STEVE CONNER'S AMAZING
Tesla Coils

Mjöllnir
If you touch the sparks, it'll be mighty thor.
Tesla-2
Powered by microwave oven guts
OLTC II
Does my coil look big in this?

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What is this site all about?

A Tesla coil is a kind of high voltage generator invented by Nikola Tesla at the turn of the century. They make a beautiful display of sparks and a hell of a scary noise. A couple of years back, I discovered that they are quite easy to build, and hobbyists still make them. I got a bit obsessed with them and ended up building several myself. I decided to write about what I did in the hope that other hobbyists would benefit from it. I also wrote this article to try and explain a bit better, and give some idea of the buzz I felt building my first coil.

SAFETY

WARNING!

The Tesla coil experiments and equipment described on this site are dangerous, and could possibly kill or injure people by electric shock, electrical burns, fire, or explosion. They also generate powerful electromagnetic fields that could damage other electrical equipment. Do not try to build or operate Tesla coils or other high voltage equipment unless you have learnt about the hazards involved, and know how to protect yourself. See the HotStreamer.com safety guide for more information. Do not look into inverter cabinet with remaining eye.

About Conner's Tesla coils

I've been building Tesla coils for about 4 years. I was inspired to start when I saw some pictures of Tesla coils making sparks on the internet, and wanted to experience one for myself. After my first attempt, I decided to join the online community of coil builders and try some of the new state-of-the-art ideas that were kicking around.

I played a part in developing the new high-power pulsed solid-state coils driven by IGBTs. Most of my work was on Terry Fritz's OLTC concept. As an experiment I built a humongous OLTC that ended up being the third biggest solid-state coil in the world ever. But I gave up on it when I realised that Jimmy Hynes' DRSSTC was fundamentally better, and started doing DRSSTCs instead.

Along the way, I developed a bunch of new circuits, some of which caught on with other coilers. Probably the most popular ones were the PLL driver and thyristor controlled rectifier for SSTCs, and the voltage quadrupler power supply for spark-gap coils.

The high point of my coiling career was probably the hextuple MIDI controlled DRSSTC Organ that I developed with Finn Hammer, and can't tell you about because it's confidential. And very silly ;-)

I don't have so much time for coiling lately, since I got a day job, a house to look after, and my musical alter ego started getting more gigs. In particular, I had to quit going to the English teslathons and mothball my giant DRSSTC project. Although if someone else could help me out with finding a venue, a large 3 phase feed, and transport, I'd consider reviving it.

This site documents most of the work I've done and shows pictures, sound clips, and movies of my Tesla coils in action, plus a lot of technical information on how they were built. There are also a few other related power electronic things such as flyback drivers, induction heaters and a plasma globe powered by a Class-C tube oscillator.

However, it's all more Colorado Springs Notes than Information Unlimited. If you're looking for step-by-step "Planz" for anything, you might be disappointed. But if you love messing around with electronics and technology like I do, I hope you'll find something here that interests you and maybe even inspires a project of your own. I've also contributed a lot of material to the forums at 4hv.org over the years, so if you're looking for something and can't find it here, try over there.

The coils

Tesla One (R.I.P.)

My very first coil
from 2002.
Went to a fiery grave

Tesla-2

DC resonant charging
spark-gap coil
made in 2003.

Mini OLTC

One of the first OLTCs,
made in 2003.
Transformer burnt out- party's over! First light spark photos The concept
Outdoor test Tech spec Schematics
More pictures of stuff getting zapped Closeup pics Building the secondary
Tech spec How it works/schematics Tests produce 1.5" spark (wow)
More tech info with closeup pics The hi-speed rotary gap New IGBTs give 5" (pics and traces)
Spark photos MP3 sound clip (600K) Right click to save New circuit for first notch quenching
The Tesla Diaries Second light-biggest sparks yet Tech spec of the finished coil
More spark pics including a 30" strike Pics of the finished build
QuickTime movie of 30" arcs (1.4MB) First light photos. It does 9"
Souped up Tesla-2 produces 40" sparks Bulb lighting experiments
The Turbo Triodal Tesla-2
(joint venture with Alan Sharp)
Personal best 11.2"
Now 13.5"
Anyone for plasma?

OLTC II

Pigs?
Where we're going,
we don't need pigs.

Tesla Five

The Dirty Weekend SSTC-
Powered by four IRFP460s
and a whole lot of luck

Tesla Six

The Dirty DRSSTC.
A lean, mean, IGBT blowing machine
A Modest Proposal The First Weekend Constructing the H-bridge
Gate driver circuit for IGBT bricks A PLL driver circuit Low power tests and
driver schematic
Testing the brick Movies of sparks+audio mod
Sparks from a brick!!! More bigger arcs 36" arc and B A N G
Streamers too! DW at Derby Teslathon DRSSTC work gets
a whole new page!
Building the primary circuit
Testing the primary circuit
Revised driver circuit
3.5kW power supply with thyristors
Trigger pulse generator
Testing the primary circuit
Building the resonator
Assembly and some little sparks
Short circuit protection
System diagram (includes all schematics)
Power supply casing- end in sight
First light!!!
Arcs up to 5ft. Movies
6 foot arc
Visit to Strathclyde Uni.
Mega power at Derby '05
OLTC II Spec
The end

Other stuff

News
Derek Woodroffe's crazy coils at extremeelectronics.co.uk
Studies for an OLTC magnifier
The ScopeBoy Flyback Driver
Induction heating

Information

What is a Tesla Coil?
What is an OLTC?
Tesla links

Acknowledgments

Thanks to everyone who has helped me out on the Tesla coiling path. Including but not limited to

if you wish to contact me e-mail "steve at scopeboy dot com"

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