Tweek 'n' Zap

New caps, new danger (1 sec exposure)

I got a new 0.47uF cap to replace the stack of 9 little caps I used for tuning. I wasn't expecting this also to increase the output by 2 and a bit inches. There could be two reasons for this: First, the new cap took the total capacitance slightly higher, by about 0.047uF, so it might have tuned better. Second, it was properly soldered in place. The previous caps were just jammed in and might have been making poor contact.

Closeup of above image

From this picture you can see that the "Banjo Effect" is still apparent at 1200bps. I don't know what the implications of this are, but it suggests that the arc channel cools down much quicker than 1/1200 of a second. Or does it? Can it stay hot even though it's not glowing? Who knows? Are we at the cutting edge of Tesla coil research yet?

A 11.2 inch long and very bright arc. (Movie still, 1/25 sec)

Thanks to the improved performance, it now gives me little RF burns from the power switch. On one run, I turned it on, got burnt, retreated, and tried to turn it off by pulling the plug. The coil kept running on the charge stored in its filter caps, long enough to give me another RF burn off the plug pins. Time I got a remote control for this bad mo'fo'!

An early prototype remote control.

This thing really does seem to give off masses of RF. After all, there are 300 watts going in, and not really that much plasma coming out. I have some Christmas tree lights fixed to my ceiling, and I noticed that when I fire the mini OLTC on full power, they flicker. Some of the bulbs go out and others get brighter. I suppose the RF must be causing sparks inside the bulbholders. It's pretty spooky but so far nothing electronic has died.

The lights that flicker. (I failed to photograph them in the act)

I measured the spark length at 2bps as well to get more data for my streamer growth theories that I'm working on. It was 5.3"

A 8 second time exposure of 2bps output

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