Ok, I have been compiling all the sources of Tesla coil info I have: (updated Jan 10, 1995)
Sources for Books and Computer Programs on Theory and Design:
Tesla Book Company P.O. Box 121873 Chula Vista, CA 91912 800-398-2056
Lots of titles+IBM compatible software mixed with a bunch of fringe science stuff. I list some of the serious titles below…
International Tesla Society, Inc. P.O. Box 5636 Colorado Springs, CO 80931 719-475-0918 voice 719-475-0582 fax
Lots of overlap with the Tesla Book Co.. I bought my books from here originally. They also have a museum and a yearly conference dealing with all subjects dealing with Tesla. Sell video tapes from the International Tesla Symposium. Of note: look for tapes from the Corum brothers and From Bill Wystock these are the real thing, not the "fringe" stuff. Also look for new books/tapes on the TESLA MAGNIFIER. This this the 3 coil version of the tesla coil (primary, secondary(resonant or nonresonant), magnifier ( resonant)) which tesla experimented with at Colorado Springs. It is more efficent than an ordinary 2 coil system because priamry-secondary coupling can be much tighter.
Lindsay's Technical Books Lindsay Publications, INC PO Box 538, Bradley IL 60915 815-935-5353
Really cool catalog on all sorts of bizzare techie stuff-you should get a catalog just for the entertainment value! Anyway, much of the Tesla stuff is reprints or compilations of old material which is not generally availible at most libraries. Interesting stuff but perhaps not as useful as the newer books. They now have the books by Robert Iannini and Gordon McComb (see below). They have Tesla Coil design software by Walt Noon (I haven't personally seen it although Rickard Quick says he helped Walt develop it) and a couple of small books on building coils. Also, you can get Tesla's "Lectures, Patents, and Researches"…
Recent update here: Lindsay now has the "Tesla Coil Builder's Guide to the Colorado Springs Notes" by Richard Hull of the Tesla Coil Builders of Richmond(Va) (TCBOR). For those unfamiliar with the CSN, they were Telsa's notes of expreiments done during his stay at Colorado Springs. HE developed many of his ideas on MAGNIFIER design there. The CSN are not particularly useful to the hobbiest so Hull wrote some notes which clarify many points of detail. He back up many of his statements with results of impressive work done by the TCBOR. Many of the TCBOR's are shown in excellent photographs of thier standard coil and many different magnifier designs. A MUST HAVE book! About $20.
John H. Couture 10823 New Salem Point San Diego, CA 92126
Computer Design Program and Manuals for tesla coils. I don't have the program, so I can't comment on it. More on the book below.
Other Sources of Information: Tesla Coil Builder's Association Harry Goldman 3 Amy Lane Queensbury, NY 12804 518-792-1003 TCBA publishes a newsletter 4x a year @$24/year. Information on theory, design, and construction of tesla coils. Also has trade/sale section for those hard to find parts: high voltage transformers and capacitors. There are ocasional updates from Tesla Coil Builders Clubs like the one in Virginia (TCBOR) which is doing some fantastic work on Tesla's "extra" coil/ magnifier system. * Books and Articles generally available: *BUILD YOUR OWN LASER, PHASER, ION RAY GUN & Other working Space age Projects by Robert E. Iannini Sounds goofy, but there a lot of interesting and workable designs here. One chapter on a neon sign transformer based tesla coil. ~250,000volts. Also includes other high voltage projects like a Cockroft-Walton type voltage multipier and high energy capacitor systems for exploding wires and the like. In case you don't recognize the author, he's the same guy who runs INFORMATION UNLIMITED. They advertise in Radio Electronics/ Electronics Now and have kits for many of the projects given in this book. My latest address for Information Unlimited is: Dept RES14, Box 716, Amherst, NH 03031 Ph#:603-673-4730 FAX:603-672-5406 *GADGETEER's GOLDMINE by Gordon McComb. Similar to above. Lots of parts sources listed. Also has a chapter on building your own PLASMA GLOBE and one on Van De Graff generators and other high voltage projects. Includes many sources for parts- but the list is somewhat outdated. *RADIO ELECTRONICS- SEPTEMBER 1991 Issue has a construction project for a soild state tesla coil by Duane A. Bylund. ~ 100,000volt system. This system illustrates the direct drive type of Tesla coil ( like Tesla's extra coil system). He also used to supply kits. ————————————————————————- *INTERNET-freebies Check out anon ftp to ftp.ee.ualberta.ca (circuit cookbook directory) There is a nice small book by Harry Suomalainen called TESLA COIL THEORY AND APPLICATIONS - it's in POSTSCRIPT. It covers standard spark gap driven coils as well as direct drive soild state coil systems. ————————————————————————– You will also want to check out the internet (ftp) site at: >ftp.funet.fi go to the directory pub/sci/electronics/tesla There is some general literature as well as GIF's of Coils and some programs for computing tesla coil parameters (Have not tried them). This place is rather busy and allow only 80 anon ftps, so I suggest trying at 5:00-7:00pm EDT. This apparently has a few tesla coil desing programs plus (more imporatntly in my opinion) text files of Richard Quick's Experiments and designs. There is also a huge (~1Mb) text file of the last few years of discussion of tesla coil desing and theory from the tesla@grendel list mentioned below. So you didn't have to miss anything good!!! Definitly worth reading but long! ————————————————————————– There are at least two discussion groups running for tesla related stuff: >email@example.com (send an email