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"LightningStorm" vacuum tube Tesla coil project

Author Post
Avenger
Thu Aug 04 2016, 02:43AM Print View
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
My last VTTC project. This project started one year ago, but only a month ago, the first sparks were obtained.
The objective of the project - to build a powerful vacuum tube Tesla coil on the basis of soviet metal-glass high-power air-cooled tetrode GU-39B-1. This tube is capable to dissipate at the plate power around 6kW. And its output power is 13kW.
It was made the plate and filament transformers. The filament transformer provides 6,6V and 100A. Plate transformer is wound on the base of the output transformer of the high power tube audio amplifier UPV-1,25 (russian УПВ-1,25) used two GU-81M tube in push-pull output stage. Its core is made up of steel plates of thickness 0.35 mm (core sectional area of 49cm^2). It provides voltage 5kV and 2A peak сurrent (nominally 1,5А)
In the power supply used level shifter with eight 1uF 16KV capacitors and homemade diode pack at 50kV and 3a. All ceramic capacitors in circuit - soviet K15U-1 ("doorknob") or K15U-2 type.
The tube installed in a steel cylinder with polyamide insulator at the bottom. Centrifugal fan "bahcivan aorb" (BRDS 180-60, 1200 m³/h) is used to cool the tube. Tube operates in triode.
The secondary winding contains 800 turns of 1mm copper wire on 160x800mm PVC pipe. Epoxy coating. 20x5cm aluminium toroid is installed.
The primary is a 35 turns of 4mm copper wire on 250x500mm PVC pipe. Taps on each turn, starting with the 28th turn. Winding height is 28cm. MMC capacity is 2nF (4x470pf).
Feedback winding has 14 turns of 1.5mm copper wire (taps of the first 5 turns). Located above the primary winding. Grid leak circuit is 200 Ohm and 14nF.
Tesla Coil working in staccato mode. In the cathode circuit installed triac, which is controlled by circuit in 555 timers (based of the staccato cotroller of Steve Ward).
At this moment VTTC gives streamers up to 1.5m length. The length of the streamers is limited to the power of the plate transformer and power mains capability (mains 230V 50Hz, current consumption up to 40A).






















Video here: (work with triac)

And here: (work with thyratron TR1-5/2)
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Mads Barnkob
Thu Aug 04 2016, 06:32AM
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 06:05PM
Location: Denmark, Odense C
Posts: 1909
Wow. You did a great and throurough job on this coil.

Windigns transformers, many bits and pieces home made, I really like it.

The sparks are beautiful, bit of a shame that the loud air cooling ruins the lovely sound of the sparks. CW mode is insane :)

I am wondering if you should try a larger topload to avoid so much near horizontal branching, was in the picture where sparks hit the tube heat connections :)

Would you mind sharing how you incorporated the thyratron tube as modulator?
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Hydron
Thu Aug 04 2016, 12:20PM
Registered Member #30656
Joined: Tue Jul 30 2013, 02:40AM
Location: UK
Posts: 182
Very impressive!

Thanks for sharing the photos/videos of the coil.
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Avenger
Thu Aug 04 2016, 03:32PM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
Thank you! But still a lot of work before the final realization of the project. Here is a photo of thyratron interrupter. It consists of a thyratron, the filament transformer (thyratron requires 5V and 15A), the bias power supply and IRFP450 MOSFET. The value of the negative bias on the grid of thyratron is about 24-30v. Interrupter works from my synchronous staccato controller unit (shown in photo).










Soviet mercury thyratrons TR1-5/2




And the video, where interrupter operates as a dimmer (use mains 230V and 300W bulb load):



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Avenger
Thu Aug 04 2016, 03:36PM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
The circuit of the thyratron interrupter shown in the photo. Negative bias power supply and VTTC generator unit is not shown.



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Patrick
Thu Aug 04 2016, 07:09PM
Registered Member #2431
Joined: Tue Oct 13 2009, 09:47PM
Location: Chico, CA. USA
Posts: 5232
That glowing vacuum tube looks so cool.
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Mads Barnkob
Fri Aug 05 2016, 06:40AM
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 06:05PM
Location: Denmark, Odense C
Posts: 1909
Thank you for all the extra information.

