Tag Archives: Star Wars

Darth Vader and a Tesla Coil

What do Darth Vader and Tesla have in Common? Well the answer is AstroCamp!

We had a little fun playing with our giant Tesla Coil as Darth Vader from Star Wars.  The tesla coil is the most iconic and well known invention from the proud inventor Nikola Tesla. Tesla’s inventions helped pioneer the modern use of Alternating Current electricity or AC.  Most of his inventions made use of high voltage high frequency electricity.  The tesla coil appropriately named after Nikola is an excellent example of such a device.

The coil uses a property of electromagnetism called “inductance” to create a high voltage current.  The process begins by sending a low voltage current through a primary coil of wire that has a few turns in the wire.  If the electricity is AC current, it will create a magnetic field inside the coil.  If a secondary coil of wire wrapped just above the primary coil, the magnetic field created by the first coil will create a new current of electricity in the secondary coil.  When the secondary coil of wire has significantly more turns of wire in it than the primary, the voltage will be increase many times over.  The increase in voltage will cause the tesla coil to discharge the classic bolts of lightning from the top.

Tesla imagined that this setup could be used to transfer energy wirelessly from one place to another.  Sadly for Tesla, the idea never caught on.  Part of this might be due to the large amounts of noise that the tesla coil produces.  It might also be due to the fact that the bolts of electricity could be very dangerous if they were to hit a person.  Still, the Darth Vader controlled Tesla Coil never fails to impress an audience, which is something that would probably make Tesla proud.

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