So, you want to build your own Tesla Coil?
Updated 10/28/16

Pseudoscience Note:
Nikola Tesla's works seem to draw a disproportionate share of inaccuracy and speculation. Tesla's magnificent engineering achievements stand on their own merit without any need to invoke fringe and pseudoscience. On this site you won't find any discussion or reference to Tesla creating Free Energy, the Philadelphia Experiment, Tunguska Explosion, Scalar Weapons, Pyramid Power, Ley Lines, etc. The following references (and all areas of this site for that matter) are factual, not mythical.
Reality is MUCH more interesting than pseudoscience, science fiction, and fantasy...

 Your Host - Bert Hickman

There are few actual plans for building Tesla Coils on the Web or in the literature, since there is great flexibility in the designs and in the materials used to build them. Instead, most coilers study the theory and review web sites of other coilers. Recently
a number of excellent (and quite accurate) computer design aids have become available. There are two excellent moderated Tesla Coil and High Voltage sites where questions are answered and new design techniques are shared. Each list has searchable archives. Following are some suggested printed and Web-based resources to get you started. Good luck in your quest for knowledge, and on your Tesla Coil should you decide to build your own! Because there are significant dangers associated with building and operating Tesla Coils, your very FIRST stop should be the Safety Page...
  Nikola Tesla Patents and History
 Tesla Coil Theory and Construction
 Other good High Voltage Theory/Reference books
 Where can I buy these books?

Web Based Sources:
  Where to Begin
  Hobbyist Sites
  Solid State Tesla Coils
  Vacuum Tube Tesla Coils

  Parts (High Voltage and Tesla Coil)
   Professional/Large Coiling Sites
  Accurate Tesla Information and Notable Museums


Books About Nikola Tesla, Patents, and History:
Nikola Tesla
Published by the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Yugoslavia 1978. Tesla's research diary, written while at Colorado Springs in 1899-1900. Contains outstanding photos and information dealing with lightning, energy transmission experiments and the Pikes Peak laboratory in Tesla's own words. Covers important details of Tesla's experimental work.  Hard cover 440 pp. ~$40.00
Excellent Reading!  A copy of Tesla's actual lab books, written in Tesla's own style.  Richard Hull's book (below) is invaluable to help decipher some of the meanings and concepts - be sure to get it as well!

Richard Hull
This is an historical guide for the student of Tesla's resonant systems. A day by day annotation of what Tesla did in 1899 at Colorado Springs and how it bears in modern Tesla coil theory and construction. Designed to be read in conjunction with Colorado Springs Notes, it includes advice for the Tesla coil builder/ technician based on modern experiences and techniques. 1994 8 1/2" x 11", 143pp ~$27.50
Avid researcher and experimenter Richard Hull “deciphers” and expands upon Tesla's writings using the benefit of modern day knowledge and a decade of experimental experience. Superbly written by a true experimentalist and researcher!

Nikola Tesla
First printed in 1904. The reprint includes pictures and a biographical sketch of Tesla. A lecture delivered before the Institute of Electrical Engineers, London, with an appendix on “The Transmission of Energy Without Wires”. Soft cover, 176pp. ~$10.00
While the original is still available in the used book market (but quite expensive!), the Lindsay reprint is often available at local Hamfests at very affordable prices. Excellent reading at a reasonable price!

Leland Anderson
Tesla describes the methods and apparatus he employed in his laboratories in New York City, Colorado Springs, and on Long Island, New York. He also depicts the "magnifying Transmitter" and the Wardenclyffe Tower. This book will greatly interest experimenters and engineers. An expanded edition is now available, ISBN 1893817016, Published 2002, soft cover, 240pp., 106 Illustrations ~$27.00
Written by the world's most accurate and knowledgeable Tesla historian. Excellent reading! 

Thomas Commerford Martin
This is a modern reprint of a volume containing all of Tesla's early lectures, miscellaneous articles, discussions, and inventions through the year 1894. First published during Tesla's life, and with Tesla's consent and assistance. Contains dozens of drawings and diagrams. Hard cover, 496pp. $14.00
This is one of the better technical books covering details of Tesla's early equipment and techniques. Written by a contemporary and master EE, it covers polyphase AC power, AC motors, and transformers. It also traces the evolution that Tesla followed from iron core induction coils to high frequency air-core resonant transformers, high frequency alternators, plasma experiments, and lighting work. For Tesla's later works, see “Colorado Springs Notes” above, which cover 2-coil (classic) and 3-coil (magnifier) systems. This book can often be found in the used book or remainders market ($8.00). A truly great read!

