Morse code test oscillator

Simple Morse code test oscillator for Morse practice – A Simple (& cheap) soldering project


I designed this for a Scout group as a simple soldering project Electronics Badge and as part of the Communication Badge.

With care the parts can be sourced for under £2.50 each.

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The boards can be ordered from OSH Park and cost £2.20 for 3
Order from OSH Park





1 x 3mm Led
1 x 1K(or 300R)
1 x Sounder (10 mm pitch) max diameter of 12mm
1 x CR2032 vertical battery holder
1 x CR2032/LR2032 battery
1 x Push button 5mm pitch x 7.5mm pitch

Some Electronic expertise needed, and of course a good soldering teacher.

This project uses Lithium Button batteries, please note the warnings here – Do Not short out the batteries, and Do Not swallow them.

Morse Code

Morse Code decoding “tree”



If you wire two boards together (wire the two sounders together with a long bell-wire cable, be careful to get them both the same way around) you can make a telegraph system with a button and sounder at each end. Then you can practice sending and receiving for real….


Construction details are here



Lichtenburg figure test

Test of transformer choice and wood type for reliable Lichtenberg figures.

Obit – 20Kv 20mA

Both pieces of wood lightly soaked in water (only) just before test.

wood – 4mm MDF

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Wood length 18″ – each pattern ~6″ across.


Course grained 3 ply

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Burns only continued in line with the grain. Test abandoned.


New Tesla Coil Phenomenon

After measuring the weight of my new PiZero Tesla coil project setup, I forgot that one of the tesla coils was still on the scales and applied power. I was very surprised to find that the weight of the running coil varied as the power was applied.

I of course instantly thought there was some electromagnetic effect, so I swapped the expensive scales for a cheap plastic (and staggeringly inaccurate) set. These have no metal parts inside apart from a single spring, so cannot be affected by electromagnetic fields. But they clearly showed the same effect (within an order of magnitude) as the other scale. The table the tesla coil was on was wooden and there was no other electrical equipment near by that could influence the scales.

I made a quick video showing the anti-gravity? effect. Please note that the cheap scales have a huge turn back error, and don’t always return to the correct weight, in fact I think they are pretty much useless even for cooking, never mind a scientific experiment.

After making the video I had more time and so did a much better analysis of the effect.

I checked that the wires were not contributing to the effect, if anything they were producing an additional weight due to their natural springiness, but they didnt move either on their own when put near a powerful magnet. I also checked for any static magnetic fields with an orienteering compass and found nothing over and above the earths natural magnetic field.

Futher testing

After further testing it appears that for every 1.5w RMS of energy put into the tesla coil the tesla coil becomes lighter by roughly 1g. Sometimes the effect isn’t immediate (as the video shows) and can take a second or two to appear or disappear. This hints at the building up of a field? around the device.


Another possible source of the weight change could have been the ion drive (ion wind) effect, well known to any high voltage enthusiast. I have discounted this for two reasons. 1. The effect looses weight in my setup. 2. The scale of the weight change is far in excess of the force of the ion wind from similar powered tesla coils.

I have tried experiments with a simple low power Royer and Slayer circuits and I have not seen the effect. I suspect that the effect only appears at higher powers. (100W+ ?)


Help with research

I would like for  this observation to be verified by other tesla coilers. If possible please set up a test with you own coil. Please give an idea of the type of coil, the power in, the initial weight of the coil, any weight change (+ or-ve), details of the weighing system used and any notes regarding the effect. I will list the results and coilers details on this page as a central reference for other experimenters. Please note the safety warning below when making measurements.


Further study.

Effect with CW and valve coils.
Effect with static gap and rotary coils. (magnifiers?)
Accurate weighing of running high power Fly-back circuits and car ignition coils.
Industrial Inductive heating – reported effects of the molten metal suspended in the working coil, a connected phenomenon ?


Other Thoughts.

Did Tesla know of this effect ?
Probably not, His coils although powerful were very heavy and securely bolted to the floor, it is unlikely he would have noticed the small change in the weight of his devices.

Electric space propulsion – microwave thrusters or quantum vacuum plasma thrusters (QVPT)
There is a lot of similarity with these devices, they  both use high voltage and work with large RF fields, maybe there is a connection?


Warning / Safety

As modern tesla coils become smaller, lighter and more powerful, the above effect could have more and more significant effects on these tesla coils.  I would strongly suggest that when running any tesla coil they are securely fastened to the ground with a safety chain and the possibility of loose/floating tesla coils should be included in any risk assessment until we know more about this phenomena.

Any questions regarding this effect, or to give your own results for inclusion on this page, please contact


UPDATE 1/4/16

As of midday today all of the observed behaviour has stopped and I cannot repeat the findings. I can only assume this was a glitch in the space time continuum that lasted for 12 hours.