal voltages would seem a 'total' insulator.  Glass jars like this are such good insulators they can be used to make capacitors which can handle up to 40-50,000 volts.  Any higher then that however, and you risk punching holes through even a couple of millimeters of glass and creating an arc that ruins the capacitor.  To 100,000volts and more, it's almost instantly penetrated by the flood of electrons.
 Measuring arcs can be hard, to find the basic rough voltage of my coil, I use a hot-glue stick.  This is because hot-glue is one of the best insulators I know.  It will not react to high voltage even into the 100s of thousands of volts.  So I lined it up with a ruler and marked off CM.  My largest arcs are about 15cm when the coil is powered by the TV flyback and about 13cm when it's powered with my new primary and a 12Kv NST (no pictures of that are in this post).  Arc measurement gives you some data on how many volts you have.  At normal air and sea level--1.1mm=1000volts.  So 9cm=about 100,000volts.  This is when the arc starts and becomes visible--makes a crack or 'bolt' in the air and starts doing this often or constantly rather then just hissing.  There are exceptions-- so this is not the best way to measure HV, but for a low budget it is simple and quickly gets you in the ballpark. Some conditions can change that seriously so you have to be careful how you measure it.  Only when an arc STARTS and where it starts is where you measure--NOT how long you can draw it out!  For higher current systems, 12kv can arc over 3 inches but only if you start the arc at about 14mm and draw it out.  This is because the atmosphere is on fire and the lack of air lets the arc travel further then it would through normal air.  The same effect can be seen if you try to send an arc through a camp fire or large flame, voltage will arc much further--several feet! Be careful!

The arc, such as in a Jacob's ladder happens when the air turns into a constant plasma from high current and high voltage --thus can it can arc as long as the air is hot enough to make a more easy connection due to the change in it. In a ladder, it goes up because heat rises.  At the top, the two electrodes break that path and the bottom ones are closer together and again an arc begins--thus they become the path of least resistance again.  As long as the air is on fire and thus is in a plasma state, the path of least resistance is the arc itself so the voltage will travel further because there is less air in the arc.  Thus lower voltages can draw out an arc far further then they could produce if just in cold air.  This mainly applies to higher current situations such as the direct output of a flyback or coil or NST and not most small/medium Tesla coils much since they produce smaller and thus outwardly 'cooler' arcs.  They do produce plasma just less of it.  That is what you see in the air as an arc. There are even smaller arcs that are so cold they are not visible to the human eye.  Such arcs happen when you take a piece off of a tape roll, they can range from a few thousand volts to millions but special gear is needed to even detect it.  Electricity is everywhere, even our bodies use low voltages to power our muscles. This is why they contract and move when we get zapped with static or some other voltage.

 Testing arc size again, you can see the jars as capacitors glowing blue in the background as well as the arc chamber, the cardboard around it to act as a light block as the arc inside is nearly as bright as a camera flash.  Yet this small arc chamber stays cool enough to use intermittently for hours and I took 100s of photos.  It uses two screws and is only possible because of the DC flyback--which is in mineral oil to prevent unwanted arcing back to itself or it's primary.  In some ways the flyback system has more options then the NST system which one of my next few articles will explain.  They both use the same idea, of making an arc with high voltage and then running the same power across that arc through a capacitor or several and into a air-core transformer.  The Coil Driver 1628 can be seen here too, it is the green box glowing with light from it's current limiting system and LEDs on the bottom left next to me.  This is what powers the flyback which in turn powers the Tesla coil.

 A "micro Tesla coil"
Using smaller capacitors and a smaller coil I wanted to duplicate a Utube video I found showing a tiny coil with a large corona like this.  I did it.  The coil is kinda messy I admit but it was very impressive.  I had to run it at a much higher frequency and only use 1 capacitor, but it produced more then 30-70Kv from about 10Kv (a homemade AC flyback ran it just as well as my large TV flyback).  My guess from it's corona is that voltage spikes are far higher then the 1inch spark I got going to the light bulb.  Different size coil+capacitor combos require different size arcs and thus frequencies to get a resonant circuit right.  The most important thing about tuning your Tesla coil may well be the size of your arc and exactly how you create it.  Because this makes the energy for the tuned circuit it drives which are your capacitors and the coil's primary in series (in most systems).  A variable primary would be the best idea for medium to large coils, but that can be difficult and even more expensive to do.
 Everything gives it's own mark when placed on the Tesla coil.  A glow or "ora" of energy is given off.  Especially where things are conductive.  But at voltages this high, almost everything gets a reaction of some kind.  This is again a ruler, this time side ways with it's metal side making a corona.

