Cell phone triggered fireworks


[Mr. Hasselhoff] is using a disposable cell phone to trigger his fireworks. He has wired into the speaker leads for the speaker phone. When the phone rings, the current sets off a thyristor allowing for a battery pack to be discharged into a rocket fuse. These fuses heat up and ignite, so you can use them to light fireworks fuses pretty easily. This is pretty simple and cheap, considering the price of the cell phone was only $10. His next idea was to have it recognize dial tones and set individual fuses off, but that would require a microcontroller and a much more complex hack. At that point, you might as well just build a fully fledged wireless fireworks launching system and possibly add rocket launching abilities too.

[thanks Adam]


  1. Slurpy says:

    This is how they set off roadside bombs..

  2. ant says:

    i was just thinking “hey this is like the phone setup for IEDS”

  3. Quantum_Flux says:

    That was my thought slurpy….

    The other thing I’ve got to say is what about someone calling a wrong number?

  4. DerAxeman says:

    Ummmm…. last time I checked setting off explosives or incendiaries via wireless was a major no no as far as the BATF was concerned

  5. Eric says:

    Time for another “good idea, bad idea”

    Using a disposable phone to talk to your lover on the DL: Good idea

    Using a disposable phone to set off explosives: bad idea!

  6. Man On Fire says:

    this sounds like a fantastic way to get a knock on your door from DHS.

  7. T.n says:

    Can we assume a mr. hasselhoff is currently being covertly monitored by government agencies?

  8. barry99705 says:


    while that sounds about right, I couldn’t find anything on their page, I did find several fireworks companies selling wireless launching systems though.

  9. nubie says:

    He had better have a remote arming device, even as simple as 100ft of string and a switch.


    Because every disposable phone I get has a number owned by somebody before me (“I am looking for Tim”, Mark, Tom, Joe, etc. )

    I hope it is safe.

  10. nubie says:

    Thought I would read the link, and the images are un-cropped.

    I don’t know how many people browse on a 2560×1600 screen, but those photos are freaking ridiculous.

    Get a mod in that forum.

  11. nubie says:

    Oh, I wonder if you can set it to vibrate/ring only on a number you select?

    Then you would only get the firecracker going off when the phone recognizes the correct number calling in.

  12. schwillis says:

    as others have mentioned this is the most common way to trigger IED’s, I always wondered if it’s possible to broadcast every possible combination of signals to trick a phone into ringing and setting off IED’s prematurely, A vehicle with the equipment could blast out the signal every mile or so, so they can set any of them off at a safe distance.

  13. tomas316 says:

    Rather than blast out a signal to ring all phones, just blast out a signal to block all phones ringing.

  14. RESIZE_THEM says:

    Please, RESIZE THAT DAMN IMAGES!!! How the hell is possible to publish such large images in a site?

    The entire article is totally *UNREADABLE* on eeepc’s and similar computers!


  15. LN says:

    you know…this is a really a bad idea, it’s just a really poor design. http://spatulatzar.com/wireless_detonator/ that is way better, and is a more secure way to do something.

  16. RG says:

    Bad fucking idea to host this. “Fireworks” Wireless is prohibited even for professionals. Everything has to be wired. Not even closed channel wireless.

  17. firetech says:


    That’d be much more efficient, and easier to implement. Scanning takes time, blocking a spectrum doesn’t.

  18. Rob says:

    This is retarded and extremely dangerous. Head on over to the pyrouniverse forums if you want to learn how to build proper systems with safeties built in that live up to code.

  19. M0535 says:

    It would have been easier, and more aesthetic if he had gone to the shack (expensive, but quick), and bought a 2.5 mm headphone male end, and just wired the speaker to the female end in the phone. That way he could just plug in the cord and be ready to go (it would also be more inconspicuous).

  20. pRtkL xLr8r says:

    Yeah, theses posts pretty much sum up all the thoughts that went through my head when reading this post — please take it down before some idiot kid gets the wrong idea here, hurting either themselves over the whole ‘wrong number’ thing or hurting someone else…this is something anyone who regulars this site could have figured out on their own, so it’s nothing anyone will lose any sleep over if you yank this….

  21. Raver says:

    Just what I want my kids building, cell phone triggered “fireworks”.

  22. Greg says:

    This was the main argument that my school county had used for the past couple of years as to why cellphones weren’t allowed at school. Fear of remote bomb set off from cellphone triggers.

  23. nick says:

    ummm, this post seems like even more of a bad idea than posting on how to hack road signs. I’m pretty sure someone is going to get a call from the FBI about this one.

  24. justifier says:

    im not so sure it is a stupid idea. yes the implimentation is stupid. but the idea behind it isnt the fact that you could use the hack for different implementations. cheap remote lock? cheap remote lights? etc etc anything that could be triggered using the pulse.

  25. Quantum_Flux says:

    I agree with justifier this could be used for so many different things, granted as I and may of you said earlier using it for fireworks is stupid and in as some of you have also pointed out the US has legal restrictions, but what about other countries there may not be the same restrictions?

    Anyway at the end of the day no point removing it, its a remote trigger, if someone wanted to use something like this for anything untoward they would just do it regardless of a post about it on this site its not the only place things like this exist.

  26. henny says:

    for a real wireless fireork system try http://www.fireone.com/wireless.htm

  27. geoff says:

    Take this down. Sure the information is available anywhere, but I thought you guys were smarter than this. Seriously, did you even think before you posted this???

  28. Sqnewton says:


  29. Stephen says:

    having a brother that was lucky enough to come back from Iraq, and having been missed by ied’s, this is a really stupid post. As well as having been covered to ad nauseum and back for triggering just about everything under the sun. Just a waste of space.

