|So, you want to build your
own Tesla Coil?
Pseudoscience Note:Nikola Tesla's works seem to draw a disproportionate share of inaccuracy and speculation. Tesla's magnificent engineering achievements stand on their own merit without any need to invoke fringe and pseudoscience. On this site you won't find any discussion or reference to Tesla creating Free Energy, the Philadelphia Experiment, Tunguska Explosion, Scalar Weapons, Pyramid Power, Ley Lines, etc. The following references (and all areas of this site for that matter) are factual, not mythical.
Reality is MUCH more interesting than pseudoscience, science fiction, and fantasy...
Your Host - Bert Hickman
There are few actual plans for building Tesla Coils on the Web or in the literature, since there is great flexibility in the designs and in the materials used to build them. Instead, most coilers study the theory and review web sites of other coilers. Recently a number of excellent (and quite accurate) computer design aids have become available. There are two excellent moderated Tesla Coil and High Voltage sites where questions are answered and new design techniques are shared. Each list has searchable archives. Following are some suggested printed and Web-based resources to get you started. Good luck in your quest for knowledge, and on your Tesla Coil should you decide to build your own! Because there are significant dangers associated with building and operating Tesla Coils, your very FIRST stop should be the Safety Page...
Nikola Tesla Patents and History
Tesla Coil Theory and Construction
Other good High Voltage Theory/Reference books
Where can I buy these books?
Web Based Sources:
Where to Begin
Solid State Tesla Coils
Vacuum Tube Tesla Coils
Parts (High Voltage and Tesla Coil)
Professional/Large Coiling Sites
Accurate Tesla Information and Notable Museums
Books About Nikola Tesla, Patents, and History:
COLORADO SPRINGS NOTES 1899 - 1900
Published by the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Yugoslavia 1978. Tesla's research diary, written while at Colorado Springs in 1899-1900. Contains outstanding photos and information dealing with lightning, energy transmission experiments and the Pikes Peak laboratory in Tesla's own words. Covers important details of Tesla's experimental work. Hard cover 440 pp. ~$40.00
Excellent Reading! A copy of Tesla's actual lab books, written in Tesla's own style. Richard Hull's book (below) is invaluable to help decipher some of the meanings and concepts - be sure to get it as well!
TESLA COIL BUILDER'S GUIDE TO THE COLORADO SPRINGS NOTES OF NIKOLA TESLA
This is an historical guide for the student of Tesla's resonant systems. A day by day annotation of what Tesla did in 1899 at Colorado Springs and how it bears in modern Tesla coil theory and construction. Designed to be read in conjunction with Colorado Springs Notes, it includes advice for the Tesla coil builder/ technician based on modern experiences and techniques. 1994 8 1/2" x 11", 143pp ~$27.50
Avid researcher and experimenter Richard Hull “deciphers” and expands upon Tesla's writings using the benefit of modern day knowledge and a decade of experimental experience. Superbly written by a true experimentalist and researcher!
EXPERIMENTS WITH ALTERNATE CURRENTS OF HIGH POTENTIAL AND FREQUENCY
First printed in 1904. The reprint includes pictures and a biographical sketch of Tesla. A lecture delivered before the Institute of Electrical Engineers, London, with an appendix on “The Transmission of Energy Without Wires”. Soft cover, 176pp. ~$10.00
While the original is still available in the used book market (but quite expensive!), the Lindsay reprint is often available at local Hamfests at very affordable prices. Excellent reading at a reasonable price!
NIKOLA TESLA ON HIS WORK WITH ALTERNATING CURRENTS: THEIR APPLICATION TO WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY, TELEPHONY, AND THE TRANSMISSION OF POWER
Tesla describes the methods and apparatus he employed in his laboratories in New York City, Colorado Springs, and on Long Island, New York. He also depicts the "magnifying Transmitter" and the Wardenclyffe Tower. This book will greatly interest experimenters and engineers. An expanded edition is now available, ISBN 1893817016, Published 2002, soft cover, 240pp., 106 Illustrations ~$27.00
Written by the world's most accurate and knowledgeable Tesla historian. Excellent reading!