 A clear light bulb placed on top of the coil which has a water bottle (metal) as a cap top.  This made for a very strange effect of plasma and look I really like.   Despite being all glass on the side, the high voltage went right through the glass and even around the bulb, high voltage arcs on smooth surfaces better then it does through just air--yet still it reached out into the air after all this resistance.  The resistance between the glass bulb and it's top screw in connection so high it would be difficult to calculate in mega-ohms.  A capacitance effect definitely transfers voltage in some cases here, much as RF can produce high voltage in things at a distance.  Yet it still amazes me what high voltage does with things that are normally 'total insulators'.

1--LIVING THINGS respect all living things, do not kill. Generally, Tesla coils may seem like bug-zappers but due to there construction they are not good for it unless you want to burn out your parts and have short-circuits from dead bugs all over it!  Some coils are low power enough or if insulated can be operated low enough to touch the arc, but many will cause a burn or shock if directly touched without protection.  Very large coils can even be deadly if misused.  All projects, and Tesla coils should be unplugged and shut down when you are not home so that unauthorized users cannot operate them and kids/pets carefully watched if one is being used in a home with them.  DO NOT LEAVE A TESLA COIL ON UNSUPERVISED!
2--DO NOT PUT RADIO TUBES ON A TESLA COIL it will probably RUIN the tube because the grids and other small wires may arc and blow out.  Don't wreak tubes, they don't' make many of them anymore and we need them.  Put them on Ebay and sell them to people like me!  All radio/TV or vacuum tubes of any kind are worth quite a bit of money now days.  If you put a light bulb on a Tesla coil remember that it may be ruined due to arcs through the glass--and a CFL bulbs may be destroyed because of the very high voltage (may stop working with 120v)
3--NEVER PUT ANYTHING LIKE YOUR CELLPHONE OR DIGITAL DEVICE ON OR NEAR A TESLA COIL!  Keep digital/electronic cameras at a good distance and memory cards as well.  I warned you--try it and it will probably never work again.  This is because these new devices are very sensitive to high voltages and Tesla coils and destroy parts from several feet away!  Parts like Laser diodes are particularly sensitive to static electricity.  Keep your electronic parts far away from your Tesla coil or HV power supplies.  Before turning on--look in all directions where things are and make sure nothing that might be fried is near, from a laptop power supply to a guitar amp or a remote control--it could be wreaked by being too close to a coil!  Just 10Kv near enough to our TV remote fried it not too long ago and it did not even arc into the thing, it was just too close to the wire.

 Tape generates static electricity!

This is a hack of all time--get a 6 volt lantern battery, and put a %50 off sticker on it. Then hook it to a Tesla coil for 5min.  Now you will have a SUPER BATTERY!  You can run anything with this new battery and it runs on zero point vacuum energy-- energy produced by the universe itself when there is nothing present at all.  Particles try to escape the produced energy field and so once they pop into existence they are held in place by the 6Volts until they produce massive number of electrons! Just think--After this hack you will be able to power anything and never need to buy another battery again!  Need AC? It will do that too!  Just hook up an inverter. You get HUGE voltages at even more massive amperage out of a simple lantern battery that will run anything for years and years. Think of it--you never have to buy batteries or pay a power bill again.  The universe will automatically adjust the battery for you, so when nothing is connected it produces very high voltages (as seen in this hack pic)!  Keep it hooked to static-foam to prevent over-output.  ;)

