In Greek mythology, Zeus is the Father of Gods and men. He rules Mount Olympus with his remarkable control over lightning. I sought out to harness the same power possessed by Zeus by following in the footsteps of Nikola Tesla, arguably the most influential and underrated scientist and engineer in modern history. One of the inventions he created was a resonate transformer that converts low-frequency energy to high-frequency energy in hopes of one day having wireless energy for all. This sparked my interest in building a Tesla Coil.
At the genesis of the idea, I did not have any experience with electricity or engineering. Aside from a public school education, I knew nothing about the theories, methods, or applications behind Tesla Coil’s or electricity in general. All I knew is that they looked cool, I wanted to build one, and learning would be the vehicle to reach my goal. I did not know it at the beginning, but I would soon learn about the nature of electricity, AC/DC power, circuits, high and low-frequency energies, magnetic fields, transformers, woodworking, soldering, electrical engineering, creating and reading design plans/ blueprints, budget management, improvising materials, modifying existing structures to make a better system, and high voltage safety. This helped broaden my knowledge with electrical circuits and stimulated creativity that will in turn enhance my knowledge with the physical aspects of computers, which is valuable for the computer science major I am pursuing. It also will be of great help if I choose to double major in electrical engineering. This project was a fun yet challenging approach to learning about electrical engineering.
Research was a long and arduous journey that took an ample amount of time in preparation and during construction. I first started my research by reading about Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the Tesla Coil. Through that I could see what the main purpose of the device was for, the time period surrounding it, and its impact on society. I then read his autobiographical, My Inventions, and several papers he wrote on his works in dealing with electricity, such as Experiments With Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency, Experiments with Alternate Currents of Very High Frequency and Their Application to Methods of Artificial Illumination, and On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomena. Even though I only skimmed some of his electrical papers, I was already starting to understand more about electricity and the groundbreaking work Tesla was doing.
After understanding the creator and his vision, I then looked at the invention I would soon build. Invented in 1891, a Tesla Coil is a high voltage and high frequency resonate transformer. A basic Tesla Coil is composed of a power supply, primary capacitors, a spark gap, a primary coil, a secondary coil, and a top load. In addition, I needed a chassis, RF ground, and a line filter to make my coil safe, efficient, and mobile.
I began my planning...