Tom Powell’s Work Log

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  • Post last modified:April 7, 2024
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Musical Tesla Coil – Spring 2024

Update 1 (1/27)

We were able to conveniently divide the project into three main parts, leaving one for each of us to handle. I’ll be working on the software for the musical tesla coil.

To do:

  • Research and develop a pseudocode to get a rough idea of the program’s layout and what may need to be included.
  • Create a list of project considerations that will need to be made in order for my section of the project to move forward.
  • Continue to familiarize myself with what has been done last semester and musical tesla coils in general.

Update 2 (2/3)

l drafted up some pseudocode (assuming Arduino IDE) to get an idea of the concepts I’ll need to be familiar with. I also set up a basic circuit to have the Arduino uno play music on via a passive buzzer. This method should be very similar to how we will interact with the tesla coil. Lastly, I have a start on the list of project requirements to move forward.

To do:

  • Begin looking into what kind of microcontroller would be the most suitable choice for interfacing with the coil.

Update 3 (2/10)

We’ve decided to use an Arduino as our microcontroller. The main reason for this is because it fits well into our budget, contains the functionality we need, and has seemed to work out for others who have documented their tesla coil projects online. It’s also convenient that I already have some experience with the IDE so this will facilitate the coding process. The model of Arduino to be used is still up for debate but as of now we are leaning towards the Uno or Nano.

Update 4 (2/17)

I spent some time this week looking into polytonal tesla coils that can play chords. With a microcontroller that can output multiple signals simultaneously of varying frequency, summing the two signals in order to produce a cord on a tesla coil is possible in theory. However, implementing this on our individual coil will take a lot more thought. This may be an additional functionality to consider if we have more time after getting the coil up and running.

Update 5 (2/24)

This week was the critical design review. I received some valuable feedback from Shane about whether the Arduino’s sampling frequency would be large enough and a quick solution to that problem if it presents itself.

Update 6 (3/9)

The board we’ve decided to order is the Arduino nano.

To do:

  • Test the driver circuit with our microcontroller to ensure the right output

Update 7 & 8 (3/23)

There were two Arduino Nanos available in the lab. I tested some of the digital pins on each of the nanos, and they’re both working fine so, if all goes well, we’ll be able to use them for our final version.

Update 9 (3/30)

Met up with Joel this week to test the driver circuit with the nanos. Unfortunately the input on the driver circuit was reading a voltage that would be too high for the transistors on the nano to handle. Joel is working on a sub-circuit to protect the Arduino from the high voltage. The planned testing will continue after this is finished.

Update 10 (4/6)

At this weeks meeting, we discusses the Project Report and started soldering/testing the primary PCB. The voltage regulator subcircuit on the driver is also now complete so testing the nano and driver will be on the agenda for the coming week. The next big objective is to CAD the frame of the Tesla Coil and find a material for the Faraday cage. This will still most likely be chicken coop wire which we’ll have to exceed our project budget for.