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Tesla coil project and other high voltage projects

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Hi, I am looking doing a project with my son and we want to build either a small Tesla Coil (12" range), Jacobs Ladder or a "Antigravity Project" from the book 'Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius', but I am having a very hard time locating part for these projects.  It is a nice book but there project cost estimate is way of the mark (by a factor of 10-20 more). And the only website I have found is the website from the book and charge an arm and leg.

Were can I buy high voltage capacitors, avalanche diodes and high voltage transformers in the 10KV range and higher.  Does anyone know of a good source for these parts?


Ebay is the best bet. For HV transformers, neon-sign transformers are generally the most available but this depends a lot on how popular neon signs are in your area, as well as in some cases regulations that restrict voltage/power, or mandate internal groundfault sensing electronics.

Oil burner ignition transformers are also good for small coils, but again availability depends a lot on the local market.
The only widely available species of HV transformer is the microwave oven transformer, but their relatively low voltage and high current capability make them difficult and more dangerous to use.

For capacitors, the usual method is to build an array of lower voltage caps, generally referred to as "MMC" - Multi-Mini Cap.

The classic is a flyback transformer from an old CRT which can easily be connected to an oscillator.

What about an insect killer transformer?

You can also make your own flyback transformer but it's not easy to make one up to 10kV without it arcing over.

Be careful with those evil genius books. I have one and I'm not at all confident that details are explained enough particularly with HT projects working straight off the mains ! I beleive there is a website the author sells the required parts from

Farnell sell control panel transformers for converting 208VAC to 600VAC down to 115VAC or 230VAC. You could run one in reverse to give 600VAC or 830VAC, depending on whether you need isolation from the mains or not. You can then use a capacitive voltage multiplier to give 10kVDC.

Whether isolation from the mains increases safety is debatable. If you use an isolation transformer and want the secondary to float, you need to ensure the insulation can withstand the secondary plus the primary voltage. The transformer I linked to above is only tested to 5000VAC which is just over 7kVDC and is not good enough for you so you'll need to connect the secondary to earth. If you're connecting the secondary side to earth then an isolation transformer offers little protection except for perhaps a broken neutral on the mains side or live neutral reversal.


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