Singing tesla coils

Tesla coils and other high voltage equipment that make sparks are always interesting. For that reason ArcAttack is an interesting performance art group that specializes in playing music through a combination of home made, high tech instruments, and more traditional instruments. The main attraction of their performance is the use of two custom built Singing Tesla Coils, which have been modified to play musical notes by modulating their spark output.Their web site has some interesting videos.

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  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Army Creates a Directed Lightning Bolt Weapon

    “Army researchers at Picatinny Labs in New Jersey have developed a prototype weapon which uses a directed lightning bolt to destroy vehicles and unexploded ordinance.”

    Picatinny engineers set phasers to ‘fry’

    Scientists and engineers at Picatinny Arsenal are busy developing a device that will shoot lightning bolts down laser beams to destroy its target. Soldiers and science fiction fans, you’re welcome.

    “We never got tired of the lightning bolts zapping our simulated (targets),” said George Fischer, lead scientist on the project.

    The Laser-Induced Plasma Channel, or LIPC, is designed to take out targets that conduct electricity better than the air or ground that surrounds them.

    “If a laser beam is intense enough, its electro-magnetic field is strong enough to rip electrons off of air molecules, creating plasma,” said Fischer. “This plasma is located along the path of the laser beam, so we can direct it wherever we want by moving a mirror.”

    “The plasma channel conducts electricity way better than un-ionized air, so if we set up the laser so that the filament comes near a high voltage source, the electrical energy will travel down the filament,” Fischer elaborated.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Modulator box connects iPod to Tesla coil

    This pass through audio modulator lets you playback stereo audio on two Tesla coils. But don’t fret, you can just use mono files if you only have one coil on hand.

    Stereo Audio Modulator for my SSTC’s

    What this device basically does is compare the audio signal with a reference voltage (8mV). It turns the teslacoil on if the signal is higher than the reference and off when it gets lower. This effectively ruins the sound and provides a very crude (but effective) way of modulation. Only the lowest notes in a signal will display correctly.

    It has an input band pass filter wich only passes all frequencies from 20Hz to 20Khz, which automatically limits the duty cycle to 50%.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Massive Tesla Coil Plays Music in the Snow

    One of our tipsters stumbled across a pretty impressive video of a giant Tesla coil playing music — in a snowy forest! The forum showing off the video is in Finnish but Google Translate does a pretty good job getting the point across.

    This massive Tesla coil dubbed the BiggerDR was built by [Kizmo], who lives way up north in Finland.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It’s not a Maker Faire unless there’s fire

    Normally, if you walk through a crowd of people 9 out of 10 would be able to tell you who Edison was and 1 (if you were lucky) would know who Tesla was. Not so at a World Maker Faire.

    At this year’s event, start-up oneTesla showed off its commercially available audio Tesla coil kit series, ranging from $25 to $400, with the top line coils able to light florescent blubs a few feet away, shoot sparks at 20 inches long, and play full spectrum audio.

    OneTesla just started its third Kickstarter round to fill out the line of “shockingly” cool coils.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tesla Coil Dubstep: Badinerie on oneTesla

    Build your own DIY musical Tesla coil like this one at

    A dubstep remix of Bach’s Baniderie, generously provided by Ringtones for iPhone Ltd.

    The kit featured in this video is the original oneTesla Musical Tesla Coil Kit, which has been discontinued in favor of the new and improved oneTeslaTS!

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bare-bones Musical Tesla Coil is Tiny and Tinny

    We’ve seen musical Tesla coils aplenty on these pages before, and we’ll be the first to point out that [Kedar Nimbalkar]’s musical high-voltage rig doesn’t quite qualify as a Tesla coil. But it’s dirt cheap, and might make a pretty cool rainy-afternoon-with-the-kids project.

    Chances are good you have the parts needed for this build lying around the house. All that’s needed is an audio power amplifier and a high-voltage source. [Kedar] used a Class D amp board and a 3V to 7kV high-voltage module sourced from eBay for a couple of bucks;

    DIY Mini Singing Musical Tesla Coil Music Box for 5$ !

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Singing Arc Lighter

    We’ve all been guilty of buying things we want, but don’t need. And that’s how [PodeCoet] found himself in possession of a couple of double-arc electric lighters, thanks to those far-eastern websites purveying cheap goods. ‘Tis the season of giving after all, justified [PodeCoet]. Being a hacker, the obvious thing to do was to make them belt out tinny tunes. If you’re still holding on to your gas lighters, don’t — because these electric ones are ‘oh so hackable’. Dual-arcs are the same, but twice the fun.

    Modulated Arc Lighter
    (AKA “We are Number One – But on a Lighter”)

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    That Sucks! Death of a Tesla Coil

    [Electroboom] always has some entertaining videos. He recently tried to run his Tesla coil in a vacuum. The video shows some interesting results, along with his usual bleeped out expletives as he drills into his hand and suffers other indignities in the name of electronics.

    Arcs change shape in my vacuum! RIP Tesla Coil :(

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Little eBay Tesla Coil Gets an Upgrade

    Like so many of the projects we feature, this one started with a cheap eBay module purchase. In this case, it was a little Tesla coil that made decent sized arcs but wasn’t quite good enough. The result was a super-sized solid state Tesla coil with better results and room to grow.

    As [GreatScott!] discovered, the little eBay Tesla coil has a pretty neat design. The exciter is a Slayer circuit, a super simple one-transistor design. His reverse engineering revealed that the primary coil is simply a loop trace on the PCB under the secondary coil.

    Make your own Tesla Coil (Part 1) || Slayer Exciter Circuit

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tesla Coil uses Vintage Tube

    We’ve seen a fair amount of Tesla coil builds, but ones using vacuum tubes are few and far between. Maybe it’s the lack of availability of high power tubes, or a lack of experience working with them among the younger crop of hackers. [Radu Motisan] built a vacuum tube Tesla coil several years back, and only just managed to tip us off recently. Considering it was his first rodeo with vacuum tubes, he seems to have done pretty well — not only did he get good results, he also managed to learn a lot in the process.

    His design is based around a GI-30 medium power dual tetrode. The circuit is a classical Armstrong oscillator with very few parts and ought to be easy to build if you can lay your hands on the tricky parts.

    The use of a 20W fluorescent tubelight ballast to limit the inrush current is a pretty nice idea to prevent nuisance tripping of the breakers

    this circuit has lethal high voltages in addition to the obvious ones, since it operates directly from 220 V utility supply.


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