Just kidding--Of course!  This is a 6V lantern battery on my Tesla coil.  This was actually the 3rd coil I wound.  I got more volts out of the 2nd one so now and in most of the pictures I use that one.  The concept of zero point energy is real, but you of course won't get any from a lantern battery!  I saw a bunch of videos on getting "free" or "cheap" batteries from other batteries.  Trust me, lantern batteries do NOT have D or AA cells in them.  They have an old type of "A" battery which is no longer sold by itself.  Four of them.  If you take one apart you will see what I am talking about.  They are in a tar-like substance that holds them together, each cell does do well--puts out more power because it is larger then a D cell.  It is 1.5 volts but won't fit any modern gear.  You could use these cells to get less volts at higher power then a D cell, but they are far too long to be used as a D cell.  Lantern batteries are NOT full of cheap batteries.  I don't know how the idea started.  Maybe there are some cheap batteries that use a number of AAs I can't be sure about every brand. 9Volts are similar, they have about 6 cells in them each 1.5 volts.  These cells are a bit smaller then an AAA battery but close to the same power.  You might be able to get 1 to work in a device that uses an AAA battery--but it is not worth the effort or danger of shorts and problems.  Funny thing these Internet myths. Batteries of this type are pretty simple so this lantern cell I use a lot for testing circuits was not harmed a bit by putting it on the coil for these pictures. Rechargeable cells are getting "smart" with circuits in them and may react differently so I would not recommend putting most batteries on a Tesla coil.

 The Filament in this light-bulb was knocked loose by the Tesla coils power.  Here you can see it just arcs where ever it can, and a screwdriver is not enough to insulate you from this kind of power.
 Nor is a CD case.  This reminded me when it was live of the displays the Borg had on Star Trek.  Those used a gas, probably nitrogen like what is in the light-bulb.  Sorry it's a bit blurred, most of these photos were taken quickly at a slow speed to capture as many arcs as possible.  I later perfected the camera settings but often found it hard to hold the bulb steady even for a 1sec exposure. You can feel the jolts of power from this coil!  I would not say it hurts, it all depends.  The phone book is a great insulator for that and made arcing fingers possible even for my wife to try.

 This is a static-resistant box used for electronic parts.  It's empty but because the plastic was made to be conductive made for an interesting effect on the coil. All four corners turned into arcing points of light and the power shot up like lighting to the bulb from any place it was.  This is another means of insulation from the full-blown power of the coil but not as effective as a 3inch phone book.

 Glass again is NO problem for the coil!  The glass arced right into it.  This is really what it looked like.  All these pictures are real attempts at getting exactly what the human eye would see with a very expensive camera.  NO PHOTOSHOPPING Or additions have been made.  The expensive digital SLR was for obvious reasons at a distance and using a long lens.  If you were standing in the room, these images are very much what you would see.  The only difference was the pulsing effect that happens when you run a Tesla coil off of a DC TV flyback.  So about 4-10x a sec the lightning flashes. A video will soon be up, I just have to get it transferred from u-tube.  I can also shoot 1080p at broadcast quality but I have yet to master uploading such large files to u-tube.

 This shows yet another effect, I wanted to catch what happens when a corona of UV light forms from tiny arcs that the human eye cannot see and then arcs form on the other side of something.  This happened here because the can is very flat and thus not likely to arc, where as the bottom of the bulb is more pointed and quickly started streamers into the field of ion-charged air making for a cool effect. The power however, is still coming from the Tesla coil.

 I started to think of capacitors for the top of my coil, it is very important for medium sized coils. In order to get good streamers and arcs you need a good top capacitor.  I was shocked at prices on line. $60 $80 so I was going to have to come up with something on my own--and they did not even give you the projected value or size sometimes of the ones they were selling.   It's just a hunk of metal!  That is an insane price.  I figured pie tins would be perfect, I finally ended up with coffee cans and pie baking pie tins.  These worked out great when placed top to bottom or top on bottom they nearly look like a store bought cap!  Finding the right capacitance is very important, it has to be just big enough and not too large, or not too small.  This can cut your arc sizes almost in half if you do it wrong.  I found that adding another coffee can added a full inch to my arcs! So tiny changes can mean a lot. Also the charges being at the top of the coil must be able to cover the secondary.  This way, coils that are likely to arc back on themselves from primary to secondary will be less likely to do so since the same charge is present across the entire top of the coil out to the radius of the secondary. This can be very important in keeping unwanted arcing from happening.

