The American Free Press (October, 2003)

Will it be Tesla to the rescue at your home in the next big blackout?

Super-efficient Tesla lighting is an ideal back-up for blackout emergencies. A home-built Tesla-coil “lighting plant” can squeeze more hours of illumination from a battery than any other mode of electric lighting.

Tesla invented the resonant transformer known as the Tesla coil to power a new technology of high-frequency illumination, a method far more efficient than the Edison incandescent then in use (1890’s).

Tesla patented his high-frequency lighting idea, but industry would not allow it. Thus the Tesla coil became taboo.

Tesla’s own 60-cycle alternating-current system (his dynamos, transformers, motors, transmission lines) had already become so institutionalized that his new alternative had to be crushed.

The 60-cycle AC power system invented by Tesla made possible electric-power transmission over long distances. This enabled the development of an interdependent power grid. Tesla honored technologies simple and elegant. I wonder what he would have thought of today’s power distribution network, its complexity and fragility? Perhaps he did foresee the monster that could develop, and that’s why he invented a power-transmission system without wires.

Officials still say they have no idea what caused the August 14 blackout that shut down 100 power plants and put 50 million people in the dark. “This was not supposed to happen,” exclaimed Michehl Gent the head of the North American Electric Reliability Council on NPR’s Morning Edition (8/15). He said there was no evidence of any stress at any particular place in the grid. It was a systemic problem. The grid’s control computers “reacted as with an overload danger.” Either there was some inconceivable software defect, he said, or the control computers were “instructed wrong.”

That’s ominous. Who could have done this instructing? It would require secret access codes. Do we have a conspiracy theory here? Bush said right away that it wasn’t “terrorist,” so nobody in the mainstream media seems willing to speculate on any cyber-sabotage scenarios. But now our credulity is tested by three more such episodes — England (August 28), Denmark (September 24), Italy (September 29) — and the experts have no explanation for any of them.

Of course, If technology had followed up on Tesla’s adventure, there could be no blackouts. Tesla’s wireless power sends electric power through the ground with a giant Tesla coil, the magnifying transmitter. Consumers pick up home power free, like a radio signal. Power is sufficient even for industrial uses.

Circa 1900 Tesla constructed prototypes at Colorado Springs and at Shoreham, Long Island. In the 1930’s, in rural Quebec, Tesla installed a magnifying-transmitter utility that sent power between towns 70 miles apart (from Chambord to La Tuque).

In 1901 Tesla patented a space-energy receiver (Patent No. 685,957). The same idea was later developed successfully by a flock of free-energy inventors (Moray, Coler, Hendershot, etc.). Such a device could put a compact, quiet, pollution-free power plant right in your basement, the ultimate in free, blackout-proof home power. However, officially, no such technology can exist. The system must retain the power to charge us money and threaten us with shutoff, individually and collectively. (Are these blackouts such threatenings?) Controlling the electric resource is fundamental to our way of rule. That’s why the Tesla’s must be suppressed.

Free energy and wireless power may still be kept well out of our reach, but the technology of the Tesla coil is now loose among the people, taboo or not. The revival is here to stay. With a home-built Tesla coil, you can have the radical economies of Tesla lighting in your own home, ready for the next big blackout.

Tesla-coilers know how fluorescent tubes will light up when brought near to the active terminal. Fluorescent tubes just want to light up in the presence of Tesla currents, even when there is no wire connection to the Tesla coil.

The popular spark-gap Tesla coil may give a flickering demonstration of the principle, but most spark units cannot deliver the smooth pulsing needed for practical, steady light. This takes some electronics. With about a dozen parts you can build a little solid-state pulse generator that can drive a Tesla coil from battery power. I was surprised to find that with just twelve battery volts a Tesla coil could yield up to two thousand, plenty of high-frequency voltage to drive lighting tubes.

These high voltages will not shock. The frequencies, up in the hundreds of kilocycles, are too high to register on the human nervous system.

The ideal Tesla coil for such a system has primary and secondary coils closely coupled. It is immersed in oil. Common motor oil will do. The oil coil is modeled on the hot unit Tesla showed off in his famous London Lecture of 1892. I call this a “third generation Tesla coil.”

In my Son of Tesla Coil (sequel to my popular Tesla Coil) I show how to build both the electronics and the third-generation oil coil from off-the-shelf parts.

Son of Tesla Coil is about utilitarian Tesla coils that can do real work. Practical third-generation Tesla coils meet practical engineering criteria that most experimenter spark-type Tesla coils do not. These are electronics-driven devices characterized by low current draw, long duty cycle, low maintenance, quiet operation, compactness, and safety.

I’ve mounted an 18-inch Tesla lamp over my writing desk so I can work through the next big blackout. A little seven-amp-hour sealed lead-acid battery, solar-charged, powers the oil-coil lighting plant. The system can provide emergency light while pulling a scant two-tenths of an ampere, running over twenty hours without a battery recharge.

This is the original version of an article published in the American Free Press (10/20/03)
Copyright © 2003 by George Trinkaus
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