Optimal performance for Tesla transformers

Denicolai, Marco
September 2002
Review of Scientific Instruments;Sep2002, Vol. 73 Issue 9, p3332
Academic Journal
The previous work related to finding improved performance for Tesla transformers is shortly reviewed. The possibilities to reach the optimal working point by modifying the main components are discussed from a practical standpoint. A methodology for maximizing the secondary voltage by regulating the tuning ratio T and the coupling coefficient is examined in particular. It is shown that its results are valid only if primary and secondary inductor values remain unchanged, and the secondary capacitor value is decreased. All in all, the best improvement from the typical condition of T = 1 increases the secondary voltage of only 18% and requires tide coupling. This, in turn, imposes severe engineering problems to avoid dielectric breakdown between the primary and secondary coils, and makes the practical utility of this result someway questionable. In a real Tesla transformer, the most practical mean to perform tuning is to move the tap feeding the primary coil, rather than rewinding the secondary coil or redesigning the secondary top terminal. The resonant circuits are not undamped and it is crucial to reach the maximum voltage at the secondary in the shortest time, to minimize losses. It is shown that, in order to achieve optimal performance, a better strategy is to tune the primary coil to achieve T = 1 and then to increase the coupling coefficient as much as possible, aiming at one of the values selected from a given table.


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