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myMusicalTesla: 100,000 Volts of Awesome!

NI Employee (retired)

Hello Circuit Designers,

I wanted to let everyone know about another great project done by one of our interns from Plymouth University working at National Instruments in the UK.  myMusicalTesla takes an audio signal as the stimulus, processing this with an NI myRIO embedded controller to switch a mini-Tesla coil and using the electric field generated to illuminate an unconnected fluorescent tube in time with the music.

The myRIO controls everything in this project - it takes audio input from its built-in audio jack, samples this data and performs an FFT on the onboard FPGA. Finally, it switches the Tesla Coil 100,000s of times a second in order to resonant the circuit. As well, another DIO line is used to pulse the circuit at the frequency of the note you wish to play. Everything is programmed in LabVIEW allowing quick coding and interfacing with the circuit board efficiently and easily.


After designing the circuit in Multisim, the resulting design was transferred it to Ultiboard for PCB layout. To check out the full project with schematics, PCB layout and code visit this location.

Campbell B

National Instruments