What a great day at Papplewick Pumping station. The change of venue caused some teething problems with space and I caused some problems with exhibitors names (no change there!) Over 140 visitors, three film crew’s on the day and 12 Exhibitors.
The pumping station were great in sorting out our rather strange needs and were over the moon about the attendance (they ran out of bacon in the cafe, apparently the indication of a good day). All proceeds from the day went directly to the Pumping station.
Photos from the day, If you, or your equipment is missing, please email me a picture/video. It was such a busy day I missed a lot of things.
Derek’s (my) Equipment
Chris’ Battery powered Tesla coil
After a number of valiant attempts and a few disasters. Earl unfortunately failed to get his coil working. This was a great shame as the travel and effort he put in was huge. I would have loved to see his coil in action again. I especially wanted to see his bottle cap bank in action.
Robert’s Jacobs ladder
Papplewick Pumping station
A superb venue, although a bit cold, mitigated by a superb on site Cafe…
EE are actively looking for venues for teslathons in the East Midlands for next year.
Places to hold our events are getting few and far between, mostly because of our “special” requirements.
What is a teslathon : A tesalthon is a meeting of tesla coil enthusiasts. Our tesla coils vary in size from tabletop to 3M tall and are all built by amateurs.
I have been running teslathons for 18+ years and have Risk assessments and method statements to cover the H&S aspects to our hobby.
So what do we need?
The Must have’s
A room with tables a minimum of 11M x 8M in size, on the ground floor that can be blacked out and a ceiling height of ideally more than 4M. Bigger of course is better. We usually have 20 or so coilers and 30-60 visitors to the events.
Plenty of 13A sockets (for our bigger events, a 32A Commando or accessible cooker socket would be needed, or an electrician on site to give support.)
Some method of providing a separate electrical earth. 10 or more tables.
Tea and coffee making facilities 🙂
Other needs (can generally be worked around)
The room needs a minimum (ideally non) of Burglar alarm, Fire alarm or network cables. Electronic lighting can be OK, but they must be high the ceiling. Fire sensors are generally OK, but they must not be of the ionisation type.
Ideal Venues are usually industrial museums or metal skinned warehouses/barns as these have a minimum of electronic equipment. We would like to work with the venues own insurance if possible, but we can provide our own if needed.
I also arrange workshops and talks with lesser requirements, so most venues can be used for something.
We can work in two ways, either a daily rental for the hall, paid by us,or we can work as a ticketed event to raise funds or awareness for a museum, venue or charity.
Before any booking, I would need to assess the venue for safety and suitability.
An amazing day, all my coils and static machines worked from beginning to end with no issues. The VDG performed well after a hail storm had knocked out all of the moisture from the air. It made a huge difference. I did however have a failure the night before the Gaussfest (therefore it cant count as a failure AT the Gaussfest) where I shared the earth from my VDG with the PiZero coils. A strong discharge killed the i2c on my Pi Zero. A swap of PiZeros, a number of downloads and a recompile got me back working in a hour or so. Glad I’d gone with the PIZero saved me £21 over a full Pi Failure.
Roger was new to the Gaussfest and brought his commercial VDG, a very nice unit with LOADS of accessories. It ran fairly well during the day after he replaced the original 15year old+ belt. I suspect he suffered with the damp as well, but it didn’t affect his VDG as much as mine, I put this down to a lack leakage from his very smooth top terminal. (The VDG’s not his).
Steve brought a couple of coils and a VDG (sorry no photo) . His desktop Static gap coil was a good solid performer, but his VTTC was just a work of art. It performed well with those lovely straight arcs characteristic of VTTC’s. He vows to return to Cambridge, can’t wait.
Jason’s coil ran very well, until he had a capacitor failure, which was a great shame, but hopefully easy to rectify.
Dave’s coil ran well as usual. Superb looking and a very reliable performer. I know Dave has plans for an upgrade, so look forward to the MkII
Phil & Phil’s coils
Slow motion (90fps capture)
Phil and Phils coils (now share so many parts I can’t tell them apart, I’m not sure their owners can either). Both coils ran very well giving 8-10′ arcs to the floor,ceiling and occasionally to a target earth. PhilS did have a problem with a stray topload cable that caused a secondary strike
It didn’t appear to have done much damage, but only a strip down will tell.
Thanks to everyone that came and especially those who brought “stuff” to demonstrate. After talking to a couple of non-UK visitors they are very envious of our Teslathons, there are very few across the world, and the UK has two!
After many years of sitting in a rack gathering dust, one of the volunteers at Cambridge museum of technology has resurrected their mercury rectifier.
It used to run a large DC Motor from the new-fangled AC mains. But this was soon superseded by a replacement.
The Rectifier has lain dormant since at least the 70’s. The Museum has managed to get a supply to the anodes and enough current via it’s ignitor circuit to get the tube lit up and working (although at much lower power).
A fantastic achievement that shows the engineering (and beauty?) of these rare devices. Much better than an odd shaped dust covered glass thingy in a rack.
With thanks to all of the Coilers (and wives) who brought stuff and supported us, Staff and volunteers at Cambridge Museum of Technology who let us abuse their electricity supply for the day and the visitors who asked some great questions this year.
Watch this space for details of next years Teslathon at the end of October 2016.
Tesla Coils and High Voltage