A picture of it really running--when I had things setup right my arcs get as long as 15cm!  Streamers start to come out of everything!

 The longest arc picture.  This was taken with my 4th coil. This coil is the longest but had primary and secondary problems--this is why I have insulation on it as can be seen.  The primary was really messy, but it still pulled off an amazing arc.  My current coil I mainly use is slightly less powerful but works better with the NST system and also has a lot less loss.  And it looks neat!  I wound this one's primary out of stranded wire I tripped from a vacuum cleaner cord!  It was too small and looked terrible.  My voltage however, was really high on this coil.  I think I will rewind it and come up with some more TV coax or something like it to do the primary further out then I did this time.  It does show how messy you can make a Tesla coil and that it will still run.  You can see all the parts of the set in operation here.  From my capacitors to the arc-gap which is nearly dead-center in the screen, to the TV flyback which is in oil to prevent unwanted arcing, and the coil driver I built lit up in green on the left next to me.

 Lights off for this one, I put a nightlight bulb on it with a spring and balanced it. I saw discharges all over the bulb and inside then again as seen before the bulb put streamers out at the top.  This looked really cool and made for a good picture.

 Here is where I put my finger to the coil through a phone-book.  The phone-book made enough insulation (for a short time before it burned through and made tiny holes that started shocking me!) to make lightning bolts come out of my fingers!  Tesla coils are a lot of fun, you can see where the power tries to find a way through all around the book if you look close.

 My wife wanted to try this one, she put her finger a few inches from the book and without even making contact a good number of bolts came out of her finger.  We could just feel this hardly--not that bad.  Many NST coils are too powerful to do this with or it would be more difficult.  My flyback system has some advantages so I am keeping the primary and arc chamber I need to run it.  All of the pictures in this post and on my site so far were shot with the flyback system--a color TV flyback (very large) is used to power the Tesla coil in the same way an NST does in most systems.  I don't use saltwater capacitors however--I have done fine with large ones made using 2 layers of Aluminum foil, one inside and one outside with a top connector.
 Here I put my whole hand down and it began to arc-- I guess the phone-book has some use after all!

WATER AND ELECTRICITY usually don't mix well!  As it is clearly conductive!  Less then 600K in most cases so high voltage spreads fast through even really clear and clean water.  Not only does it go through the water here--it also goes through the glass.  This was amazing to see and even more impressive to see live rather then in a picture.  Once again the bulb is blurred because I always moved it a bit, tended to move it during the exposure time.  I could have set for faster exposures at higher Iso levels to match the human eye but I was so into getting these first coil shots I just let it go knowing I'd get good enough shots.  Most of them were about 1-4sec. or so at iso3200 or 6400.  The camera I am using can go far higher then this even without serious noise!

 I wanted to see how fast I could light a flame with this. YEAH if you have Gas in your home--check everything before you run a Tesla coil!!!  This will spark off anything that could lite in the air.  I was able to light this lighter by just holding down the gas button.  The lighter would lite just getting close to the coil when streamers started to form near the flame where there is a small amount of metal.

 A coke can placed on the coils top capacitor which is a coffee can.  Streamers come out of it in all directions and there is nothing grounded near by or anywhere close.  It would do this anywhere it was setup. Streamers like this is one way of knowing you have well over 100kv or 100,000 volts in your Tesla coil.
 LIGHTNING WILL ARC across water!  As you can see if you zoom into this shot of arcs going into a jar full of regular non-salted water.  The arcs cut across it probably because of the fact that a field of distributed energy is almost equal across the top of this water.  Since the voltage comes from the bottom through the glass.  A capacitance sets up between the water and the can charging all of the water equal moved or hit by an arc.  This should be happening in nature as well as long as the water is very flat, especially with voltages in lightning. (sometimes billions or even trillions of volts!)

