Small Spark Gap Tesla Coil

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This was my first stab at building a Tesla coil from scratch. For starters, I preferred to start with a transformer from 1KV to 4KV. I used an old bug zapper transformer rated for about 1KV to 2KV. Below is the schematic diagram of the Tesla coil.

Since this was my first one, it was not built fancy and neatly at first. I built this one in less than 5 hours. I used the parts I had available. It generates 1 to 2 inch long discharges. You also can create a plasma globe using either a regular incandescent light bulb with purple plasma from the argon gas used or a neon-filled bulb for bright orange plasma.

Primary: 2 turns of 16AWG wire
Secondary: About 520 turns, 12 inches in length from top to bottom, 24AWG magnet wire
Spark Gap: 2mm gap from 2 pieces of metal
Capacitor: 6500pF 4200v
Input: 1-2KV

Close-up of spark gap

Spark gap in operation


1-inch discharges to the air


2-inch arcs to a screwdriver.

Plasma globe from an incandescent light bulb.

The final version was enclosed in a small metal case.

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