Today there is more information on alternative energy available than ever before. However, there is also a lot of misinformation out there from people who try to sell you “secrets” and “hidden information”, which makes it extremely confusing for people new to this field to figure out what is science and what is fiction. Combine this with the fact that per definition, alternative energy research tends to diverge from the classical theories taught in Universities around the world, and you have a perfect storm of confusion.
That’s why I decided to compile a curated list of helpful resources that you can come back to regularly, and which will help you cut through the crap out there. I’ll add more resources over time, so I strongly recommend bookmarking it (hit Ctrl+D now!) for easy access in the future.
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that if you decide to make a purchase through them, I might earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. However, please note that I only list resources here that I have personal experience with and which I believe to be truly helpful.
Books & articles
There is enough reading material available to bury a house, so I have only listed some must-read resources here that will give you a solid foundation for further research.
My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla
What better way to learn about Tesla’s life than to hear him tell it in his own words? This book covers his early life, all the way up to the invention of his Magnifying Transmitter. This text can also be found here.
The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla
This must-read book contains three of Tesla’s highly influential lectures on the use of high frequency, high potential currents and all the curious effects they can create. Besides explaining what Tesla used his early disruptive discharge coils for, this book also contains drawings and explanations of his “hairpin” circuit.
These lectures can also be found here:
- Experiments with Alternate Currents of Very High Frequency and Their Application to Methods of Artificial Illumination
- Experiments with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency
- On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomena
Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World
The first time I heard about this book was through a video by Eric Dollard, and what a read it was! This book brings the reader back to the tumultuous time of the War of the Currents, in which the fate of DC versus AC electricity was decided, and in which Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse each contributed invaluable inventions to the world. It is a well-researched account of that period, devoid of fanboy- and conspiracy talk, which is very refreshing!
In this 1919 article, Tesla describes in clear words the difference between a traditional Hertz space-wave transmission system, and his own earth current-based “wireless” transmission system.
Nikola Tesla: Colorado Springs Notes, 1899-1900
While most of Tesla’s articles and lectures don’t contain a lot of math, this book definitely does. It gives exact calculations and intriguing notes for the Magnifying Transmitter he experimented with in Colorado Springs which was the precursor of his Wardenclyffe transmission system. It also contains a monumental passage about Tesla’s discovery of stationary waves during a lightning storm on July 4, 1899. A finding on which he eventually based his plans to transmit energy around the globe.
Nikola Tesla On His Work With Alternating Currents
This 3-day pre-hearing interview from 1916 between Tesla and his legal counsel, which was never intended for publication, offers a unique glimpse into Tesla’s mind and offers invaluable background information regarding many of his most important inventions.
Elementary Lectures On Electric Discharges, Waves And Impulses
This book by electrical genius Charles Steinmetz comes highly recommended by Eric Dollard as a great primer on the behavior of different types of electric waves.
Oliver Heaviside: The Life, Work, and Times of an Electrical Genius of the Victorian Age
Oliver Heaviside coined the terms inductance and impedance, and was the one to transform Maxwell’s quaternion formulas into their modern vector notation. He had a troubled life, but an immense intellect, and his belief that energy flows outside a conductor instead of through it should be enough motivation to pick up this surprisingly readable book.
Mathematics for the Nonmathematician
Math is not my strong suit, and I used to freak out when I encountered a page with formulas. However, after fighting my way through this accessible but long book, things started to make a lot more sense. I highly recommend it for people who want to know more about math and its history, but who have a hard time with traditional math books.
Condensed Intro to Tesla Coils
One of the reasons I managed to make it to the end of Mathematics for the Nonmathematician was because I really wanted to understand the math in this book and others by Eric Dollard. While the book contains some brilliant explanations of the workings of the Tesla Magnifying Transmitter (TMT), it is important to keep the note at the beginning of the book, stating that the book is “in need of extensive revision”, in the back of your mind.
YouTube is filled with interesting alternative energy experiments, so I only listed some eye-opening “classics” here.
Similarities of Wave Behavior (1959)
In this brilliant video from the AT&T archives, Dr. Shive from Bell Labs uses a Shive Wave Machine to explain in clear words and with clear examples how waves behave, and what resonance and standing waves are.
Antenna Fundamentals: Propagation
Another golden oldie explaining conventional antenna theory in an easy-to-follow way with clear animations.
Tesla’s Longitudinal Electricity (1988)
Eric Dollard shows a working longitudinal transmission system based on Tesla’s patents. The video contains several curious phenomena, like single-wire energy transmission without a return wire and the transmission of a longitudinal signal through the earth to a beach 1 mile away.
Transverse & Longitudinal Electric Waves (1988)
Eric Dollard explains longitudinal waves, measures their speed, and explains their use in the transmission of energy.
This free online tool allows you to find, edit, create, and share schematics of electronic circuits. Using this tool you’ll be able to create high-quality schematics free of charge, instead of messing around in Paint.
A free and easy to use circuit simulator that runs in your web browser. You can use this tool to build circuit schematics and run simulated tests to find any flaws before you start soldering physical parts together. Extremely valuable!
A super useful set of free calculators created by Simon Davies, which will come in handy when you start building your own coils.
In case you’re just starting out, I can recommend the Discover Electronics Kit from Sparkle Labs to get an introduction to everything from resistors and diodes, to transistors and switches. Comes with a lot of useful components for later projects.
If you plan to replicate some of Tesla’s experiments, it can sometimes be tricky to hunt down the parts you need, especially the high voltage items. Here are a few great suppliers of these more exotic parts, all of which I have ordered from before.
My #1 supplier for high voltage components, like doorknob capacitors and diodes capable of withstanding 30kV.
Whether you’re looking for a pre-built Tesla Coil, or just for some parts, these guys sell everything you’ll ever need, as well as many things you’ll never need, like a 10kV magnetic can crusher.
These guys create custom electronic components, but also sell high voltage parts and some of the best Pulse Width Modulators (PWM) on the market, which can be used to drive your coil circuits.
While all the previously mentioned websites sell a lot of unique, high quality parts, 95% of the time I end up purchasing my parts through Aliexpress. Because the parts usually ship from Asia, it can take a while for them to arrive, but the prices and the selection are unrivalled.
A very complete website dedicated to Nikola Tesla, with a timeline of his life, as well as a list of books, articles and patents. I find their Tesla Patents section particularly useful.
Yet another amazing free resource for articles, books and information related to Nikola Tesla.
An extensive compilation of Tesla research by topic. A goldmine of information!
Free, online physics tutorials which the average person can actually understand. Their lessons on waves were immensely helpful for understanding the different kinds of electric waves.
Another great, free resource for learning about topics like math and Electrical Engineering.
If you’re ever stuck with an alternative energy project, the guys on this forum can help you out. Just be aware that besides some highly skilled members, there are a lot of people spouting nonsense on there as well.
1,119,732 – Apparatus for Transmitting Electrical Energy
645,576 – System of Transmission of Electrical Energy
649,621 – Apparatus for Transmission of Electrical Energy
787,412 – Art of Transmitting Electrical Energy through the Natural Mediums
685,957 – Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy