The Tesla coil is one of the most famous and popularly recognizable high voltage devices. Utilizing the fame of recognizability of the Tesla coil in a “Build Your Own” laboratory exercise is a great way to create a successful and highly interesting learning activity. Classical Tesla coils utilize a spark gap as the primary switch, whereas modern Tesla coils use solid state components instead such as the transistor for the Tesla coil described here. Building a miniature Tesla coil is also a convenient teaching tool for the instruction of electric fields, electromagnetic induction, and transistors. The equipment needed is readily available and affordable while the resulting “mini” Tesla coil is robust and entertaining. In addition, the concepts needed to give a basic description are readily available to students finishing a typical algebra-based physics course.

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Wrapping the wire around the core introduces twist, which will eventually cause a kink in the wire. Turning the core and allowing the spindle to rotate prevents this.
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A description of the transistor water valve analogy can be found at https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/transistors/extending-the-water-analogy.
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