Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Telsa Down Under

<- "Eye of Sauron"

I've said many times that some of the very best tinkerers in the world live Down Under in Australia and New Zealand.

There's a particularly strong group of high voltage enthusiasts who build a number of off-the-wall things.

I found a particularly creative coiler's site called "Telsa Down Under." Check out the neat pix posted of his "rotating coil breakout point" Tesla Coil. The site owner, a Western Australian named Peter, provides a bunch of cool slides including his "Tesla Coil auto theft preventer."

What is a Tesla Coil?
The following is taken from the Tesla coil mailing list at pupman.com.
A tesla coil is a resonant air core
transformer. It is used to produce high voltages (around 200 Kilovolts on up) at
high frequencies (around 500KHz and lower). It was named after its inventor,
Nikola Tesla.

The tesla coil is not like most transformers that you may be familiar
with. The "standard" transformer uses magnetic fields that are contained in an
iron core. These fields transfer the electrical energy from one coil to the
other. The voltage gain or loss is governed strictly by the ratio of turns
between the coils.

A tesla coil operates on another principle entirely. This principle is
called resonance, and is analogous to a fishing pole that you swing with a small
motion of your hand. If you move your hand back and forth a small amount at the
correct rate (frequency), the tip of the pole will whip wildly back and forth.
Same thing for a tesla coil. If you "swing" it at the right frequency, the
voltage at the top will rise and fall wildly.

Peter's site appears to be Australia's answer to Sam Barros Powerlabs site (powerlabs.org) or the Make magazine blog (makezine.com). There's info on projects including ionic lifters, radioactive materials, vortex cannons and more.

(Note to readers: There are plans for a DSW (Directed Smell Weapon) based on a vortex cannon in my new book, Whoosh Boom Splat which goes on sale March 27. More information to follow soon!)

I haven't had enough time to explore the site completely, but it definitely looks like it's worth taking some time to explore.

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