For Halloween this year, a daring engineer named Tyler Christensen decided it would be a good idea to make a hat out of a Tesla coil, a type of circuit invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891. You know, those neat looking shock-y things you see at science fairs? According to Wikipedia, they are used “to produce high voltage, low current, high frequency alternating current electricity,” so naturally, it’s just what you want to have sitting on top of your head.

Although Halloween was a while ago, he just posted posted a picture and a video today, alongside a detailed explanation of how he made it. Writes Tyler:

Yay, I’m finally documenting my Halloween costoume (which unfortunately blew up the day before halloweekend). Here is a video of hatcoil, a small DRSSTC on top of a hat. AKA, a really bad idea.

Technical details:
28V A123 battery pack
28-180 boost
4xHGTG 30N60B3D IGBT full-bridge with GDT drive
~1200 turn secondary on 1″ PVC
Innertube topload

Really, it’s just a DRSSTC. Nothing less, nothing more, nothing fancy. It was a bit tricky to make a bridge appropriately sized, and even harder to make a boost converter for it. In fact, the boost never truly worked. If I play a mid to high note for a few seconds, the boost can’t keep up and it fades away. I think this is due to saturation of my boost core, but I haven’t really taken the time to do much on this since now I’m back in the gate driver world and also have to throw together my 6.131 power electronics final project. I’ll fix hatcoil in February.

Just a simple DRSSTC hatcoil, guys, nothing to see here. Also, color me ignorant, but I had no idea you could play music on one of those things? You learn something new every day.

Anyway, I expect this guy’s invitation to the Kentucky Derby should arrive any day now. He will win the hat contest, hands down. The fact that it could go haywire and shock everyone will merely be an added bonus.

(Via Laughing Squid)