Jim Glenn
Soft Cover, 521 pages, available directly from Barnes and Noble for $14.95 or less
This reprint of all of Tesla's US Patents is available in retail stores and via mail order from Barnes and Noble at an incredibly low price. This huge, large format book is a treasure that all serious Tesla researches need!

Marc Seifer
This is one of the more recent and largest of the Tesla biographies produced to date. The author gives a wonderful overview of the social setting in which Tesla lived and of his contemporaries. The book will provide the reader an excellent sense of the breadth of Tesla's achievements. 542 pages, illustrated, references, indexed.
More factual than many of the other biographies, written by an acknowledged Tesla expert. This book is an extremely well researched biography. It is also recommended by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Tesla Coil Theory and Construction

DRSSTC : Building the Modern Day Tesla Coil
 Daniel McCauley
This self-published text provides both the electrical and mechanical design of several DRSSTC systems capable of producing output arcs up to 7ft in length using only solid state components. Information is presented as electrical schematics, mechanical drawings, parts lists with complete vendor information, PSPICE simulations, experimental test data, test and operational procedures, and over 200 photographs, drawings, and charts. 2006, Lulu Publishing, 239 Pages, ISBN 978-1411695269
Modern, technically accurate book covering theory and practical construction of modern Dual Resonant Solid State Tesla Coils (DRSSTC's). Good tutorial for folks wanting to build their own solid-state Tesla Coils. Fairly technical but very readable. Somewhat dated, but only because progress in DRSSTC's has been continuing at such a rapid pace.

Duane Bylund
The author shares excellent information and his own experimentation in this 129 page book. His research includes: RLC circuits, transmission lines, the Tesla coil secondary, capacitive discharge, vacuum tube, and solid-state Tesla coils. 1991, 8 1/2" x 11", 129pp $19.95. Still available through Twenty-First Century Books.
Technically fairly accurate, especially for what was known about Tesla Coils in 1991. This is an excellent “hands on” builder's guide, covering general theory of operation and construction. Written in clear, understandable language.

THE TESLA COIL BOOK - How they work and how they are built
Brent Turner
Self published by the author, a practical Tesla Coil builder and experimenter. Discusses practical Tesla Coil design and theory. 1996, 188 pages, Amazon ASIN: B0006QV0NO
This is an excellent self-published book covering the theory, design, construction, and operation primarily of spark gap and vacuum tube Tesla coils. Also has some discussion of early solid state coils. Still available from the author - contact him at  gently_warped@yahoo.com

Mitch Tilbury
The author shares a host of practical Tesla Coil design approaches and electrical theory in this 480 page book. McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0071497374,  ~$22.00
This is a hands-on builder's guide with design aids and spreadsheets. It also covers general theory of operation and construction. Clearly written, for the amateur and experienced coiler alike.

Henry L. Transtrom
A reprint of the 1921 edition of a “how-to” book on building high voltage equipment and performing experiments, with discussions of Tesla, Fessenden, and others of the time. Also, contains photos of unusual experiments. Lindsay Reprint, 1921, 247pp. Available from Lindsay’s Technical Reprints, $11.95, at http://www.lindsaybks.com/
Written by an Electrical engineer and an avid showman, Henry Transtrom was electrocuted while performing a demonstration before an audience! Although dated, the designs can be used as a possible starting point for Tesla Coil building. 

Harry Goldman, Publisher
Although this quarterly newsletter is no longer being published, back issues can be searched and read on-line at Cameron Prince's TeslaUniverse Site.

Other Great High Voltage Theory/Reference books
Pulse Generators
G. Norris Glasoe, Jean V. Lebacqz, McGraw-Hill (1948), Boston Technical Publishers reprint (1965)
A pulsed power classic. Volume 5 from the 28 volume MIT Radiation Laboratory Series (which covered the current state of RADAR knowledge as of the late 1940's). It contains many sections useful to advanced Tesla Coilers and researchers, including fixed and rotary spark gaps, thyratrons, capacitor charging systems, and pulse transformer theory and design.
Out of print, but available through the used book market and library system inter-loan program.