 One last stream here to show.  This one was almost 6in long.  I am shooting for 12 inches.  A foot.  My ultimate goal is to run a 1megavolt coil.  1,000,000 volts.  So now you know why it is a myth that there are 2 million volt stun guns fitting in a pocket and costing $100 bucks!  Look at what it takes just to get several hundred thousand volts and how much gear!  You could make this smaller, but just one HV capacitor that can handle voltages in the range of my driver costs over $100.  Making millions of volts takes a lot more then a 9v or rechargeable batteries usually have and also requires a lot of gear that takes up space. 
 KF7DFP's Power Coil Driver 1628--connected to a TV flyback in mineral oil--
 With multiple frequency possibilities, built solid enough to be able to be thrown into a backpack and taken anywhere there is a way to power it, and with a remote SMA control port--this is my coil driver.  It will turn a power transformer into an inverter that will power a 50W light bulb OR even a big CFL.  It can also power DC and even some AC motors! It will also power high frequency coils at or way above human hearing.  Four range settings and 2 potentiometers control the frequency.  Built in static and kickback protection for parts and the DC is provided by 2 switching supplies built under the box.  A Hi/Lo switch gives 16 or 28volts output direct from the mosfet and the whole system is grounded making it possible to run things like ignition coils as well without kickback damage or unwanted arcing.   Features I added such as a 220nf res. cap. for some flybacks can be switched on and off as well as a "Turbo mode" for extra output when using certain projects like the Tesla coil.  The relay remote control also acts as an overload protector and this driver also has a ballast to protect flybacks from being over-powered when not in Turbo mode.  It also protects the mosfet and visually shows you current draw with any transformer you are using--even in turbo mode!  The Turbo mode switch kicks in a capacitor across the 50w 12v ballast bulb which becomes a charge discharge circuit with the lamp (a resistor).  This almost doubles the possible output of the supply.  A forced air CPU fan cools the whole thing and makes it possible to use this driver almost continuously without fear of mosfet damage!  It will challenge any ZVS.  I have built ZVS systems before but have a problem with grounding them since they use a 2 phase system of powering things, also frequency sweeping to find resonant frequencies is not possible.  The 555 driving a good mosfet built right does not have such problems--so I chose to build this coil driver around that chip.  Just in case of unlikely overload and part damage, the 555 and even main power 7812 regulator is built into a socket so that they may be replaced if there is a failure.  It also has quick replacement for the mosfet and the 12V ballast bulb.  Not that it has been needed!  I am really impressed with the system. I got the idea for a ballast bulb and started saving parts and money on parts right away! I made this circuit a really useful system for many high voltage and transformer experiments.  It can put out over 60-200+ watts and powered all the Tesla coil pictures you saw above.  The schematic in full is below--this is for REFERENCE ONLY and I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for any misuses or abuse of this design or anyone who builds it.  BUILD AND USE ELECTRONIC PROJECTS AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 A homemade flyback coil running a plasma display--powered by my Coil driver. The florescent light bulb is actually "burned out" but rescued from a dumpster ones that won't start anymore continue to glow for a very long time when exposed to high voltage.  This one simply lights up when near any AC voltage such as the output of this homemade flyback wound around a TV flyback core.

 My VERY first successful Tesla coil project.  This idea came from a desktop Tesla coil I saw on line and wanted to reproduce.  After some effort, I did.  The corona can be amazing and only shows up on the last winding.

 The Tesla coil 3c.  This is the coil the produced almost all the pictures in this post.  It's primary shown for very high voltages used powering it with the TV flyback which is powered by the Coil driver.  I put it on a wooden board with hot-glue to hold it and then remove and put back coffee cans at will to change top-capacitance at will.

