Category: Diy tesla coil capacitor

Diy tesla coil capacitor

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Choosing a Tank Capacitor for my Tesla coil.

diy tesla coil capacitor

Thread starter radicalsniper Start date Apr 14, I am currently having a hard time choosing what will be my Tank capacitor. My questions are: 1 Can I use a bucket capacitor for the tank capacitor? I know that it isn't efficient when compared to MMCs but I would gladly choose lower cost low efficiency side vs higher cost high efficiency side as long as it is safe.

If possible, how? Hoping for answers to my questions. I will update the post with the picture of the driver when I will have a good connection. Last edited: Apr 14, Hi radicalsniper, welcome to ETO!This is a basic Tesla coil schematic click the image to enlarge.

How a Tesla Coil Works

The schematic shows a static spark gap. If you're using a rotary spark gap, simply replace the static gap the wiring is the same.

Older schematics sometimes invert the location of the spark gap and the primary coil. The Tesla coil will work in either configuration, but due to some technical reasons, the configuration shown in the schematic is preferred.

A DIY Mini Tesla Coil

The NST case should be grounded. There is some debate as the proper ground for the NST. Some advocate connecting it to RF ground, others think it should be connected to the mains ground. In the schematic I've shown a switch to indicate the ground could be attached to either. Neon sign transformers NSTs are the preferred power supplies. I'll mention some other types of power supplies later in this section.

You should choose a transformer that supplies at least 5kV, otherwise you may have problems with the spark gap not firing. Newer, small NSTs are actually solid state power supplies that are generally unsuitable for Tesla coils. I strongly recommend using an older NST to power your Tesla coil. A good NST should be very heavy and only contain a primary winding, secondary winding and metal core and probably some potting material.

The output frequency should be the same as the input frequency 50 or 60 Hz. This copyright protected material has been illegally used without the permission of the owner.

Please visit www. NSTs are usually fairly easy to obtain and are fairly robust when used with the proper protection circuit. Used NSTs are often much cheaper than new ones. Typically they either work or they don't. To test a NST, simply connect it to line voltage wall outlet and verify it will produce arcs between the output terminals, or each output terminal to the case assuming the case is grounded. If a NST dies, the cause of death is sometimes arcing through the internal potting material.

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Potting is an insulator, usually a hard, tar like substance. The NST can be resurrected by removing the top of the case and heating the NST over a grill to melt the potting material. Baking in an oven is not recommended because of toxic fumes and leaking potting material.I built a 1. Author's note: This is an extremely dated article written in high school.

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Invented by the brilliant scientist Nikola Teslathe Tesla Coil is a high-voltage, high-frequency power generator. Tesla designed it to broadcast wireless electricity, but due to its poor efficiency right now they're just to look cool. With this device, Tesla was able to generate voltages of such magnitude, they would shoot out of the apparatus as bolts of lightning! The sight of writhing streamers of electricity jumping through the air is absolutely spectacular.

Today, Tesla Coils are built by amateurs all over the world for one reason only — the thrill of making your very own lightning! Tesla Coils were also popularized in the 90s by the hit video game, Red Alert. In the game, Tesla Coils were used by the Soviet Union as weapons to produce extremely high and lethal voltages. As a disclaimer, the construction of a Tesla Coil is complex and involved. It is costly, time-consuming, dangerous and requires tremendous motivation.

diy tesla coil capacitor

There are technical skills involved and a good knowledge in physics and mathematics is essential. It's best that we break down the construction into its different components. Perhaps the most important component of a Tesla Coil is its power supply, and also probably the hardest to obtain. The specifications of the power supply affects all the other components and the overall size of the Tesla Coil.

diy tesla coil capacitor

The power supply basically converts the voltage from the mains V to the extremely high voltages required by the Tesla Coil. They can be obtained from neon sign shops. They generally range from V to V, with about 30mA. There are 2 kinds of Neon Sign Transformers, one is iron cored and runs at 50Hz, while the other is the new smaller switchmode one which run at 20kHz and is a lot lighter. The heavy iron-cored ones usually perform better.

The ultimate transformer would be a Pole Pig. These are used by your local government agencies to deliver the power to the city.

They can be found, well, up high on the poles that deliver your electricity. They weigh about kg, so if you're going to steal one, be prepared with a crane or something. Also, you may want to have an electrician with you when you run the Tesla Coil at home, as your circuit breakers will blow easily due to the high current these guys require. Basically, don't bother.

First, some details of my transformer, along with the specifications my tesla coil has to meet. Using this formula, I worked out that my Tesla Coil can achieve spark lengths of up to Each tesla coil has to have a capacitor bank. This stores the power needed for the tesla coil to discharge.

Three types of capacitor banks can be built, including a completely home-made one consisting of beer bottles and some stuff. A lot of factors has to be considered for the MMC.

