Simply put, a Tesla coil is an air cored resonant transformer. Tesla Coils were invented by Nicola Tesla (10/7/1856 – 7/1/1943), a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, and scientist who contributed greatly to the advancement of science in his time… To him are attributed the inventions of the radio, the induction motor, our current polyphase alternating-current system of electrical distribution, the remote control, medical cauterizers, the bladeless centrifugal rotary turbine (Tesla turbine) , the telephone repeater (no longer in use), the rotating magnetic field principle, alternating-current power transmission, wireless communication, fluorescent lights, and many other of the great inventions that changed the past and helped shape our present. All built with little money and incredible talent. In fact, despite his lack of funds, Nicola Tesla had 112 other patents on his name by the time he died!.
With spark radio transmitters outlawed in most of the world since the late 50’s, Tesla Coils are no longer used as radio transmitters. However, we still see them in everyday devices, such as electric scalpels, medical cauterizes, and others. Tesla Coil builders are often called “Coilers”. We are a group encompassing over 1000 active members throughout the world and we share our passion for the design, construction, and operation of these magnificent high voltage devices. To fully understand why we do it you would just have to see one in action. The resonant voltage rise cycle causes incredible voltages to be developed on the end of the coil, and these manifest themselves as almost magical sparks that leap off into the air, dancing around like real miniature lightning bolts…
Below are all of POWERLABS Tesla Coil projects to date (note: Prototypes not included):
Mini Twin Tesla Coil => A 15cm (6″) tall mini Tesla Coil. Some nice sparks in a small attractive package, though severely limited by its minute dimensions.
Twin Tesla Coil system => A 30cm (1′) tall twin Tesla Coil (half wave). This coil’s excellent design and advanced construction making use of top quality materials makes it one of the most efficient conventional coils ever built! The relatively low power level and small dimensions also make it a perfect project for someone who is just getting started in the hobby. Videos and pictures of its performance are available through the link above, along with the fully documented construction effort.
1Kw Tesla Coil => Powered by a 10kV 100mA transformer. The design specifications are listed here, but the project is stopped until I have made a computer model of it.
8″ X 30″ Tesla Coil =>(picture to the right). Project stopped due to lack of space.
Synchronous Rotary Spark Gap => Under construction.
The Integrated Tesla Coil Theory, Design and Construction, by POWERLABS! => A rather ambitious plan, aiming to go beyond merely regurgitating Tesla Coil theory as is done by so many sites, POWERLABS here aims to provide the theory whilst explaining how it fits in with the design of the coil, and how it should be put into use on its construction… Still under development; anyone is welcome to comment and make additions.
The UK Tesla Coilers group, on its annual meeting at the UK Teslathon. I am the one standing to the right of the large Tesla Coil, dressed all in black (not the one crouching down).