to get on the distribution list) >firstname.lastname@example.org (send email to get on list) Run by Chip Atkinson By far, this list has the most detailed technical discussions I have seen. These people are constantly sharing information on real designs. They have many tips on obtaining parts or fabricating some elements from scratch. It's a vey busy list, so you'd better have plenty of disk space or a good printer! Richard Quick is probably the most experienced builder on the list - He'll send (so far) a 2hr video of his work for $10 and PPD high quality tape. I'm getting one. ————————————————————————— On the World Wide Web: Try http://www.eskimo.com/~billb and select Tesla Coil Info There are pointers to GIF's, programs, and other goodies. He's also got some other odd ball science stuff in here too. I have been informed that Matt Cavic will also have some interesting info in his home page: ( sorry Matt, but you ain't got much yet) http:/www.inlink.com/users/asimov/home.html ————————————————————————– *A SOLID-STATE LOW-VOLTAGE TESLA COIL DEMONSTRATOR by Donald G. Bruns, American Journal of Physics. #60 (9), Sept. 1992, pg 797 Good on basic theory especially on resonant coupling effects. Suggests some low voltage experiments - useful before you invest big $$$ in a full scale system! Only problem with this treatment is that he treats the secondary coil as a "lumped" circuit. That is, he models the seconday as a small capacitor in series with the secondary inductance. This model is not realistic because it does not treat the tesla secondary coil as a transmission line or normal mode helical antenna. (More below in Kraus & Jackson) Very useful to read if you want to know more about critical coupling between tuned resonant circuits. Lists quite a few references. * ANTENNNAS by J. D. Kraus This book has very little in it which will actually help you build a tesla coil but gives a great expostion on all types of antennas including helical antennas. A tesla coil can be thought of as a poorly radiating helical antenna (Kraus calls it normal mode). This cannot be correctly modeled by a simple "lumped" circuit model since helical resonators have more than one resonant frequency. * REFERENCE DATA FOR RADIO ENGINEERS, 4th ed 1956 pp 682-686 * WIDE FREQUENCY RANGE TUNED HELICAL ANTENNAS AND CIRCUITS, by A.G. Kandoian and W. Sichak, IRE Convention Record (1953) [only large librarys are likely to ahev this one] Have a couple of formulas for computing the resonant frequency of normal mode helical antennas. The formulas do not account for capacitve loading from discharge electrodes or the from the discharge itself so they can only be used as a practical starting point. * FIELD THEORY OF TRAVELLING WAVE TUBES, by J.D. JACKSON Proc IRE 36 No 7, p 853 JUly 1948 Yes, its the same Jackson who has tortured so many physics grad students with his EM book! This work predates the above paper -it is rather involeved but I include it for completeness. It shows how to set up equations for analyzing the helical antenna problem in the context of travelling wave tubes. * One final harping: There are many old and not-so-old books on computing inductances for coils. Among the authors are: F.W. Grover Herbert B. Dwight In their treatments for single layer coils they always introduce the concept of the coil self-capacitance. Presumably you would take the self- capacitance in parallel to the inductance of the coil to compute its resonant frequency. Although their formulas are suspect on theoretical grounds (see above lumped circuit approx), they can be used to approximate resonant frequencies – but only to within an order of magnitude! Depending on the physical dimensions of the coil lenght, dia, winding pitch their self capacitance can vary widely. In turn, computed resonant frequencies will not usually reflect the correct dependencies on these parameters. However, these books are very helpful for computing Primary Coil inducatnces for pancake as well as solinoidal forms. They also give information on skin effect losses as well as the less well known "proximity" effect losses which most people seem to ignore in thier designs Books available from Tesla Book Co. and Intl. Tesla Soc.
*Modern Tesla Coil Theory -Duane A. Bylund Coupled RLC theory-transmission line theory-capacitive discharge coils- transistor and tube driven coils-excellent book (highly recomend) Covers spark gap driven coils, direct drive solid state coils, and has a section on the use of grounding center-poises.
*Modern Resonance Transformer Design Theory -D.C. Cox simple theory-some practical info
*Tesla Coil Design Manual - J.H. Couture lots on design curves bases on compiled experimental data- construction tips- weak on theory- rather inefficient desings compared to the Quick and Hull desings
*Vacuum Tube Tesla Coils -J.F. Corum, K.L. Corum lots of references to literature-explains tesla coil in terms of transmission line theory-also refers to Tesla's experiments at Colorado Springs. Also contains the formula for computing resonant frequencies of the helical antenna. (Highly recommend) Has a large section, of course, on vacuum tube driven coils - their design and theory.
These guys also have a computer design program for IBM type computers
called the TC TUTOR. I don't own a copy, but based on their book, I would guess that these guys know better than most what's phyically important in coil design
*Tesla Coil Secrets - R.A. Ford reprints from old articles-very cheap and interesting-probably not good to base you new design on some of these old projects though…. ***
If you have something to add to this list, send it along. I'm thinking of writing up a sort of TESLA FAQ since there always seems to be interest.