Tesla Coil Music

2014 to 2017
See also...

Similar music projects:

Floppy Drive Music

Music with floppy drives

Ever wondered how loud that is?

Totally ear-deafening!

Making music with floppy drives was a lot of fun, now let's do it with tesla coils! If you wonder whether you could do this yourself - Yes, in fact, anyone can. I used the oneTesla kit to build this tesla coil and it worked like a charm right from the beginning - well, almost. It's not for beginners, but if you can solder and have basic understanding for electronics, you can also build this kit.

No, I'm not advertising, but I get lots of questions about where one can buy a tesla coil, so I'm answering them beforehand.

Technical details

How a tesla coil works: I'm not publishing an article here on how in detail a tesla coil works, but the basic concept is very simple. You have two coils, a primary and a secondary. On this tesla coil, the primary has 6 loops and the secondary has 2,000. The primary coil inducts electricity into the secondary and increases the voltage by a factor of about 333 (= 2,000 / 6). And electrical discharge can only be created at high voltage, not at high current. Therefore, we need to transform into high voltage, thus lowering current.

You can hear the sparks, because they heat up the air, which then expands and therefore creates sound waves. And they are in fact very loud, somewhere about 100 dB. That's why I mean "ear deafening" literally. 15 minutes and your hearing is like after walking out of a night club.

The MIDI controller (see photos) is a component which retrieves MIDI input from a computer (USB) or a MIDI keyboard and converts it into an optical signal which is transmitted to the tesla coil. An optical signal is used so there is no electrical interference between the MIDI controller and the tesla coil. Also important in case the tesla coil has a defect. The MIDI controller can also output a fixed tone in addition to MIDI playback, which again can be modulated by the knob.

Can you touch it? I tried it at low voltage, when the sparks were only about 5 cm long and it did zap me quite a bit immediately pulling my finger away. And no, I wouldn't recommend touching it on full voltage.

Power 750 W
Current 6 A
Voltage 125,000 V
Tesla coil height 45 cm
Spark length about 50 cm
Volume 100 dB at 1 m distance