pgtruspace's blog

about things that interest me.

Condenser / Sparkgap test

Condenser / Spark gap test

Condenser & spark gap with 15,000vac transformer

  Main condenser

Top picture is of main condenser, spark gap and neon transformer. This test of the main condenser was its’ first “smoke test” to see if my design would function as planed. Condenser is made up of aluminum foil lined PET plastic jars set up similar to Leyden Jars fixed end to end and paralleled to create a bank,  .0196mfd – 40,000vac condenser to power the primary coils through the spark gap. The power at this time is supplied by a 15,000 vac 30ma center tapped neon illumination transformer. ( built in 1940s)

Spark gap

  Spark gap

This second picture is of the spark gap and transformer. To the left is an electrode from a Leyden jar as well as a 4 inch pocket wrench. The spark gap is constructed from two engine XL spark plugs that have had the grounding electrode and some of the threaded shank removed. These are threaded into an extruded aluminum form,  so that the central electrodes face one other, to provide a base as well as a heat sink. The spark gap can be adjusted from as small as 3/8 inch to as large as 1 inch.

Spark gap without condenser

 Spark gap powered

This is being directly powered by the neon transformer with no load. The arc is small thready and produces a lot of heat and not much light. It is also quiet, just a light crackle.

You may have to look closely, click on the image or do an enlarge to see the arc.

This is the first time in 16 years that I have powered up this transformer, good to see that it still works.

Spark gap with condenser

 Spark with condenser

I hooked up the condenser in parallel and turned the thing on, real smoke test. WOW! very hard arc, very bright and white, lots of UV and very loud hiss, not much heat! I am pleased with this spark gap design and the output of my home made condenser.

The Tesla Coil Builders need to see this as the spark gap is the most difficult part of a tesla coil device.  I’m pleased with the outcome of this test, I will continue & assemble the primary driver   😎  pg

2 responses to “Condenser / Sparkgap test

  1. P.G. Sharrow February 15, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I finally got enough of the pruning done to clean the work bench and return to working on the experiment. Just HAD to test the spark gap and main condenser! Very cool! Now to complete the disk shell. I hate working in FRP. Oh well it has to be done. I know the main coil works. The twitch coils need to be tested. Em, need to figure out a test regime for that. pg

  2. Zeke February 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Beautiful arc, PG!

    Not bad for a day’s work…while the rest of us are still “looking everywhere” for the pruning sheers (:

    You might like to know about this conference in New Mexico later…

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