Infrared Controlled Remote Firework Igniter

Firework Igniter

With Independence Day just around the corner, American hackers are likely to find themselves blowing things up in the name of Independence. It’s all great fun but it can also be dangerous. The standard ignition method of “use a lighter and run away really fast” is not exactly safe. Instead of lighting your fireworks the old-fashioned way, why not follow [Facelesstech's] example and build your own infrared controlled remote igniter?

The first step was to decide how to actually ignite the firework fuse. [Facelesstech] had seen others use a car cigarette lighter for this purpose and he decided to follow in their footsteps. He started by removing the cigarette lighter from his own car and pulling it apart. Only one component was needed for this hack. The main heating element is a small disk with a “stem” on the end. If you apply 12V to the stem and attach the outer edge of the disk to ground, the igniter will quickly become hot.

[Facelesstech] originally thought he could just solder some wires to the device. However, the heating element gets so hot that the solder just melts every time it’s turned on. He then got creative and drilled a hole in a small block of wood that fits the heating element. The element is bolted into the wood and the bolt is used as a conductor for the electrical power.

The heating element is powered via a 12V relay. The relay is controlled by an Arduino Nano. The Nano allows two modes of operation. With the first mode, you simply press a button and the Nano will start a five second timer. The idea is to give you enough time to run to a safe distance before the firework is ignited. This isn’t much different from the old-fashioned method, but it does give you a slightly extended fuse. The second mode is where the project really shines. The Nano is also hooked up to an infrared receiver. This allows [Facelesstech] to press a button on an old television infrared remote control to active the igniter. This is a clever solution because it allows you to get to a safe distance without having to run a long wire. It’s also simple and inexpensive. Be sure to watch the video test of the system below.

[Thanks Dale]

Comments

  1. mjrippe says:

    Should run off a high amperage battery with voltage tapped off and regulated for arduino. And maybe at least *one* safety interlock?

  2. nioag says:

    NSA is watching you making IEDs.

  3. jagmills says:

    Just today I was in Maplins and saw this, thinking what I could hack out of it:
    http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/maplin-usb-cigarette-lighter-n07qn

    Not bad for £8, the coil is smaller and would probably be pretty good substitute for a project like this. Cool idea :)

  4. Frank says:

    IR may be simpler to implement but range to limited and has to be line of sight. Wouldn’t radio ie Bluetooth or wifi be better suited?

  5. DainBramage1991 says:

    Why not just use an electric match like the ones used to light model rocket engines?

    They only use 1.5v and not much current, they’re made specifically for the job, and they’re readily available.

  6. Peter Hanely says:

    An important detail with wireless control of something like fireworks is making the receiver selective against random signals on carrier.

  7. echodelta says:

    Someone’s TV begone might become fingers begone or hearing begone.

  8. Jon says:

    wouldn’t hurt to program the arduino to only ignite if the right sequence is inputted(like a password), so not any one with a remote can light it up.

  9. exit151 says:

    +1 to a bluetooth / wifi shield on the ardy as opposed to LoS IR, though I mean this in a encouraging criticism not a derogatory comment. It’s a cool project. That said, I read once that the industry approved method of matching fireworks to electronic devices is by burning resistors. With the Ardy in place, you could easily wire up a ton of individually addressed “firework channels” which run out to separate resistors which get cooked and ignite said firework.. You could sequence an entire show this way.

  10. Duwogg says:

    you REALLY need a saftey pin with a decently long rope, at least 10 ft AWAY from your fireworks. You basically would have a two metal contacts, at least one of which that is spring steel or similar, the NON- CONDUCTIVE pin inserts between these contacts, keeping them serperate, these would be in series with your final output to your electric match. you set everything up while it is “safed”, get away and yank your rope to pull the pin, arming your electronics. I would not trust a micro not to glitch as just the wrong time setting a mortar round off in your face… Or you could go the other way, having your electronics pakage a safe distance from the fireworks, with the electronic match connected via a 10ft cable, and you have an arming pin that you insert. Probably safer than the “light fuse and run fast” way of doing it either way, but still.

  11. I can’t help but think “wow an arduino for a flippy switch? Really?” I think a long wire, your heating element of choice, a battery, and a switch would be all that’s need to replace the light and run method.

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