JHCTES Tesla Coil Notebook
This notebook has been written to supplement the design and engineering information presented in the Tesla Coil Design Manual (TCDM). It also includes engineering information for using the JHCTES computer program. Each of the program's 46 input and output parameters are listed with explanations of how they work in the program. The notebook also includes computer printouts for a typical 1,000 watt Tesla coil and the Colorado Springs coil. Because of the complex relationship of the Tesla coil parameters, some of the outputs appear to be incorrect. The explanation given for each parameter shows how the computer outputs are obtained. This program will give you an insight into Tesla coil engineering that is not possible to obtain when using any other program.
The JHCTES program has been developed to aid the Tesla coil builder in the design of his coils. The program includes 46 major T.C. parameters including physical dimensions of the coils. The program is interactive and coordinates all parameters so that when one parameter is changed all the related parameters are automatically changed. The program is based on data from successful coils that have been built and tested by the author and many other coil builders. This program will save you a lot of time and money in trial and error building. Tesla coils built from designs produced by this program will work as shown provided you use quality materials, good construction, and the system is properly tuned.
Tesla coils are resonant air core transformers. They consists of two RCL circuits that are inductively coupled by their coils being in close proximity to each other. Because of the high voltage electric fields and distributed parameters Tesla coils are more complex than the typical RCL coupled circuits. For this reason electrical engineering texts state that the design of Tesla coils is empirical. Empirical design means design by both theory and experience. The experience refers to what is learned by building and testing Tesla coils. The data obtained from testing is converted into equations and graphs that can be used to design and build new Tesla coils. This is the concept that must be used to design all complex engineering systems. This concept has been used for developing the JHCTES program.
The JHCTES program is for the design of classical Tesla coils only. Tesla coils using the extra coil or other coil arrangements are not included. Tesla left very little information on his work with the extra coil. There is not enough empirical data available at this time to produce a practical program that would include the extra coil. This leaves an opportunity for Tesla coil builders of today to research the possibilities of the extra coil and other coil combinations and publish their test results. As stated in the TCDM page 24-4, the extra coil because of the reduced losses should produce a spark length of about 1.5 times the spark length shown on the graph Fig 2 of the TCDM page 5-6.
Tesla coil operation is often misunderstood by builders and this causes them much wasted time and effort in getting their coils to work properly. These misconceptions are in regards to operating frequency, Q factors, coupling, tuning, etc. The following information in this notebook and the JHCTES program will show the builder how to avoid wasted time and costly errors in designing, building, and testing their coils.
In the past Tesla coils played an important role in science, medicine, etc. Up until the 1930s Tesla coils were the only way to produce the high voltages needed for nuclear research, X-rays, and other high voltage devices. Today Tesla coils are built mostly for exhibition purposes and big sparks. It should be noted, however, that Tesla coils have a future for other electrical devices including vehicles in space. On earth Tesla coils have limited use because the atmosphere short circuits their output. Their operation on earth is like trying to light a match under water. However, in space outside the atmosphere this type of short circuiting does not exist and the Coulomb forces that can be produced by Tesla coils can be used in many ways in space. Because of the precise control of these forces that is possible with Tesla Coils, these forces are ideal for maneuvering vehicles in space. The energy required could be obtained from the sun. This is a much more efficient system compared to bringing rocket fuels from the earth to do the same kind of job. There is no doubt that Tesla coils will be of great importance in the future. The JHCTES computer program can expedite the research of this apparatus today.