High Speed Pulse Technology: Capacitor Discharges, Magnetohydrodynamics, X-Rays, Ultrasonics
Frank Frungle/Freungle, Academic Press (1965)
Volume 1 of a four volume set. One of the best books written about the use of high voltage capacitors in various pulsed power applications. Extensive bibliography.
Volume 3 (Capacitor Engineering) is also an excellent resource. Out of print, but available through the used book market and library system inter-loan program.

Gas Discharge Closing Switches (Advances in Pulsed Power Technology, Volume 2)
Gerhard Schaefer, Plenum Press (1991), ISBN 0306436191
Comprehensive, modern work covering static, triggered, and rotary spark gaps, thyratrons, ignitrons, vacuum switches, etc. Useful for serious high power Tesla Coil and pulsed power researchers.

High Voltage Engineering Fundamentals
E. Kuffel, W. S. Zaengl, Pergamon Press (1984), ISBN 008024212X 
Very readable and practical title that deals with various aspects of high voltage design, dielectric theory, electrical fields, electrical breakdown processes, etc. Very useful to Tesla Coil designers who want a better understanding of high voltage design techniques.

High Voltage Engineering
M. S. Naidu, V. Kamaraju, McGraw-Hill (1999), ISBN 0071361081
Another readable and practical text covering various aspects of high voltage design, dielectric theory, electrical fields, electrical breakdown processes, etc. Very useful to Tesla Coil designers who want a better understanding of high voltage design techniques.

Some of these books can be found at the following sources:
Twenty First Century Books
Note: the 2nd URL points to over 40 hard to find articles written by Tesla - check them out!
Note: the Proprietor, Gary Peterson, is a true Tesla fan and supporter. Gary is working to restore the Wardenclyffe property in Long Island, NY: The Tesla Wardenclyffe Project. For more see: http://www.teslascience.org/
Amazon Books
Addall NEW Book search engine - find the lowest price for new books http://www.addall.com
Addall Used and Out of Print book search engine - one of the best! http://www.addall.com/used
BookFinder.com:  New & Out of Print Books http://www.bookfinder.com/
Free Book Notes and Study Guides

Web-Based Sources:

Where to begin - excellent beginners sites, lists, papers

Tesla Builders Mailing List & archives (THE Premier Tesla Coil Builder's Mailing List - sign up!)  http://www.pupman.com/
Tesla Coil Web Ring - see how other Tesla coilers designed their systems
Deep Fried Neon (UK Site) - a UK beginners site. See the Tesla Coil Design Guide Deep Fried Neon
TeslaMap - excellent beginner's Tesla Coil construction information and an easy to use design tool from Kevin Wilson.
TeslaMap Tesla Coil Design Tool
The Tesla Coil Design, Construction, and Operation Guide from Kevin Wilson Tesla Design Guide
Dan McCauley's paper about how to design a medium sized spark gap coil, "Designing Your Tesla Coil". Used with permission from Dan (220kB pdf file)
Designing Your Tesla Coil
All 78 issues of Harry Goldman's "Tesla Coil Builders Association Newsletter", scanned and now available ONLINE thanks to Cameron Prince
All TCBA Issues

Excellent Tesla Coil and High Voltage Hobbyist Sites:

Bart Anderson's site - home of JAVATC and FANTC programs - the most accurate tools available for Tesla Coil builders. Also, Tesla's Patents, Basics, and much more!
Classic Tesla Site
Dr. A. de Queiroz’s GREAT Electrostatics and HV Site http://www.coe.ufrj.br/~acmq/electrostatic.html
Gary Lau's Theory & Practical Site http://www.laushaus.com/tesla/
Jim Lux's High Voltage Experimenter's Handbook http://home.earthlink.net/~jimlux/hv/hvmain.htm
Kevin Eldridge's BIGG Coil - 20+ foot Sparks!
Richie Burnett’s Tesla Theory Site (One of the best for TC theory/operation!)
Ross Overstreet's HV site; TC's and EM Shrinking http://www.hot-streamer.com/ross/
Terry Fritz’s Excellent TC Theory & Practice Site (Terry previously moderated the Pupman Tesla Coil Builders Site)
Tesla 3-Coil Magnifier Theory (the recently solved formal mathematical solution!) http://www.coe.ufrj.br/~acmq/tesla/magnifier.html
Tesla Secondary Simulation Project  -  Note: heavy theory and math - the leading edge of TC theory http://abelian.org/tssp/
Bill Beaty’s Amateur Science Site - Bill's Tesla Coil Page
4HV Community List - More advanced HV, Tesla Coils, Rail Guns and more. DO NOT ask for detailed plans on this site...
Terry Blake's Site - Rochester and Cheesehead Teslathon pictures and DVD's. Also,  many of Terry's own innovative coils. Also, the home of the daring Dr. Zeus!