THE INVENTIONS, RESEARCHES AND WRITINGS OF NIKOLA TESLA
Thomas Commerford Martin
This is a modern reprint of a volume containing all of Tesla's early lectures, miscellaneous articles, discussions, and inventions through the year 1894. First published during Tesla's life, and with Tesla's consent and assistance. Contains dozens of drawings and diagrams. Hard cover, 496pp. $14.00
This is one of the better technical books covering details of Tesla's early equipment and techniques. Written by a contemporary and master EE, it covers polyphase AC power, AC motors, and transformers. It also traces the evolution that Tesla followed from iron core induction coils to high frequency air-core resonant transformers, high frequency alternators, plasma experiments, and lighting work. For Tesla's later works, see “Colorado Springs Notes” above, which cover 2-coil (classic) and 3-coil (magnifier) systems. This book can often be found in the used book or remainders market ($8.00). A truly great read!
THE COMPLETE PATENTS OF NIKOLA TESLA
Soft Cover, 521 pages, available directly from Barnes and Noble for $14.95 or less
This reprint of all of Tesla's US Patents is available in retail stores and via mail order from Barnes and Noble at an incredibly low price. This huge, large format book is a treasure that all serious Tesla researches need!
WIZARD – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NIKOLA TESLA
This is one of the more recent and largest of the Tesla biographies produced to date. The author gives a wonderful overview of the social setting in which Tesla lived and of his contemporaries. The book will provide the reader an excellent sense of the breadth of Tesla's achievements. 542 pages, illustrated, references, indexed.
More factual than many of the other biographies, written by an acknowledged Tesla expert. This book is an extremely well researched biography. It is also recommended by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Tesla Coil Theory and Construction
DRSSTC : Building the Modern Day Tesla Coil
This self-published text provides both the electrical and mechanical design of several DRSSTC systems capable of producing output arcs up to 7ft in length using only solid state components. Information is presented as electrical schematics, mechanical drawings, parts lists with complete vendor information, PSPICE simulations, experimental test data, test and operational procedures, and over 200 photographs, drawings, and charts. 2006, Lulu Publishing, 239 Pages, ISBN 978-1411695269
Modern, technically accurate book covering theory and practical construction of modern Dual Resonant Solid State Tesla Coils (DRSSTC's). Good tutorial for folks wanting to build their own solid-state Tesla Coils. Fairly technical but very readable. Somewhat dated, but only because progress in DRSSTC's has been continuing at such a rapid pace.
MODERN TESLA COIL DESIGN THEORY
The author shares excellent information and his own experimentation in this 129 page book. His research includes: RLC circuits, transmission lines, the Tesla coil secondary, capacitive discharge, vacuum tube, and solid-state Tesla coils. 1991, 8 1/2" x 11", 129pp $19.95. Still available through Twenty-First Century Books.
Technically fairly accurate, especially for what was known about Tesla Coils in 1991. This is an excellent “hands on” builder's guide, covering general theory of operation and construction. Written in clear, understandable language.
THE TESLA COIL BOOK - How they work and how they are built
Self published by the author, a practical Tesla Coil builder and experimenter. Discusses practical Tesla Coil design and theory. 1996, 188 pages, Amazon ASIN: B0006QV0NO
This is an excellent self-published book covering the theory, design, construction, and operation primarily of spark gap and vacuum tube Tesla coils. Also has some discussion of early solid state coils. Still available from the author - contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ULTIMATE TESLA COIL DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION GUIDE
The author shares a host of practical Tesla Coil design approaches and electrical theory in this 480 page book. McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0071497374, ~$22.00
This is a hands-on builder's guide with design aids and spreadsheets. It also covers general theory of operation and construction. Clearly written, for the amateur and experienced coiler alike.
ELECTRICITY AT HIGH PRESSURES AND FREQUENCIES
Henry L. Transtrom
A reprint of the 1921 edition of a “how-to” book on building high voltage equipment and performing experiments, with discussions of Tesla, Fessenden, and others of the time. Also, contains photos of unusual experiments. Lindsay Reprint, 1921, 247pp. Available from Lindsay’s Technical Reprints, $11.95, at http://www.lindsaybks.com/
Written by an Electrical engineer and an avid showman, Henry Transtrom was electrocuted while performing a demonstration before an audience! Although dated, the designs can be used as a possible starting point for Tesla Coil building.
TESLA COIL BUILDERS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER (TCBA)
Harry Goldman, Publisher
Although this quarterly newsletter is no longer being published, back issues can be searched and read on-line at Cameron Prince's TeslaUniverse Site.
