Plasmasonic Musical Tesla Coils - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What is a Tesla Coil?
A: A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit invented by Nikola Tesla around 1891 which is used to generate high-voltage, low-current electricity which is capable of producing dramatic plasma discharges in the form of lightning-like electrical arcs. Tesla Coils were first used by Nikola Tesla for his development of radio transmission technology and later in his quest for wireless power transmission.
Q: What is a DRSSTC?
A: A DRSSTC, or Double Resonant Solid State Tesla Coil, is the 21st century equivalent of the disruptive spark gap Tesla coils that Nikola Tesla invented over 100 years ago. DRSSTCs utilize a solid state switching circuit comprised of high current, high voltage transistor devices known as Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors or IGBTs. These coils produce an almost identical output to that of conventional spark gap coils, but because they are solid state switching devices, they way that they are pulsed can be precisly controlled through control electronics which includes musical playback capabilities. Major benefits of DRSSTC technology is that they are much more efficient than their spark gap counterparts, and they also operate on standard 115VAC or 230VAC line voltage as opposed to spark gap coils which require upwards of 14400 volts through the use of a large and heavy high voltage transformer to operate.
Q: How does the Plasmasonic create musical tones and thus create music?
A : Musical tones are created through a modern day Tesla coil by modulating, or pulsing, the switching of the transistor switching devices at a frequency equivalent to that of the desired audio frequency one wishes to reproduce. For example, if you wanted to create a 100Hz audio tone, you would simply turn the transistor switching devices on and off at a frequency of 100Hz. This would then result in the high voltage arc creating an audio tone of that specific frequency. Of course, one doesn't have to manually turn the transistor switching circuit on and off at 100 times per second. Advanced control electronics in each Plasmasonic system do all this hard work in the background. The user simply has to play the appropriate MIDI music file on a laptop or through another MIDI compatible device, such as a guitar or keyboard, to create the musical tones. However, it is important to note that although the audio modulation of Tesla Coils are one of the hottest things in Tesla coil technology at the present time, NIkola Tesla himself was the first to modulate high voltage with audio. Tesla has several patents on the modulation of high voltage gas discharge lamps which were reportedly able to create music and other sound effects.
Q: What kind of musical input does the Plasmasonic accept?
A: The Plasmasonic systems accept a MIDI signal from any number of compatible MIDI devices including laptops, keyboard and synthesizers, and guitars to name a few. MIDI serial communication is the universal standard for musical instruments worldwide. It is also important to note that each Plasmasonic system is polyphonic meaning that is can produce more than a single tone simultaneously. With the use of a MIDI-to-USB adapter, pre-recorded MIDI files can be played directly from a laptop. This adds a tremendous amount of flexibility for the end user, and with multiple Tesla coils, and entire ensemble of musical Tesla Coils can be controlled via a single laptop.
Q: Can the power level and spark length be adjusted by the end user during operation?
A: Absolutely. Our advanced MIDI handheld controller has the capability to vary both the output pulsewidth and frequency of the high voltgae arcs and can be used to vary the output power and ultimately the arc length. This capability is available in both the standard pulsewidth mode of operation as well as MIDI muscial playback mode.
Q: How easy is it to set-up and use a Plasmasonic Tesla Coil?
A: The Plasmasonic system is extremely easy to set-up and operate. All that is required to set-up a Plasmasonic system is to attach the secondary and toroid to the base unit via the provided hardware, and make the several electrical connections which are required through the provided harnessed connectors. Detailed user manuals, which can be downloaded for free from our Plasmasonic ordering pages, show step-by-step instructions for everything that is required to safely operate a Plasmasonic system.
Q: Is the Plasmasonic compatible with European electricity standards?
A: Yes. Plasmasonic systems are available in versions compatible with both 115VAC 50/60Hz and 230VAC 50/60Hz electrical standards.
Q: Do you provide MIDI files for playback?
A: Great question. Yes, we have a webpage that lists a number of sample MIDI tracks that have been specifically tailored for both single and dual Tesla Coil playback.
You can download these files directly here. We also can create custom MIDI files for individuals for virtually any piece of musica available today.
Q: What type of warranty is included with a Plasmasonic system?
A: Plasmasonic systems are designed for high reliabiliy and thus we back all of our Plasmasonic systems with a warranty. Please contact us for additional information regarding our Plasmasonic Warranty.
Q: What is the typical lead time and availability?
Lead times can vary depending on availability, and our present manufacturing queue. Sometimes we have immedate stock on products, and other times, we can have a 2-4 week lead time on various products. Our largest systems are fully customized to each individual user, and therefore, have longer lead times.
For pricing and availability, please contact our sales staff at the sales email address provided on our contact page. We will work directly with you to determine the options which you require for your specific build and provide you with an official quoted price and lead time for your Tesla Coil. We are available 24/7 to respond to any inquires you have and can provide you with a detailed customized quote within 24 hours.
Q: How do I place an order?
A: For pricing and availability, please contact our sales staff at the sales email address provided on our contact page. We will work directly with you to determine the options which you require for your specific build and provide you with an official quoted price and lead time for your Tesla Coil. We are available 24/7 to respond to any inquires you have and can provide you with a detailed customized quote within 24 hours.
Q: What type of payment methods do you accept?
For domestic purchases, we accept money orders, cash payment, company checks, and credit card payments through our paypal processor. (No paypal account is required.) We can also post an item through EBAY if you wish to take advantage of EBAY benefits. Purchase orders are accepted from well qualified companies, schools, and organizations. For international purchases, we only accept payment through direct bank transfer or company check.