Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

Andrew and Tesla and Wireless Electricity

May 6, 2010
Some kids do science projects because they want to get a good grade in their science class.  Not my step-grandson Andrew Champion who lives in Kennesaw, Georgia. He does them for enjoyment.  His latest project is electrifying, and, if you are not careful, shocking!  Literally!  Recently, when I visited him and my stepson Ken, step-daughter-in-law Katrina, and my two step-granddaughters,  Shannon and Caitlin, he demonstrated his Tesla Coil for me.  He explained it as the sparks flew, but I figured it would be easier for him to tell you about it than me, because I couldn’t remember all of that technical stuff. 

Andrew Champion and his Tesla Coil

I have always been interested by the mechanics and inner-workings of machines. For the past four years, I have focused heavily on the electronics aspect of mechanics, such as building small electronic circuits and low voltage devices.  My interest in high voltage sciences began when I built a small coil gun out of camera flash circuits and capacitors. My little “gun” would fire a small nail about 10 feet when I applied a magnetic pulse to it. 

After my coil gun, I began work on my most ambitious project yet, the Tesla Coil.  At a cost of over one thousand dollars, countless hours of work and even, some blood and tears, I am now the proud creator of a fascinating machine invented by Nikola Tesla, arguably the most influential inventor of the industrial age. 

Tesla Coil emits a dazzling and loud spark that circles around the machine. When he demonstrated it for me he handed me a pair of protective earphones. They helped...some.

Dr. Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia and began his career in France as a simple electrical engineer. During this time he devised the idea of transmitting electricity via alternating current (AC).  Later he moved to America to work for Thomas Edison at the Edison Corporation (later to become General Electric). Tesla’s genius was actually stifled by Edison because Tesla doubted the feasibility of Edison’s pet method of city-wide electrical transmission, direct current (DC). 

Tesla was later hired by the Westinghouse Corporation as a chief engineer.  It was at Westinghouse where Tesla perfected his AC motor and generator.  Although Thomas Edison is the much more commonly recognized name in electrical history, it was Nikola Tesla who pioneered the AC electrical distribution system used throughout the world to this day.  Edison’s DC method had a number of technical shortcomings and fell out of favor quickly.

Nikola Tesla, circa 1896

Tesla also designed another method to wireless transmit electricity from a central transmitting station wireless to receiving antennas at homes and businesses.  The primary device which generated the wireless electricity would become known as the Tesla Coil.


Andrew graduates from Shiloh Hills Christian School on May 21st.  He’s then going to Southern Tech in Marietta for two years,  then transfer to – where else?  –  Georgia Tech.   He plans to be a nuclear physicist.  We had a good scientific conversation about matters nuclear. Wish I knew what he was talking about.