Cambridge 2001 UK Teslathon


Museum of Technology




Saturday 27th October 2001


17:00 onwards


Report by Mark Hales...

Bob Golding does it again...

...Cambridge 2001 Teslathon saw a mix of 6 Tesla coils, 2 sstc, 2 marx banks, multiple lasers (including multi-watt devices), Whimshurst generator and various other devices of dubious origins/nature.

A few teething problems with the power feed didn't deter anyone in the least, and after it was sorted, some serious streamers were to be had.

Richie Burnett pleased the crowd with 18 inch, thrumming swordlike flames from his 3kW (That's right!) SSTC. Martin Fuller brought possibly the most stunning Cockroft Walton/Marx bank generator I've ever seen. With home-made rolled poly caps and intricate metalwork, it's a device that even if it didn't work (which it did all too well... ear defenders a must), wouldn't disgrace a home as an ornament. Mike Harrison had another nice marx and his lasers... Think the military might be interested in this man soon.. :o) As always, Mike Tucknott and Bob Goldings coils stole the Tesla show, the variable rotary gaps making them howl up and down like banshees. Henry Hallam and friends represented the teenage fraternity, with 3 coils and other devices. But the show stopper was Mike Ts Farady cage, with several people getting in for a scarey session. And Mr Faraday was right, I took in a digi camera with absolutely no glitches whatsoever.

A great gig... Cheers Bob and all that came along to put on the show. Roll on 2002...

A CD will be available with multiple MPEGs/AVIs, pix from this gig and the trip to the National Grid HV lab at Leatherhead a few weeks back. Also included will be the NG student coil 12 meg document complete with theory and maths... Heavy going and not a how to, but lots of solid info that you'd expect from a students research.

The CD will not be free this time, I'm afraid, but if you want one, 3 / $5 will get you one by return post.

Cheers for now.... Mark H.


Here are a few pictures from the video I shot on Saturday night...

Bob Golding's coil arcing to a grounded metal pole.

The same coil discharging into the air.

A close-up of the sparks emanating from the top toroid.

This coil was powered by a Radar Transformer and was demonstrated with a variable speed rotary spark gap.

Three pictures of Mike Tucknott and Brian Le Page's big coil.

This coil was powered by an 11kV distribution transformer, and was demonstrated with both fixed speed and variable speed rotaries.

There were frequent long sparks to the light fittings, and even up to the metal roof above.

Mike Tucknott's coil was used to direct huge arcs at a Faraday Cage.

Mark Hales is the brave occupant of the cage in this photo.

I look forward to seeing the picture taken from inside the cage !

Mike Harrison's mini Marx bank.

The Marx bank was charged using an old TV flyback transformer.

This picture shows the spark piercing a plastic bottle to reach a grounded metal rod.

Martin Fuller's Marx bank.

This Mark bank consisted of 12 home-made HV capacitors. The capacitors and spark gaps were held together by a beautifully engineered structure, and it performed very well.

The pictures above were taken from video just before and just after it fired. The massive energy of the discharge is evident from the brilliant flash. Hearing protection was essential.

The bottom picture shows a CD getting the Marx treatment !

Martin Fuller's Tesla Coil.

This miniature coil performed well, lighting a lamp on top of the toroid whilst arcing to a nearby grounded rod.

Henry Hallam making some adjustments to one of the smaller coils on display.

Mike Harrison's 1 Watt Krypton laser.

This laser was run from a 200 volt, 30 amp power supply and produced an incredibly intense red beam of light.

The laser tube is at the right of the picture, complete with DC supply and water cooling !

This photograph shows the beam of light leaving the laser.

The beam was intense enough to be seen clearly in the night air, without needing to introduce any artificial smoke !

Mike Tucknott's big Jacob's Ladder.

I have never seen a Jacob's Ladder as big and as noisy as this.

It was powered by an 11kV distribution transformer and produced thick electrical flames which climbed between the angled copper tubes.

The sound was also terrific. Definitely the stuff of horror movies.

(Thanks to Mark Hales for this photograph.)

These pictures show my Solid State Tesla Coil, when I eventually got it working.

Sparks were roughly 15 inches in length and very straight in appearance. Peak power was 3200 watts from the 6" x 4" driver board pictured above.

Runs had to be kept quite short due to heating in the electronics, although it was finally used to cremate an old PC motherboard.

The motherboard had smoke and a ghostly white flame rising from the centre, but the long run eventually sent the TC driver on its way too !

This picture shows Bernie Wright's resonator being driven by my electronics.

Spark performance was similar to my coil, suggesting that there is a fair degree of flexibility in the choice of resonator.

I got a lot of good ideas from Bernie and am now motivated to build a bigger and more reliable Solid State Coil.



(Thanks to Mark Hales for this photograph.)


There were a lot of things going on this year, and these are just a few pictures I managed to catch on video. My apologies to anyone who is not represented here.

All thanks go to Bob Golding for organising another safe and enjoyable event.



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