Other Great High Voltage Theory/Reference books
G. Norris Glasoe, Jean V. Lebacqz, McGraw-Hill (1948), Boston Technical Publishers reprint (1965)
A pulsed power classic. Volume 5 from the 28 volume MIT Radiation Laboratory Series (which covered the current state of RADAR knowledge as of the late 1940's). It contains many sections useful to advanced Tesla Coilers and researchers, including fixed and rotary spark gaps, thyratrons, capacitor charging systems, and pulse transformer theory and design. Out of print, but available through the used book market and library system inter-loan program.
High Speed Pulse Technology: Capacitor Discharges, Magnetohydrodynamics, X-Rays, Ultrasonics
Frank Frungle/Freungle, Academic Press (1965)
Volume 1 of a four volume set. One of the best books written about the use of high voltage capacitors in various pulsed power applications. Extensive bibliography. Volume 3 (Capacitor Engineering) is also an excellent resource. Out of print, but available through the used book market and library system inter-loan program.
Gas Discharge Closing Switches (Advances in Pulsed Power Technology, Volume 2)
Gerhard Schaefer, Plenum Press (1991), ISBN 0306436191
Comprehensive, modern work covering static, triggered, and rotary spark gaps, thyratrons, ignitrons, vacuum switches, etc. Useful for serious high power Tesla Coil and pulsed power researchers.
High Voltage Engineering Fundamentals
E. Kuffel, W. S. Zaengl, Pergamon Press (1984), ISBN 008024212X
Very readable and practical title that deals with various aspects of high voltage design, dielectric theory, electrical fields, electrical breakdown processes, etc. Very useful to Tesla Coil designers who want a better understanding of high voltage design techniques.
High Voltage Engineering
M. S. Naidu, V. Kamaraju, McGraw-Hill (1999), ISBN 0071361081
Another readable and practical text covering various aspects of high voltage design, dielectric theory, electrical fields, electrical breakdown processes, etc. Very useful to Tesla Coil designers who want a better understanding of high voltage design techniques.
First Century Books
Note: the 2nd URL points to over 40 hard to find articles written by Tesla - check them out!
Note: the Proprietor, Gary Peterson, is a true Tesla fan and supporter. Gary is working to restore the Wardenclyffe property in Long Island, NY: The Tesla Wardenclyffe Project. For more see: http://www.teslascience.org/
|Addall NEW Book search engine - find the lowest price for new books||http://www.addall.com|
|Addall Used and Out of Print book search engine - one of the best!||http://www.addall.com/used|
|BookFinder.com: New & Out of Print Books||http://www.bookfinder.com/|
|Free Book Notes and Study Guides
to begin - excellent beginners sites, lists, papers
|Tesla Builders Mailing List & archives (THE Premier Tesla Coil Builder's Mailing List - sign up!)||http://www.pupman.com/|
|Tesla Coil Web
Ring - see how other Tesla coilers designed their systems
|Deep Fried Neon (UK Site) - a UK beginners site. See the Tesla Coil Design Guide||
Deep Fried Neon
|TeslaMap - excellent beginner's Tesla Coil construction information and an easy to use design tool from Kevin Wilson.
||TeslaMap Tesla Coil Design Tool
|The Tesla Coil Design, Construction, and Operation Guide from Kevin Wilson||Tesla Design Guide
McCauley's paper about how to design a medium sized spark gap coil,
"Designing Your Tesla Coil". Used with permission from Dan (220kB pdf
||Designing Your Tesla Coil|
78 issues of Harry Goldman's "Tesla Coil Builders Association
Newsletter", scanned and now available ONLINE thanks to Cameron Prince
||All TCBA Issues
Excellent Tesla Coil and High Voltage Hobbyist Sites:
Anderson's site - home of JAVATC and FANTC programs - the most accurate
tools available for Tesla Coil builders. Also, Tesla's Patents, Basics,
and much more!
||Classic Tesla Site|
|Dr. A. de Queiroz’s GREAT Electrostatics and HV Site||http://www.coe.ufrj.br/~acmq/electrostatic.html|
|Gary Lau's Theory & Practical Site||http://www.laushaus.com/tesla/|
|Jim Lux's High Voltage Experimenter's Handbook||http://home.earthlink.net/~jimlux/hv/hvmain.htm|
Eldridge's BIGG Coil - 20+ foot Sparks!