First, you gotta know the peak voltage the capacitor bank has to handle. While my transformer outputs V, the voltage is able to peak up to V! I chose a VDC, 0. I plan to arrange 15 of these caps in series, adding up to a total of V that it can handle.

Using the formula above, I calculated that my transformer requires a capacitor bank of 0. However, this is merely the Resonant Cap value. This value is dependent on whether you use a static spark gap or a SRSG Synchronous rotary spark gap which I will elaborate more later. I will be using a static gap, so the LTR value is 0.I'm not going to provide a thorough explanation because several other people have already done so refer to links below.

Also, a deep understanding of Tesla coil operation is unnecessary for people wishing to build a Tesla coil. However, I will offer a short description of Tesla coil operation that should help you design and build your Tesla coil.

A Tesla coil is a resonate transformer containing a primary and secondary LC circuit. The two LC circuits are loosely coupled together. Power is supplied to the primary circuit through a transformerwhich charges a capacitor. Eventually the voltage across the capacitor will increase sufficiently to short a spark gap. The capacitor will discharge through the spark gap and into the primary coil.

The energy will oscillate back and forth between the primary capacitor and primary coil inductor at high frequencies typically - kHz. The primary coil is coupled to an inductor in the secondary circuit, called the secondary coil. Attached to the top of the secondary coil is a top load that provides capacitance for the secondary LC circuit. As the primary circuit oscillates, power is induced in the secondary coil where the voltage is multiplied many times.

A high voltage, low current field develops around the top load and arcs of lightning discharge in a sweet display of awesomeness.

diy tesla coil capacitor

The primary and secondary LC circuits must oscillate at the same frequency to achieve maximum power transfer. The circuits in the coil are usually "tuned" to the same frequency by adjusting the inductance of the primary coil. This copyright protected material has been illegally used without the permission of the owner. Please visit www. The Tesla Coil by Chris Gerekos Chris has written an outstanding paper offering a very detailed and technical explanation of Tesla coil operation.

He also shares his experience constructing the "Zeus" Tesla coil. The paper is in pdf format. The power supply is a high voltage transformer used to charge the primary capacitor. For the rest of the guide I'll refer to the power supply transformer as a NST. These calculations will be used to determine the optimum sized primary capacitor in the next section.

We aren't required to calculate the NST watts, but it may be helpful for selecting resistors, fuses, wire gauges, etc. The optimum PFC capacitance is found with the following equation. The primary capacitor is used with the primary coil to create the primary LC circuit. A LTR capacitor will also deliver the most power through the Tesla coil. Different primary gaps static vs. The secondary coil is used with the top load to create the secondary LC circuit.

The secondary coil should generally have about to turns. Some secondary coils can have turns. Magnet wire is used to wind the coil. The capacitance of the secondary coil will be used to calculate the secondary LC circuit resonate frequency.

Coil dimensions are given in inches. The height to width ratio should be about for small Tesla coils, for average sized Tesla coils and about for large Tesla coils. Refer to the secondary coil construction section to define small, average and large. The length of the secondary coil is used to calculate the wire weight. In the past it was thought that the secondary coil wire length should match the quarter wave length of the Tesla coil's resonate frequency.

However, it has since been determined that it's unnecessary. The inductance of the secondary coil will be used to calculate the secondary LC circuit resonate frequency.This gives a total of 54 caps per tray for a grand total of caps for the 5 trays. High voltage capacitors that can survive the grueling conditions of a tesla coil are hard to find, and therefore inevitably expensive if you do manage to locate some.

Making your own rolled poly capacitor is another option, but this option rarely tends to be successful for very long.

N ikola Tesla - used salt-water capacitors which consisted of wine bottles with a brine solution in them. This option will work and it can also be very cheap if your short of funds.

However they are not very efficient. Glass has very high losses when it comes to RF frequencies, so your coil's power output will be down. It is also difficult to estimate the value of capacitance that you have made, important when it comes to tuning, unless you have a suitable meter capable of measuring the capacitance. This means that 10 individual capacitors each rated at v, could now handle 20,v being applied across their series string of The drawback is that capacitors behave the opposite to resistors in respect of their overall value when connected in series.

This means that once you have enough capacitors in a string to meet the voltage requirement, you then need to keep adding identical strings in parallel to bring the capacitance value back up to what you desire. This is illustrated below:. A clumsy accident occurred in which a piece of scrap wire dropped across the MMC, resulting in this one single cap a Cornell- Dubilier C20P15K ending up being connected across a 12Kv 'Pig'.

The centre immediately blew out and was found to be completely carbonised. The lesson learnt is not to put 12Kv across a 2Kv capacitor, and more importantly, also make sure no pieces of scrap wire are left unaccounted for! Circled above Another way of mounting many capacitors in a small space! The reason for the increase to nF, was Richie Burnett's: Resonant Charging advice, see also More Detail in a TCML Post Richie Burnett's resonant charging ideas relate to the fact that with a synchronous RSG, rather than the resonant frequency of the charging system being solely dependent on the mains frequency and ballast value, it is also affected by the SRSG's bps rate.

