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Fireworks Controller

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This instructable is on a 12 channel fireworks controller that I built during the summer. It was a lot of fun to build, and is a blast (pardon the pun) to operate! I couldn't find a good quality instructable on building a complete fireworks controller like this one, so I decided to write my own.

DISCLAIMER:
The information contained herein is for the sole purpose of information and education. Build this project AT YOUR OWN RISK. I have NO responsibility whatsoever for any injury, death, legal issues, encounters with law enforcement, or damage to property of anyone operating or involved with using this fireworks controller. In no event will the author be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from the use of, or in connection with the use of this firework ignition controller. Look up your local and state laws regarding pyrotechnics before starting this project and make your own smart decisions when it comes to using it.

Fireworks are dangerous, so watch what you are doing and don't do anything stupid with this. Be careful when handling explosives. Clear the area before launching the fireworks, check to make sure your battery is disconnected while wiring up the fireworks. Once again, build at your own risk.

Okay, now that that's over, on to the fun part!
 
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systemf92 (author)  ak47bobbarke3 years ago
Check out my other instructable designed to use with this one: Fireworks Igniter
Attach the controller to the igniters using two conductor speaker cable. This is described in step 5 of the above instructable, Using the igniters.
pittu systemf923 years ago
how much can you ignit in series in a single channel.
systemf92 (author)  pittu3 years ago
I wouldn't recommend series ignition hookups because of the nature of series circuits: The first ignitor that burns up will most likely be the only one that will light. As soon as it burns up, the circuit breaks and none of the other ignitors on the circuit will continue to heat up.
I posted previously that I was going to use RJ-45 cables, but after checking pricing I decided to go with a 100' 25 pair cable between the controller and the first box at the distant end. Then, on the box at the distant end I'm going to split out the cable, using wires 1 thru 20 as the hot leads and 21 through 25 will be used to provide the ground. Wires 1 and 21 would control cue 1, wires 2 and 21 would control cue 2, wires 3 and 21 would control cue3 and so on. On the controller you would have a rotary switch where you would set it to control which cues you wanted to activate. Position 1 would control cues 1 through 20, position 2 would control 21 through 40 and so on till you get to position 6 of the switch where if selected would feed to a second rotary switch that would control cues 101 through 200. You could gang a whole bank of rotary switches and add an unlimited number of cues that could be controlled. When I have it finished I will post an instructable on making it. Sounds confusing, but really it isn't.
Mr.KC2 years ago
I built a 15 channel controller last year based on this design. It worked beautifully! However, this year it's not working. The lights light up but when I press the button, nothing happens. There's enough juice in the battery because if I bypass the controller and connect the lead to the battery, it works. I looked and I can't seem to find any loose connections. Any help?
pdionne Mr.KC1 year ago
Have you changed the battery? Also, if you are going to test the battery with a voltmeter, make sure you either load it down with a resistor in series with the battery or leave the battery in circuit and test it with the load applied. Sometimes batteries will test fine without a load, but when you put it under load it fails because the charge is not good enough to maintain the voltage under load.
using a voltmeter can help you determine your problem. just start at the output and work backwards until you find where your losing the voltage.
Aron3132 years ago
WOW thats a nice board! Haha i use my cell phone to light fireworks! :D
pammi.roxz2 years ago
hey i wanna do this project...

what is the AIM of this project..?

and what is the USES from this...plz replay me as soon as possible..!


Damnn good project dear
Ebay4 years ago
Where can I get a case like yours?

Thanks
docsmith Ebay2 years ago
Check out Harbor Freight item no. 35777. Low cost, I'm putting one together now, and it looks really promising.
Ebay Ebay4 years ago
Ok. Cool, Thanks
you could do what i did and use a Deal or No Deal case form a cheap game at Walmart
systemf92 (author)  Ebay4 years ago
I found mine at a resale shop, you might want to check around some places like that. Resale, goodwill, pawnshops, etc. I have heard that buying aluminum cases like these brand new is expensive. You might want to try looking for cases that are for specific products (i.e. www.amazon.com/dp/B001ECQOP8/ref=asc_df_B001ECQOP8988929) because they seem to be cheaper than general purpose aluminum flight cases. Of course, you'll have to cut out whatever random molding it might have inside. Hope this helps, and best of luck to you on choosing a case!
does it matter what side the resistor is on the LED? also, i would have thought the resistor would go on the positive side if it did matter.
As a rule, I try to put all my resistors, diodes etc on the negative leg of components. It makes debugging a circuit so much easier.
systemf92 (author)  airsoftjunke3 years ago
no, it does not matter what side of the LED the resistor is on.
pastaking2 years ago
I. Want. One. Now.
dceljo2 years ago
oohhh i know tha they are 470 ohm resistors from the colors and you mustnt answer me.

good project and i made one like this, thanks
dceljo2 years ago
pls can you answer me what are the resistors are the resistors what you put in the 470ohm resistors because i dont know.

