Tesla Coil Music

bytecode77 oneTesla Midi 1.10.zip

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.

oneTesla v1 build

These pictures are from the oneTesla v1. Later I have switched to the oneTesla TS because of some technical issues with the first-generation model.

The MIDI controller that is connected with a fiber-optic cable:

Technical details

Tesla coil 101: This isn't a detailed technical article, but the basic concept is very simple. There are two coils: A primary and a secondary. On this build, the primary coil has 6 loops, and the secondary has 2000. The primary coil inducts electricity into the secondary and increases the voltage by a factor of about 333 (= 2000 / 6). Electrical discharge can only be created at high voltage, not at high 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. Running a tesla coil also exposes ozone when oxygen molecules are heated up by the sparks.

The MIDI controller 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. A fiber-optic cable is used so there is no electrical interference between the MIDI controller and the tesla coil. The newer model (not on the pictures) has an SD card slot for the MIDI's and doesn't require a computer.

But, can you touch it? I've tried it at low voltage, when the sparks were only about 5 cm long. It really zaps! As always: I don't recommend doing it at home.

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

But if you did try it at home and your fuse box tripped: That's indicative of high initial current drain. Just flip the switch back.