The Tesla Coil is used to produce fantastic
high voltage long sparking displays. It takes the output from
a 120vAC to a several kilovolt transformer and driver circuit
and steps it up to an extremely high voltage. Voltages can get
to be well above 1,000,000 volts and are discharged in the form
of electrical arcs. Tesla coils are unique in the fact that they
create extremely powerful electrical fields. Large coils have
been known to wirelessly light up florescent lights up to 50 feet
away, and because of the fact that it is an electric field that
goes directly into the light and doesn't use the electrodes, even
burnt-out florescent lights will glow. To learn more about Tesla
Coils check out the resources in our Links
UCSC Tesla Coil Outreach Program has a Model S-5 Tesla Coil system that is a high efficiency Tesla Coil capable of producing electrical arcs greater than 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length. Model S-5 is unique in that it requires less than 2.4kW of input power at maximum output. The Tesla Coil that we have was built by UCSC student who started building them at the age of 12.
As with most high-voltage electrical equipment, safety precautions
must be taken to ensure safe usage of this device. All users
of this apparatus must be familiar with high voltage electrical
safety. Be sure to read all safety information
if considering having a tesla coil demonstration at your school.
This information is intended to supplement your own prior knowledge
of high-voltage electrical safety, and does not in itself contain
all information necessary to ensure safe operation.
Despite the frightening appearance of the arcs emitted from Model S-5, in many ways they are actually the safest form of electricity associated with the Tesla Coil system. If wired properly, the main output from smaller Tesla Coils poses little danger to a healthy person. If an arc directly strikes the skin, it gives a somewhat painful shock, as well as a small burn, but poses very little risk of permanent injury. There are a number of possible demonstrations that the UCSC staff will perform.
If you have any questions about any safety
issues, scheduling a demonstration, or any other topics
regarding the UCSC Tesla Coil, please contact