DjProToJeeX2 years ago
Ya so we were lighting off fireworks with this with our permit. An Apparently this is considered a bomb detonation device and requires i think he said class 3 pyro license or a class 2. Ya so regardless it was taken and we all got 2,000$ tickets and our names taken for homeland security. This will most likely be classified as a destructive device since it was hooked up at the time they were correct. So basically get your class 3 license to do it. now i have to go to court and use the instructables said it was ok to make defense and didnt say it was illegal to make. also this may vary state to state. or depending what country i live in WI, USA They also told me without a class 3 old dynamite plungers are illegal unless the mechanism is disabled.. ALL IN ALL NOT FUN AND WASNT WORTH IT. but i tell you the thing worked so nice it was amazing. i did my own adjustments and had it setup to light off even more so mine was a about 2x the size. looked like a giant sound board. oh ya we also have 200 acres and they came on our property and still took it.
I have a Type 54 ATF Display Fireworks Permit. We use electric firing systems routinely, including both wired and wireless units. I've never heard of a "class 3 pyro license". Is that a Wisconsin thing?

As with all pyro projects, you need to be aware of your state and local laws and regulations. You can hardly expect someone posting instructions on an internet list to research every law in every state, county and municipality in the world. Take some responsibility for your own actions!

BTW, this project is far cheaper to make than *anything* you can buy. That said, you could probably not use it for professional displays for the very simple reason that you would not be able to get insurance that would cover use of a home-made firing panel.
California has 3 classes of pyrotechnic/special effects license (movie business) along with several other specific classes. I wasn't aware of any other states having a similar classification system. California is generally considered the hardest place to get a license. What you need to do (aside from getting an attorney) is review you states laws. Usually what you built would be considered a firing system and what you where firing would be considered the destructive devise. The firing system itself should not be illegal. It could be used to simply orchestrate and beautiful choreography of led lights for a show. Again your firing box doesn't contain any explosives or flammable liquids excetra. It seems to me if you permitted to fire fireworks and had only the fireworks within the permit then there should be no problem with firing them electronically. The electronic ignition of pyro is far safer than using fire and fuse. Seems to me the cops were over zealous and they don't have a case provided you've given the correct information and you had a legal right to posses and fire the explosive devices in your possesion.
ingkiller2 years ago
what kind of fuse did you use?
Andrew1812 years ago
Instead of a battery would a transformer work?

Transformer Specs:
120V AC to 12V DC 200mA
hhhdrb2 years ago
is there a way i could add leds so i knew quick if the key was on and for test an armd if so how
hhhdrb hhhdrb2 years ago
i found out how to do ill post when i complete my project
hhhdrb2 years ago
What size push fuse would i need
Hawkeye90094 years ago
What about telephone cable? Could run a couple of telephone cables and have 12 channels. Or is that wire not strong enough? I'm only 18, not good with electricity yet.
systemf92 (author)  Hawkeye90094 years ago
hmm, standard telephone cable is 22 or 24 AWG I believe, you would have to see how much the wire's resistance would affect the amount of power that could get to the ignitor and light it. It would depend on how long the telephone cable is. 24AWG copper wire has 19.1 ft/ohm of resistance, so a 20ft length would give you a little over 1 ohm of resistance through the wire. Since I haven't calculated the amperage required to ignite a fuse, I couldn't tell you if this will work or not. Hopefully someone else will read this with greater electronics knowledge than mine and be able to better answer your question. I got the resistance of 24AWG wire from this website.
i was thinking cat 5 cabel need 2 sets for 12
No you would need 18 awg wire minimum 16 awg would be better.
systemf92 (author)  rocketman2214 years ago
okay, 18AWG is what I happened to use.
dcx092 years ago
I built a smaller version with only 2 channels, but I used a 18volt dewalt battery, and the socket from a broken drill, works like a charm.
I wish I could find a better ematch though.
Nichrome wire (26 or 28 awg) wrapped around the fuse will light it without needing matches. Just make about 5 turns around a small screwdriver and it will slip over the fuse.
I tried 34 AWG nichrome wire but I could not get a continuity reading. Steel wool worked great though!
Ole bally2 years ago
It's a cool project, but I'm not sure why you need all the gadgetry! If you can get 'igniter cord' and standard explosives fuse line, you can set the whole display up and using the different burn rate of the igniter cord and the fuse line, set the whole deal to go off with either an electronic detonator or a match! Takes some planning and forethought...and a healthy dose of safety consciousness!
ya i think for me that igniter cord idea seems to work out its what we always did and seems to be easier to ensure its controlled no hickups or loose ends just quadruple check the paths. . we used to also start it with a punk and have one end tied to the bottom and wait for it go at random. Really throws people off cause it could be 20 minutes or 60. :)
kef44442 years ago
i have the same workbench !
it is also from black&decker i can see their logo on yours!
Snappy832 years ago
Fantastic tutorial! thanks for making it :)
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