DIY Solid State Tesla Coil

Tesla Coils are always a blast to see and are relativity simple to build. While there are plenty of sites on the subject, [Michael’s] newest instructable breaks building a solid state Tesla Coil down to 12 easy steps.

Items that should be familiar to anyone who has even looked at a Tesla Coil include PVC pipe, Aluminum ducting, and wire … lots of wire. The PVC pipe is cut to length and a flange is attached to help form a base. From there the pipe is wound with about ¾ of a pound of 30 AWG enameled wire, which takes some time by hand to make sure you don’t overlap or get space between the coils.

Aluminum ducting is then wrapped around the outside of a second flange. Some stovepipe wire is ran though the ducting and twisted to close up the 2 ends, and hot glue is used to attach the two ends together. The assembly is screwed to the top of the pipe now containing the secondary of the massive transformer. All that is left is to attach a primary, which is made out of a few turns of 16 AWG wire, and the control circuitry.

Join us after the break for a shocking video!


15 thoughts on “DIY Solid State Tesla Coil

      1. Which I recommend on the instructable. If you read carefully, I said I had to do my own variant because I couldn’t find some of his pieces locally.(mainly the gate transformer and drive chips.

  1. id like to know more about telsa coils, what part of the schematic do you(s) not like ?

    im not familliar with the IC used but i’d say it looks like a good hv circuit to me? the FETs have protecting diodes built-in, right?

    looks like stuff ive made to gen 300v but with BJT and not FET

    or are you just cringing at the direct line connection and the tiny filer capacitor and no EMIRFI shielding or even fuse … ???

    Honest im not trolling, i want to know NOW lol

    1. No, Steve Ward’s is actually better because it uses a gate drive transformer instead of a gate drive chip as I did; but I could not find a suitable ferrite toroid and the uccxxxx chips he used locally.

  2. @Michael Chen
    you dont buy gate transformers you make them your self and the driver chips are nothing more than an NAND gate and a N-P mosfet pair

    to make drive transformers you take a T style ferrite (like in inductors in PSUs) and 3 pairs of copper wire wound ~10 times around it

    there much safer than your drive system if running off mains

  3. Just a quick $.02 from me – there is a missing capacitor that needs to go between pin 2 on 555 and ground (otherwise your “interrupter” won’t oscillate).

    SteveHV has it as the “cap sub point” (he’s changing the value for different spark effects).

    In regards to your MOSFETs heating up, it usually says that you are not driving them (turning them on and off) fast enough.

    You are using IRFP260 that has fairly large Total Gate Charge (Qg=230nC), so in order to “instantly” (quickly enough) turn it on, you need a decent gate current.

    The driver circuit you use should be sufficient if circuit and PCB designed properly. In your case, you probably don’t have IR2110 connected to properly sized 5V line – the gate current provided by driver needs goes to 2A, if your 5V can not supply that, you are charging the gate with much smaller current, so the MOSFET spends (much) more time “half open” and dissipates large energy.

    Without knowing all the details (current your 5V can supply, quality of capacitors on the 5V line, PCB design, etc.), one think you can check is to put your V meter directly on the supply pins (Vcc and GND) of the driver circuit and see if you get less then 5V when circuit calculating (working).

    The cheapest oscilloscope would make troubleshooting even easier and more accurate (V mater is sometimes too slow to reflect quick drops) in Vcc.

    Also removing the “alu cap” (as SteveHV did) changes the coils resonant frequency and possibly brings the work point into the more favorable range.

    Hope you’ll give some of above a try and let us know how it went :)

  4. thanks for the help :)

    thats why i always love to fall back on custom/kludged transformers when learning new stuff, in this case i see, would help immensley.
    and schock resistent always makes the safetytrolls, well, “satisfied” lol

    i was always taught that low efficency equals high stability, which is what you want when first learning or first build.
    like the most reliable temporary way to turn unlimited 330vdc into unreg.d ~1ma @ ~10vdc is a resistor voltage-divider, its just really wasteful

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