Tesla gone wild

I’ve gotten quite a few good submissions lately, so don’t get mad if you’re not up. I can’t resist high voltages, so this Tesla coil project capable of 30 inch lightning bolts built by [PlasmaFire] caught my eye. Not too bad for a high school project.

From his description: The Tesla Coil that I built runs on normal house current (120VAC, 60Hz), fed through line filters to two Franceformer 9060 P-E neon sign transformers that output 9000 volts at 60ma each. After going through a high-voltage Terry-style RFI filter, the power is stored in a 4.0-joule capacitor bank. This energy is dumped into a copper-coil primary. The secondary, made from cast acrylic and motor winding wire, and a topload, made from dryer duct, aluminum foil tape, and a wood disc, complete the overall assembly.

(oh, and just for fun: the cylon roomba. Thanks [tod])


  1. PlasmaFire says:

    Wow…I never knew you guys would consider featuring this project since I assumed this place recieved dozens of good submissions each day. Big thanks, Hack A Day! To anyone who wasn’t featured yet, I really hope you’ll eventually get your time too!

    For anyone who wants to read the journal-report, here is the link to it: http://relay.plasmafire.org/?page_id=22

  2. whitephatt says:

    You know, Lately I’ve seen a lot of tesla coil projects. It’s swiftly becoming the ‘potato clock’ of the science fair (so-to-speak).

    Maybe I’m just not appreciating the science behind it as much as I should, and focusing too much on the commonality.

    This project is one of the better ones I’ve seen in terms of asthetics so that’s like +2 points. :-)


  3. michael says:

    what is a “franceformer”? is it some weird connection to the eiffel tower that mysteriously ups voltages? lol

  4. agent420 says:

    Nice job. i’m a sucker for anything hv ;-)

    #3, franceformer is a brand name of nst (neon sign tranxformer), usually regarded as high quality.

    now waiting for all the arsonphobic wuss girlie ‘hackers’ to show up and whine about the danger of this thing, it being able to catch stuff on fire and not ul listed and all…

  5. strider_mt2k says:

    This reminds me of the stuff Doctor Julius Sumner Miller would do on the various TV programs that featured his remarkable, wonderful work.

    Perhaps a bit of a side journey, but Dr. Miller did quite a bit with magnetism and electricity.
    Please watch and enjoy:

  6. Dewi Morgan says:

    http://www.thegleam.com/ke5fx/tesla.html is an oooooold project (1988!), but was a lot beefier. Good pics, check ‘em out. 1.5 million volts, 20 inch diameter, more than 6ft high, and lots of build details.

  7. ... says:

    Normal nst and spark gap coils are so last century…

    DRSSTC’s and the brand spanking new SISG coils are all the craze now.

    But for a highschooler that isn’t all that bad ;)

  8. vkeios says:

    Listen this is very dangerous, and I demand a warning about it be put up right now!
    But seriously, tesla coils are my secret love, so I’m quite happy to see this.

  9. agent420 says:

    Re #7… good call. i was going to mention that as well. in addition to being more efficient, the hv waveforms are apparently safer as well. i’m definatley giving it a shot!

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