Major update 9/22/2008, minor update on lack of news 2/27/2013.
Here is my solid state Tesla coil page!
Here is some theory as to how they work and how to make them work, and
also two circuits that actually worked. Primary and secondary details are
mentioned. Both of these only produced about 50 KV peak, but plans for
higher voltage ones will arrive here and hints for improving the ones I
tested are already here! Some links to sites of others with working schematics
added 7/5/2005! (long, 50K)
(New document, 6/14/98, updated BIGTIME 9/22/2008)
NEW - 8/27/2001 UPDATED 9/22/2008 (and slow going) - CONSTRUCTION of a few larger solid state Tesla coils! One is now completely wound! (And since backburnered, still is as of 2/26/2013)
As for why the high frequency AC of Tesla coils does not shock:
The "skin effect", which is confinement of current towards the surface of a conductor, is widely credited. However, another reason seems to be the frequency response of human nerves - the nerves' response to electric shock decreases as frequency increases past maybe about 1 KHz. I have more details here in my Skin Effect and Tesla Coil Shock Page.
(New document 6/1/98)
Please check out my Tesla coil hazard and safety
page. Although the high output of Tesla coils usually famously lacks
electrocution danger, Tesla coils have many hazards
to humans and property and there are ways to get electrocuted by some of
(New document early 6/14/98, updated 7/6/2005 with an electronic device hazard, updated very slightly 9/22/2008.)
Other high voltage stuff is in my High Voltage Page. Meanwhile, you can check out Bill Beatty's Tesla Page.
The Sam Barros website! Sam Barros is a fellow mad hobbyist who has more time than I do to get these things working - lots of high voltage projects, photos of working models in action!
Mike's Electric Stuff, including Tesla coils.
This is debunked in Wikipedia's article on the Tunguska Event. That article explains that tiny glass spheres having nickel and iridium were found in the soil at the explosion site, which indicates an extraterrestrial object - believed likely to be a meteor of a softer type that fragmented from extreme aerodynamic drag when it entered the lower atmosphere at nearly full speed. (Smaller meteors can be slowed down before the aerodynamic drag crushes them). (It is to be noted that some scientists consider that the cause of the explosion might be a comet or a fragment of a comet.) That article also explains that Peary was not on an expedition at the time.
Another hyped phenomenon attributed to Tesla is "potential waves" that can travel faster than the speed of light due to a potential field (or "phi field") lacking mass. However, an electric field is the mathematical gradient of a potential field, and therefore a "potential wave" has the same speed limitations as a wave involving an electric field.
Another area of hype is in the size of streamers, flames, arcs, etc. produced by Tesla's devices. This is explained in this article by Terry Fritz. That article mentions 8 feet as the actual length of most of the streamers in a discharge mentioned to be 65 feet across in sources such as the Tesla Memorial Society of New York's "Happy Birthday Nikola Tesla" page. A photo of the supposedly 12 milion volt oscillator in operation is shown there. Most of the streamers appearing much longer than 8 feet do so by approaching the camera.
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