How to Build a Mini Tesla Coil at Home

If you are interested in creating your own mini Tesla coil then this article will show you step by step how to do it.

Building your own mini Tesla Coil is a super hands-on and fun project that uses basic materials to create an unusual apparatus, great for science lovers and hobbyists of any age. This is a guide that shows how to build a mini Tesla coil at home with basic materials.

Nikola Tesla was a man of many mysteries and the archetype of what we call as a mad scientist!

But he was a genius scientist, engineer and futurist who developed the world’s first hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls in collaboration with George Westinghouse.

  • He invented the magnifying transmitter and the Tesla coil among many other inventions.
  • Made crucial contributions to the world of science, which fill the world around us and earned nearly 700 patents during his lifetime.

 This article describes:

  • What is tesla coil
  • How it works
  • Things we need
  • Its uses
  • Steps involved to build

How to build a mini tesla coil at home

Tesla was always inspired to bring wireless technology to the world.

  • Wanted to build devices that fit in the hand and could receive stock quotes and telegram messages which were encrypted at his laboratory .
  • Proposed the idea for a modern-day smart phone so many years ago.

Tesla invented famous Tesla coil – A high-frequency apparatus that makes very high-voltage current electricity. This coil build with complex circuits and thus it used widely.

Materials Used

Material used to build a mini tesla coil
  • Enameled copper wire
  • A non-conductive cylindrical object like a PVC pipe or cardboard roll
  • MJE3055T transistor with heat sink or a 2N2222 (NPN) transistor
  • Ordinary breadboard wire
  • Capacitor
  • 9V battery (or 5V supply)
  • Cardboard or breaded board
  • 22K Ohms Resistance
  • LED
  • On/Off switch
  • CFL lamp (for power indication-optional)
  • Adhesives
  • Teflon tape
  • Screws, nuts, etc.

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Assembly Instruction

Copper winding on PVC pipe

Steps Involved

Step 1: Let’s begin by winding the secondary coil. This step takes time and patience to do it. Otherwise, the coil won’t function properly.

 Start by making a slot at the top of the PVC pipe or any other non-conductive cylindrical object  and winding the enameled copper wire (also called magnetic wire).

Reuse magnetic wires present in motors, transformers or relay coils. It is better to use a thinner wire so that more turns can be accommodated on the pipe. Strip the ends of the pipe to make electric contacts.

Take care of these things:

  • Wind the coils as tightly as possible for the best results.
  • Make sure there are no gaps on overlapping wires while winding.
  • Aim for more than 200 turns.
  • Secure the coil with tape after a few turns to keep it tight.

Step 2: Next, you have to wind the primary coil around the PVC pipe with 3-4 turns. One end of this is connected to the transistor and the other electric contact is kept open.

Step3: Now, you just have to follow the circuit diagram given in the next section and assemble the materials accordingly.

WARNING: This apparatus produces very high voltage and it’s  necessary to ensure what  exactly you are doing. Don’t touch the coil at any point when the switch is ON.

Circuit Explanation

Mini tesla coil circuit diagram

 Components of The Circuit:

  • On/Off Switch
  • 9V Battery
  • LED bulb
  • 2N2222A Transistor
  • 22K Ohms Resistance
  • Connecting Wire
  • Magnetic Wire 22 SWG

Connect the 22K Ohms resistance to the base terminal. As mentioned before, one end of the secondary coil has to be joined with the transistor and the other end has to be left open.

Connect the battery terminal to the primary coil and base of the transistor via the ON/OFF switch, as shown in the circuit diagram.

Connect the LED bulb to indicate oscillating pulse level. Now double-check all the connections.

From below the secondary coil, slowly take up the primary coil to the top of the pipe. Stop where the LED bulb has the maximum glow. If your bulb doesn’t glow at all, try switching the connections to the primary coil. Mark this spot with a piece of tape and glue the primary coil permanently.

Working Principle

The Tesla coil is meant to produce very high output voltages based on a principle called resonance. To achieve resonance, the primary coil has large amounts of electric flow inside it, which in turn transmits to the secondary coil at the right time to maximize the energy. We can relate it to determining the perfect time to push someone off a swing, so they leap as high as possible .

Theory Of Mini tesla Coil

The fundamental theory behind the working of a Tesla coil is electromagnetic induction. This means that a small current is produced when a conductor is placed inside a varying magnetic field. In the case of this apparatus, the secondary coil functions as the conductor and the primary coil produces the varying magnetic field.

Mini Tesla coil production process

How Does The Tesla Coil Work

  • The Tesla coil uses a radio-frequency transformer. The battery is connected to the primary coil while the secondary coil is connected loosely so that resonance occurs. The parallel connection of the capacitor with the radio-frequency transformer acts as an LC circuit. This is a tuning circuit that induces signals at specific frequencies.
  • The capacitor is charged by the high amount of voltage produced by the transformer, which break down the air of the spark gap when it reaches a saturation point. The capacitor generates a huge value of electric flow via the Tesla coil, which results in the high voltage output.

Uses Of Mini Tesla Coil

Although there aren’t many practical applications of a Tesla coil these days, we see it in many industries because of the simplicity of their operation to generate high voltage. Despite being replaced by modern technology in wireless telegraphy, radio transmitters, television, etc., they are still used in many sector.

 Tesla coils are widely used in the oil and gas industries, construction industries, etc., they still initiate fuel combustion in vehicles as spark plugs. They are also used to detect gas leaks.

Are Mini Tesla Coils Dangerous?

The AC voltage produced by  Tesla coil doesn’t conduct through our bodies because of its high frequency. No pain is felt, but it can lead to severe nerve and tissue damage if you get in direct contact with the arcs. So, they are a dangerous apparatus  and all precautions must be considered while building and using them subsequently.

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