Solid-State Tesla Coil

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Most Tesla coils designed for educational and experimental purposes use line-operated, step-up transformer-in setups like that shown in Fig. 1 -to generate the high voltage needed for the coil`s primary circuit. While there`s nothing technically wrong with that approach, it can place the operator in harm`s way if the coil`s primary circuit is accidentally touched.

Solid-State Tesla Coil
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CAREFUL! A shock from the high-voltage winding could prove extremely dangerous and may be fatal! Our version, the "Solid State Tesla Coil" (see photos), eliminates the line-operated, high-voltage transformer, making it a safer project to build and to experiment with. Even so, wise operators will keep their digits out of the wiring while the coil is under power. The schematic diagram for the Solid-State Tesla Coil is shown in Fig. 2. In that updated version of the Tesla experiment, an 18-volt, 2-ampere transformer (T1), a bridge rectifier circuit (consisting of D1-D4), and filter capacitors (C1and C3) supply operating power for the coil circuitry. A 555 timer/oscillator (U1) is configure as a self-oscillating pulse-generator circuit. Resistors R1 and R2 make up a voltage-divider network, which is used to lower the 24-volt DC output of the power supply to a safe operating level for U1. The 555`s narrow output pulse at pin 3 supplies drive current to the base of Q1. Transistor Q2 supplies sufficient current to transistors Q3 and Q4 to drive those components into full saturation. The primary winding of T2 (an automobile ignition coil) is connected in series with Q3 and Q4, and across the power supply. Transistors Q3 and Q4 operate like a toggle switch, connecting the coil across the power source at the rate and on-time set by U1. That high-current pulse generates a rising and collapsing field across the primary winding of T2....

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