Solid State Tesla Coils and Drivers (SSTC):

Alan Sharp’s great site (UK), also covers UK Teslathons!
Eastern Voltage Research. Get Dan McCauley's definitive book on Solid State Coil Design!
LoneOceans Solid State Coils and Kits (and more...)
Steve Ward's IGBT DRSSTC - 11+ foot streamers !
Don Klipstein’s Solid State Coils Site http://www.misty.com/~don/sst.html
Richie Burnett's Site - Solid State section (UK) - Excellent!

Vacuum Tube Tesla Coils (VTTC):

Steve Ward's VTTC's (Dual 811A, 833A, etc.)
Steve Ward's VTTC FAQ http://www.stevehv.4hv.org/VTTCfaq.htm
Chip Atkinson's Site - see Tube Coils Section http://www.pupman.com
Ross Overstreet's old VTTC (and lots more!) http://www.capturedlightning.org/hot-streamer/ross/index.htm

Tesla Coil Parts Sources and Services:

Tesla Stuff - THE eBay store for hard to find "stuff" for Tesla Coil Builders
Metal Spinning (spheres, hemispheres, toroids)
Very large aluminum spun toroids - O. W. Landergren, Inc.
Magnet wire - BEA Wire
Magnet wire - Accurate Wire and Insulation, Inc (Aurora, IL, 630-898-9473, tell them Bert Hickman sent you!)
Magnet wire - MWS Wire Industries
Litz Wire (high power SSTC's, VTTC's or induction heating)
Magnet Wire - Express Wire Services, Inc.
Online Machining Service - eMachineShop http://www.emachineshop.com/
Copper spheres for spark gaps - New England Copper Works

Professional and Museum Coils:

Boston’s Theater of Electricity http://www.mos.org/sln/toe/toe.html
Greg Leyh’s Electrum, the world’s biggest 2-Coil System! http://www.lod.org/
Applied Tesla Technology (formerly kVA Effects) - Premiere Tesla/HV Special Effects http://www.teslacoil.com/

Accurate Information about Tesla, early electrical power, etc.:

Nikola Tesla – Erased at the Smithsonian! http://www.ntesla.org
Nikola Tesla Complete US Patents (PDF format) thanks to Bart Anderson - see Patents.pdf for index and descriptions
The Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade http://www.yurope.com/org/tesla/muzeje.htm
Tesla, Master of Lightning (PBS) - An Excellent Educational Site!  http://www.pbs.org/tesla/
Niagara Falls - History of Power http://www.niagarafrontier.com/power.html
The Turn Of The Century Electrotherapy Museum - lots of old medical equipment, books, historical information, etc. - A great site by Jeff Behary
Deutsches Museum - Electrical Power and High Voltage Exhibit http://www.deutsches-museum.de/en/exhibitions/materials-energy/electric-power/
Historical Tesla Articles (thanks to Gary Peterson of Twenty First Century Books for making these articles available on-line!) http://www.tfcbooks.com/tesla/contents.htm
Tesla Universe - Cameron Prince's excellent site about Nikola Tesla http://www.teslauniverse.com/
Scalar Weapons, Tunguska, Philadelphia Experiment, Pyramid Power, Ley Lines, etc.
Pseudoscience Reminder...

Some Other Places to Go:

Tesla Information Center
Tesla Coil
10"Tesla Coil Page
Shrunken Coins for Sale Lichtenbergs for Sale
Tesla Info Center
"Quarter Shrinker"
10" Tesla Coil
Get Shrunken Coins!
Get a Lichtenberg!

Back to Stoneridge Engineering LLC Home

Copyright 1999-2016 - all rights reserved.  No portion of this web site may be reproduced without consent from the author.