  30. What is with all the people pmsing?

    First of all, you will notice a on-off switch between the fuse and the trigger which prevents any accidental ignitions before the device is armed. Second, the proposed fireworks trigger (which is only glancingly mentioned, not actually part of the tutorial) involves igniting (not replacing) the fuse, i.e. you have just as much safety delay as you would setting the thing off with a match, while being much farther away.

    Could you have a safer arrangment? Always. Is this particularly dangerous? Well, that obviously depends on *what* you are igniting, but for anything you can legally purchase I guarantee it’s safer than lighting a five inch fuse with a match.

    Think before you whine.

  31. dan says:

    ‘i always wondered if it’s possible to broadcast every possible combination of signals to trick a phone into ringing and setting off ied’s prematurely’ – i’m pretty sure that the coalition military have equipment they can fit to vehicles that has this particular effect, or at least prevents the detonation of devices triggered in this way. i seem to remember reading/watching an interview where they said that vehicles being blown up by mobile phone triggered IEDs are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. obviously this doesn’t discourage the insurgency, who have a near endless supply of ‘human detonators’ to throw in the path of convoys, but it’s still pretty cool.

  32. jimmys says:

    If hackaday posted one good hack each day, people would check it out and not come back until the next day.

    That’s not good for generating money or prestige based on traffic.

    In order to increase traffic, readers need to think that they need to check the site many times a day for new posts which may pop up at any time.

    So hackaday becomes a bad front-end for instructables, advertisements masquerading as reviews, and reposts of old hackaday articles.

    The real value right now is in the comments section but that will change too, I’m sure.

  33. therian says:

    lol my neighbor blow his face doing this

  34. Tim says:

    To answer the silly people above:

    1. It’s not dangerous. You can configure phones to only ring if called by certain numbers.
    2. Yes this is used in bombs, but it’s trivial to do. The first thing police do when there is an unexploded bomb is to block mobile phones in the area.

  35. Haku says:

    Over 25 megabytes for 11 static images in a forum thread? epic fail.

    Using cell phones the other way round, I saw an episode of Burn Notice where the guy used a pre-paid cellphone as an early warning system, hooking it up to a motion detector so when it was triggered it ‘pressed’ a button on the phone to speeddial a number – does anyone know any webpages detailing how to modify a mobile phone that way? now that’s the kind of hack I’d like to see.

  36. haku: You might check this out:


    Doesn’t use a phone, but same idea.

  37. tua says:

    Wow…in Iraq they call fireworks IED’s!

  38. natrix says:

    the images in that thread are resized, but if you have noscript or javascript disabled it doesn’t convert them to thumbnails.

  39. notatt says:

    Totally irresponsible article!
    Next you’ll be posting tasty anti-freeze cocktails!
    You jerks are completely devoid of morals.

  40. Tronic says:

    ==> do not do this hack <== This is a terrible terrible idea. The least of your concerns is someone accidentally dialing your number. Those disposable cell phones randomly ring to tell you about an offer from the company. Anything explosive or ignitable on a wireless device is asking for danger and trouble from the law.

  41. blah says:

    not really all that impressive… people do this all the time

    theres way cooler ways to set off explosives, like dripping faucets or trip lines. i found a very informative book titled “improvised explosives” at my public library

  42. Quin says:

    Let me second the recommendation for http://spatulatzar.com/wireless_detonator/ who put together a slightly safer wireless system. And being a scrap 900MHz phone, probably cost less.

    And to ln directly, are you a fellow &t refugee?

  43. Wwhat says:

    It’s a trick to make insurgents reveal themselves by suing for copyright infringement! Devlish.

  44. Haku says:

    Here’s another thought on the “it’ll trigger if anyone at all phones it” problem; if the phone is sophisticated enough, setup a noisy ringtone for only one recognised phone number (the trigger phone) and silence (or vibration) for all other incoming calls.

  45. qui law says:

    Ummm… can you say IED?(Improvised explosive device)

  46. Tony says:

    Did the same thing with an arduino, instead of a thyristor… didn’t really know they existed, but now I want some. I used mine to play the hampster dance in my girlfriend’s dorm room…. not set off a bomb… sorry to disappoint.

  47. Tom says:

    Please, DON’T use this simple setup.

    There are much better and saver ways to remonte control things via mobile phone.

    E.g. use the RS-232 interface on most Siemens phones to at least evaluate the incoming number.

    Btw. there are similar devices/hacks available to remotely start the park heating system in your car. (Yes, there are countries/climates where tis is a topic)


  48. khani3s says:

    Just like subway bombing attack in Madrid.


    They show that – cellphone triggering explosives – on some program on the Discovery Channel.
    Notting new. Just a f****** stupid idea.

    @Haku i thought in the same solution.

  49. anonymous says:

    Really mature. Great example in “How to get your website blacklisted or closed down” and “How not to moderate your website”.

    What next; how to build fertilizer & motor oil “fireworks”?

    Nice. Clowns.

  50. Wwhat says:

    The madrid thing was of course set up largely by the spanish secret service as we know now, I bet that normally terrorist and such would never use a phone really spontaneously, a bit too high-brow for them I think.
    As for ‘please remove it before someone hurts himself’, this is an american site, a country where people play with guns.. (and where there is some free speech), I think it’s more useful to make posts about the dangers, and the wrong number risk, and the risk you’ll get temporarily detained (don’t forget that they arrested people for having a LED smiley already) than to be so china-censorship minded.

    Try hackaday.cn maybe.

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