I have for many years, since I built my first VTTC in 2009, had a large QB5/2000 tube (2kW plate dissipation) and recently bought a TGI-700/25 thyratron tube(that however is mismatched with operating the QB5/2000), so your thread here sparked a little on getting on with the planning of that project :)
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Dr. H.
Fri Aug 05 2016, 11:57AM
Registered Member #931
Joined: Mon Jul 30 2007, 05:25PM
Location: Bulgaria
Posts: 485
From a big tube lover - GREAT project

Just a question (not being smart or anything -really asking) - what is the advantage of using a thyratron over the simpler triac-staccato circuit ?

Well we can't argue wit the coolness factor.
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Avenger
Fri Aug 05 2016, 09:18PM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
Dr. H. wrote ...

Just a question (not being smart or anything -really asking) - what is the advantage of using a thyratron over the simpler triac-staccato circuit ?


The advantage of using a thyratron is not found. So now I use TRIAC interrupter.
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Mads Barnkob
Sat Aug 06 2016, 04:40PM
Joined: Tue Mar 18 2008, 06:05PM
Location: Denmark, Odense C
Posts: 1909
Avenger wrote ...

Dr. H. wrote ...

Just a question (not being smart or anything -really asking) - what is the advantage of using a thyratron over the simpler triac-staccato circuit ?


The advantage of using a thyratron is not found. So now I use TRIAC interrupter.


Differences between cathode modulation and anode modulation,
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Sulaiman
Sat Aug 06 2016, 08:09PM
Registered Member #162
Joined: Mon Feb 13 2006, 10:25AM
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2800
jaw-dropping !
fantastic

you must have very considerate (or terrified) neighbours :)
off now to look again,
thanks for sharing.
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Dr. H.
Sun Aug 07 2016, 05:37AM
Registered Member #931
Joined: Mon Jul 30 2007, 05:25PM
Location: Bulgaria
Posts: 485
Hi guys,

Mads - as far as I can see - he is using the thyratron just as a normal triac (both implemented as cathode modulation) or I missed something - this is why I asked.

P.S. I like it more with the thyratron
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Avenger
Sun Aug 07 2016, 04:55PM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
Dr. H. wrote ...

Mads - as far as I can see - he is using the thyratron just as a normal triac (both implemented as cathode modulation) or I missed something - this is why I asked.


Exactly. I use thyratron as a triac (installed in the cathode circuit).

And yes, it looks more cool)
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Avenger
Sat Jul 01 2017, 09:23PM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
Frames of both units are made. Generator unit and power supply unit. Frames are welded from 4mm steel. Both frames are equipped with wheels for comfortable movement.








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teravolt
Mon Jul 03 2017, 03:30AM
Registered Member #195
Joined: Fri Feb 17 2006, 08:27PM
Location: Berkeley, ca.
Posts: 1082
it is great you plan to make it permanent. I also have one GU-39B-1 have you tried modulating the grid? At some point I would like to do this project. However I don't want to do the standard Armstrong oscillator but modulate the grid with a h-bridge that is fed by the feed back coil
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Avenger
Mon Jul 03 2017, 10:44AM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
No, I have not tried modulating the tube on a grid. The standard VTTC scheme is chosen because of its simplicity. In the meantime, I began to estimate out the layout of the circuit elements.




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klugesmith
Mon Jul 03 2017, 05:31PM
Registered Member #2099
Joined: Wed Apr 29 2009, 12:22AM
Location: Los Altos, California
Posts: 1501
Your VTTC is a magnificent piece of work. A pleasure to behold.

The new steel carts are icing on the cake. Have you already picked a color of paint for them?
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Avenger
Tue Jul 04 2017, 05:32PM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
klugesmith wrote ...

Have you already picked a color of paint for them?


Black. Only black color)
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Avenger
Wed Jul 12 2017, 08:10AM
Registered Member #1275
Joined: Wed Jan 30 2008, 09:33AM
Location: Russia, Kazan
Posts: 12
The case of the generator unit is complete


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