Tesla Theory Site (One of the best for TC theory/operation!)
|Ross Overstreet's HV site; TC's and EM Shrinking||http://www.hot-streamer.com/ross/|
Excellent TC Theory & Practice Site (Terry previously moderated the Pupman Tesla Coil Builders Site)
|Tesla 3-Coil Magnifier Theory (the recently solved formal mathematical solution!)||http://www.coe.ufrj.br/~acmq/tesla/magnifier.html|
|Tesla Secondary Simulation Project - Note: heavy theory and math - the leading edge of TC theory||http://abelian.org/tssp/|
Amateur Science Site - Bill's Tesla Coil Page
|4HV Community List - More advanced HV, Tesla Coils, Rail Guns and more. DO NOT ask for detailed plans on this site...
|Terry Blake's Site - Rochester and Cheesehead Teslathon pictures and DVD's. Also, many of Terry's own innovative coils. Also, the home of the daring Dr. Zeus!
Solid State Tesla Coils and Drivers (SSTC):
Sharp’s great site (UK), also covers UK Teslathons!
|Eastern Voltage Research. Get Dan McCauley's definitive book on Solid State Coil Design!
|LoneOceans Solid State Coils and Kits (and more...)
|Steve Ward's IGBT DRSSTC - 11+ foot streamers !
|Don Klipstein’s Solid State Coils Site||http://www.misty.com/~don/sst.html|
Site - Solid State section (UK) - Excellent!
Vacuum Tube Tesla Coils (VTTC):
|Steve Ward's VTTC's (Dual 811A, 833A, etc.)
|Steve Ward's VTTC FAQ||http://www.stevehv.4hv.org/VTTCfaq.htm
|Chip Atkinson's Site - see Tube Coils Section||http://www.pupman.com|
|Ross Overstreet's old VTTC (and lots more!)||http://www.capturedlightning.org/hot-streamer/ross/index.htm|
|Tesla Stuff - THE eBay store for hard to find "stuff" for Tesla Coil Builders
|Metal Spinning (spheres, hemispheres, toroids)
|Very large aluminum spun toroids - O. W. Landergren, Inc.
|Magnet wire - BEA Wire
|Magnet wire - Accurate Wire and Insulation, Inc (Aurora, IL, 630-898-9473, tell them Bert Hickman sent you!)
|Magnet wire - MWS Wire Industries
|Litz Wire (high power SSTC's, VTTC's or induction heating)
|Magnet Wire - Express Wire Services, Inc.
|Online Machining Service - eMachineShop||http://www.emachineshop.com/
|Copper spheres for spark gaps - New England Copper Works
Professional and Museum Coils:
|Boston’s Theater of Electricity||http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/toe.html|
|Greg Leyh’s Electrum, the world’s biggest 2-Coil System!||http://www.lod.org/|
|Applied Tesla Technology (formerly kVA Effects) - Premiere Tesla/HV Special Effects||http://www.teslacoil.com/|
Information about Tesla, early electrical
|Nikola Tesla – Erased at the Smithsonian!||http://www.ntesla.org
Tesla Complete US Patents (PDF format) thanks to Bart Anderson - see Patents.pdf for index and descriptions
|The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade||http://www.yurope.com/org/tesla/muzeje.htm|
|Tesla, Master of Lightning (PBS) - An Excellent Educational Site!||http://www.pbs.org/tesla/|
|Niagara Falls - History of Power||http://www.niagarafrontier.com/power.html|
Turn Of The Century Electrotherapy Museum - lots of old medical
equipment, books, historical information, etc. - A great site by Jeff
|Deutsches Museum - Electrical Power and High Voltage Exhibit||http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/exhibitions/materials-energy/electric-power/|
|Historical Tesla Articles (thanks to Gary Peterson of Twenty First Century Books for making these articles available on-line!)||http://www.tfcbooks.com/tesla/contents.htm|
|Tesla Universe - Cameron Prince's excellent site about Nikola Tesla||http://www.teslauniverse.com/
|Scalar Weapons, Tunguska, Philadelphia Experiment, Pyramid Power, Ley Lines, etc.
Some Other Places to Go:
|Tesla Info Center
||10" Tesla Coil
||Get Shrunken Coins!
||Get a Lichtenberg!|
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