 My Coil Driver--in action!
Powering a color TV flyback in mineral oil up to about 45-50KV!  A very large output for a flyback--only usually practical if put in oil and powered by a really good driver.  A homemade winding of about 14 turns is used to power this one.  The light from my current limiting ballast system shows as I draw and arc.  This was cut down even more with aluminum foil since the bulb is cooled with the mosfet.  Fan shown on top and micro-switches to turn on and off different functions.  Yes it works to put a metal lid on the jar--as long as you use hot-glue to seal it and keep it neutral.  If it becomes grounded you might have problems.  I have several flybacks in metal lid jars--no problem with them has happened.  Mineral oil is the best way to run a flyback and does not require you to break off leads or anything.  The flyback becomes more efficient and no more unwanted arcing.  It's hard to believe until you try it.  A flyback that has been in oil can even be dried out and taken back into operation outside the oil if needed.  This was my idea because I had so many flybacks that arced back on there cores or on the bottom pins.  This is a way to eliminate all of that!

 A plasma bulb display with the high frequency micro-Tesla coil.

 The KF7DFP PWR Coil Driver 1628 schematic (power supplies not shown, can by any DC plug in supplies that are ground isolated or batteries.)  Test for ground isolation by testing if (+) or (-) shorts out the supply when connected to ground--this may be eliminated by not grounding some switching supplies.  Build your own supply or use DC supplies like laptop supplies without a ground connection.
 THIS ALONE WILL NOT POWER A TESLA COIL!  It powers a flyback which then powers the arc and capacitors that power the Tesla coil.  Just a note for those who are beginners--I call it a "Coil Driver" because most HV transformers are called "coils".  It's the power supply that you can use to power the stuff that runs a Tesla coil, basically.

Using a 12v 50W light bulb as a current limiting resistor (even when your power voltage is way higher then 12V)--will save you the pain of a lot of blown parts!  A car headlight will work fine, for larger systems put 2 in parallel or series.  I learned that started back with my first ZVS circuits.  It acts as a 2nd fuse and moderator for anything you hook it up to and if the mosfet shorts it won't blow other parts by shorting them too.  They only short into the bulb.  With the turbo mode on, this becomes a bulb with a correctly polarized capacitor on it--which means nothing to DC--so the bulb will still save you!  It was purely my idea after several mosfets and flybacks were painfully lost.  Please credit me with it if you feel you have learned something useful here.


Ron Beasley said...

Hello Gabe
Glad to see you are back here.

p2 said...

Hello Sir,you are awesome..
I have only basic knowledge of electronics and I m very impressed with Tesla coil..
I'm making your "coil driver 1628" but my 50w bulb was blown when I increased the frequency.
Then I put 2 lamps in series.
Now I got flyback output but its not like yours flyback..
My power supply is 24v SMPS..
Please help me...
I want more powerful output from flyback..
Are you using original primary of flyback?
Or external windings on core?
What's the Tesla coil Primary and secondarys specification?
If possible please help me...

p2 said...

Hello Sir,you are awesome..
I have only basic knowledge of electronics and I m very impressed with Tesla coil..
I'm making your "coil driver 1628" but my 50w bulb was blown when I increased the frequency.
Then I put 2 lamps in series.
Now I got flyback output but its not like yours flyback..
My power supply is 24v SMPS..
Please help me...
I want more powerful output from flyback..
Are you using original primary of flyback?
Or external windings on core?
What's the Tesla coil Primary and secondarys specification?
If possible please help me...

Gabe W. Beasley said...

Hey, thanks. Really busy right now, lots of stuff to deal with. Family and all. p2, I will write you. Send me Fb request or email. will respond in a week or so. My dad moved and we have Tons of stuff to move. Try more bulbs. 470uF 60v or better capacitor across bulbs.

p2 said...

Thanks for reply..
My English is not good..
Please don't mind.

My mail.-

When you will free,please tell me Voltage value of .2,.1,.01,.047uf capacitors.
Please mail me when you will free..
Thanks again..

Anonymous said...

Hi Gabe, very interesting. Guess this is what Ive been looking for a long time.
I cant afford an NTS, but I do have two TV flybacks around and I can get another just in case.
Im studying your work but I surely would understand better if I could read the schematic.
Its too faint. Can you correct it or emailme:
Would you mind if I publish it on a forum for discussion?
Thanks, Alberto at Caracas, Venezuela.

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