PowerLabs Tesla Coil Classroom Presentation!

The presentation was given on the second of June 2000, in the physics laboratory, and lasted about 40 minutes. The Tesla Coil performed as expected, and after some adjustments, and maximum arc length was estimated at about 40cm (no breakout point), for the sparks that struck the components (most notably the tank capacitor, which I had to pull away from the coil to prevent it being damaged). The pictures below show some outlines of the presentation and were taken by Michell Zappa with a Mavica Digital camera (which had to be brought away from the coil to prevent damage). Click on any of them  to see the full size version, and put the mouse pointer over them to see an explanation..
Unfortunately Mavicas do not perform very well in dark conditions, as you will see from the rather faint spark pictures 🙁 You can see some much more spectacular pictures and videos at the official twin tesla coil page. I should be presenting the Tesla Coil again sometime soon. When I do, I’ll update this page.

Tesla Coil in action

Setting Up The Tesla Coil:

 The components were all laid out on top of a lab table and initial tests were run to determine the best tuning point. During those tests a fly landed at the topload, and it was promptly zapped to death by the coil… A nice little bit of humor to start the presentation 🙂

Murphy's law in action: With both the original fans blown at the same time, the spark gap had to be improvised with a microwave oven fan...Sam explains the workings of his Tesla Coil to his Physics teacher, Mr. CarahTuning the coil by moving the primary tap

  Running The Coil:

 The coil was run for some 30 minutes. Run times could exceed 5 minutes non stop. The coil performed flawlessly after a few minor glitches in the gap (which was prepared overnight after it was found out that both the original fans had been blown), and by the end of the presentation none of the components were showing any signs of stress. A breakout point was not utilized to maximize spark length. Several demonstrations were made, including setting fire to paper with the sparks, allowing the sparks to strike hands (to show how the high frequency currents are not felt by the nerves, as they are of a frequency to which nerves cannot respond), running the current through chains of people (up to 12 at a time) and lighting a fluorescent bulb at the end, as well as other simple spark demonstrations. The general reaction to the coil was one of amazement, as most people had never seen anything like it before.

A fluorescent light in my hand is lit over a meter away from the coil, without any electrical contactThe light glows brighter as it comes closer to the coilNotice how the light glows brighter over my hand, but not under: The electrical field is being grounded by meMr. Carah attempts to get the light struck by the Tesla CoilLight glowing brightly as it receives arcs from the coilSam lets sparks strike his knucklesDigitally enhanced picture showing sparks closer to their natural brightnessAnother arc, coming out of the back of the coil where I am holding a screwdriver to itGetting 12 people shocked at the same time

Go to the “POWERLABS Twin Tesla Coil Project” to see the illustrated page of this coil’s design and building effort, as well as its the technical details.