We have recently built a high voltage Tesla coil for a graduating project for our high school, but we're having some problems. My friends and I were hoping that anyone might be able to help us troubleshoot. Sincerely,
Our coil itself is powered by a 15kV 30mA neon sign transformer. The primary coil has 11 turns of 3/8 inch copper tubing, with an inner radius of 3.5 inches and an outer radius of 13 inches. The secondary is 26 inches tall with 22 gauge copper wire. We have a static spark gap and safety gap that are easily adjustable. We built the capacitor ourselves out of polyethylene sheets and aluminum. We believe it to work well and have found it to be 18nF.
The problem is that once the coil is wired the transformer fails to fire. There is no arcing across the spark gap, and no noise indicating that the transformer is working. Our schematic has the spark gap and safety gap in parallel with the transformer and in series with the capacitor and primary coil.
We feel as though we're missing something simple. The components themselves seem to be working properly but when wired correctly the coil does nothing. We have found it possible to create arcing in the spark gap but only when all the components are wired in series. When this happens, however, we can tell that the primary coil creates no field because we have held a fluorescent bulb near it with no result.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully you have a chance to respond soon as we do have some time constraints.
Ian, Thomas, Chong
We have recently built a high voltage Tesla coil for a graduating project for our high school, but we're having some problems. My friends and I were hoping that anyone might be able to help us troubleshoot.