People have wondered how to reduce the power of things like Tesla coils, especially when powering them for the first time.
I came up with this method using lamps, but you could replace the lamps with something else, but remember that you will need to dissipate heat in most cases, just that I found lamps to be a good option if you can't afford a variac
Most sites suggest using a 100 watt lamp at first, then going up to 200 watt by screwing in another one.
Well I decided to use switches, and to grade it up, here is the diagram
You'll notice that power cannot be applied to successive switches until it's predecessor is operated.
Lamp 1 could be a 60, 75 or 100 watt lamp as a starting point, rhe intention is then to go up 60 watts at a time.
Assuming all lamps are 60 watts:
SW 1 =60 w
SW 2 = 120 w
SW 3 = 180 w
SW 4 = Full power
My transformer is rated at 210 Watts, so the 60 watt lamps will suit my needs.
General view of the control box
Yes I know it's made of wood, it will last long enough to do the tests, the lamp holders came from a 3 light spot lamp, the capacitor on the input plug was already on there when i salvaged it, makes sense to leave it there.