The circular arrangement saved space and avoided having to rebuild the whole coil assembly where the existing capacitors are presently mounted.

Choosing a Tank Capacitor for my Tesla coil

There are 76 capacitors in this MMC occupying a floor space of only eight inches diameter. The easiest way to assemble the strings when using this method is to construct them externally, and then put them in once assembled. They were then held in place by cable ties passing through holes drilled in the exterior. The finished auxiliary MMC measured The replacement of a single capacitor merely involves cutting all the cable ties that secure that column, and desoldering the string top and bottom.

You can then easily work on the removed string to replace the faulty item The four strings each consist of eighteen in series. Each vertical column of capacitors consists of nine units with a link across the bottom to its corresponding partner on the other side. The coil to MMC connections are the two nuts that can be seen at the top at the 4'o'clock and 8'o'clock positions.

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Toggle navigation. Jump to my Master Clocks Site. These are rated at v each and have a value of 0. The difference is mainly to do with the connection onto the end of the plates, and it has been found the latter type can suffer from failure, unless the peak current is kept within the capacitor's specifications.

Currently I use nF and power from a Pole Distribution Transformer or 'PIG' as they are often called, but these caps are just as useful for a single NST set up, although with a much reduced overall value. These can be difficult to source outside of the USA however, and you may need to import them.The capacitor in the tank circuit has a very hard life indeed!

Not only does it have to withstand high voltages more than double the supply voltage! Commercially available capacitors, capable of surviving Tesla coil use, are not off-the-shelf items.

A common approach to aquiring a suitable capacitor is to build it yourself! This can work out a lot cheaper than buying a new one but can involve embarking on a whole new project of its own!

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For your very first coil, you could make one of the cheapest high voltage capacitors available - a saltwater cap. All you need are some empty glass bottles beer bottles are a favorite choice!

The performance is not great but they're certainly cheap to make, and easy. I decided not to use this type of cap. It was quicker and easier to build but I still intend to finish the poly plate cap. The poly plate cap consists of an alternating stack of metal plates and polyethylene dielectric sheets, with electrical connections made to the metal sheets, giving you the two capacitor terminals. The type of work a capacitor does determines what materials it can be made of.

A small value of capacitance leads to a physically small capacitor. If you increase the voltage it is required to handle, it will need to be physically larger.

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The speed at which energy is required to move in and out of the capacitor determines the type of dielectric material you can use. The higher the operating frequency, the more careful your choice of dielectric needs to be. Insulation: The two plates of a capacitor have to be sufficiently insulated from each other so that, at the operating voltage, a spark cannot jump the gap and generate a short.

The dielectric between the plates provides this insulation. Different materials have different insulating ability, or dielectric strength s. This value applies to a dielectric built up from multiple sheets of thin polyethene e. As you increase the dielectric thickness, to a value where its insulation properties meet your voltage requirements, the value of capacitance will decrease accordingly both properties are dependant on the dielectric thickness.The first few versions of my small spark gap Tesla coil used commercially made capacitors but I wanted to show how to make homemade ones instead.

I first made some using soda bottles but they took up a lot of storage space, so I then made some flat plate capacitors instead. Both of these are detailed below, along with videos showing step-by-step how to make them. This homemade flat plate capacitor is what looks like a small, horizontal board at the base of the Tesla coil below.

It has 4nF of capacitance. For the dielectric I had some transparencies which you can get from photocopying stores, like the UPS Store, basically places that do photocopying and printing for you. Kitchen aluminum foil served as the plates. And looking around I found some thin wood that would act as nice solid pieces to hold everything tightly together as a sandwich. My small spark gap Tesla coil was designed for a 4nF capacitor and it turned out that just two plates with a single transparency between them measured 3.

I could do tuning on the primary circuit's spiral coil to make up for the difference. In the first photo below only the top piece of wood is missing. The two aluminum foil plates have a single transparency between them.

The positive plate is the bottom one and has the red wire connected to it, and the negative plate is the top on and has the black wire connected to it. Below is a video showing step-by-step the construction of this capacitor, along with some variations and demonstrations of it in use. Also, once you cut away the top, they have a fairly open end for reaching your hand into for putting an aluminum foil electrode. Each soda bottle capacitor ended up having a capacitance of between 1nF and 1.

The following is a video showing step-by-step how I made these capacitors, along with demonstrations of them in action. How to make capacitors for Tesla coil small SG. Make flat plate capacitor for Tesla coil This homemade flat plate capacitor is what looks like a small, horizontal board at the base of the Tesla coil below.

Tesla coil with flat plate capacitor. Transparencies from a photocopying store. All of the parts for the capacitor. Capacitor without the top wood piece. Measuring the capacitance. Tesla coil with soda bottle capacitors. Capacitors in place beside the spark gap. Liked this? Share it with:.

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