Instructables

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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microman1715 years ago
Lots to read, so sorry if this has been said...

To figure out the fuse value the easy way, build a regular ignitor, and then put an ammeter (multimeter) in the circuit. Battery - - - (Meter) - - - Ignitor. Obviuosly you need to wire the return to negative, but the diagram shows to wire in series.

If the amps needed to make the nichrome (or steel wool) is say, 3 amps, you use a 3.5A fuse. Depends on what you can get.

I don't know why you would use a fuse here...? As long as your wiring and all parts are rated for higher amps (I reckon your wire is probably rated at about 10A).

Worst that can happen is you get a fire at the wool end... That's what you want anyway =)
Oh, and this is a great instructable!
systemf92 (author)  microman1712 years ago
Thank you!
That would be fine as long as you don't try to shoot more than one cue at a time or you would have to determine the maximum number of cues you want to fire at a time.

IMHO you are not talking massive circuitry here, and since the purpose is to blow things up, I wouldn't even worry about fusing it. The most that is going to happen is to inadvertently launch more cues than intended, which is just going to make it a better show anyway, so why bother. If there were an electronic timing circuit, then I could see doing that, or if there was an on-board battery charger that could overheat and short out, but besides that I wouldn't worry about it.
systemf92 (author)  microman1715 years ago
Okay, thank you, this is simpler than I had anticipated! As soon as I replace my broken multimeter I'll get to it. And, you're right. After building this I realized that there was no reason to have the fuse in the circuit considering it's only 12v and not too much power. Next time I won't complicate things. I had planned to just take it off of the parts list and instructions, but figured that that would confuse people when they saw it in the pictures.
cmazzei3 years ago
I work at Radio Shack I put together a parts list for everyone :-)
2300945 - 12v Sealed Lead Acid Battery
2750601 - Safety Toggle (we don't carry keylock switches)
2751533 - 3 Position Toggle Switch
2760079 - LED Mounting Hardware
2751547 - SPST Momentary Push-button Switches (We have a wide array. These were the most cost effective ones at my store.)
2740622 - Four Conductor Speaker Terminal
2701545 - Alligator Clips (Again, we carry many different packs and sizes)
6403058 - Battery Clips (Insulated Female Spade Connector)
2781221 - 22 Gauge Wire (Solid, Three spools: Red, Black, Green)
2700364 - Panel-Mount Fuse Holder (1 1/4" x 1/4")
2760022 - Green LED
2760041 - Red LED
2711115 - 470-Ohm Resistors
2711111 - 220-Ohm Resistors

*Note* We do not carry the exact same LEDs that systemf92 used. I spent some time doing the calculations. I used duncant20196's updated schematic and kept in mind systemf92's safety precaution with running the LEDs at a lower amperage. The 220-Ohm and 470-Ohm resistors would be paired up. Let me know what you think!!
What's the price? i want to do this project but i am on a pretty tight budget. i would also be willing to downsize on the number of channels.
I believe that list ran about $135. If I had planned ahead I would have ordered the stuff direct from East Asia for a third of the cost but I didn't stumble across this until a couple days ago. If you use FourSquare on your phone you can get 20% off of your purchase with your first check-in.
hhhdrb cmazzei3 years ago
wich ohm gets linked to led does it matter 470 0r 220
cmazzei hhhdrb3 years ago
I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter but I hooked the 470's to the LEDs. Resistors can be linked in series in any order. The total resistance of each series is just the sum of each resistor.
mmike1 cmazzei3 years ago
Hi I love Radio Shack but the employees at our local store are not nearly as technology inclined as you are. Could you transfer to the Katy, TX store plz.
cmazzei mmike13 years ago
Haha well tell them they better get on point...our headquarters are in Texas!
CCube552 months ago

how many watt do the resistors have to be?

So, I finally built my controller! It is a 20 channel version. I wired everything up correctly, but the leds don't light up at all. I tested the connections a little with a multimeter, and there is no current flowing in between the leds... What could I do?
Hello! Why is it that my leds glow very dimly with 2 or even 1 470k resistors? Please reply rapidly! Thank you!
r u using a 12v battery??
frankmeister11 months ago
I'm setting mine up to use RJ45 connectors to Rail-8 units from Pyrosure. I'm using bi-colour LEDs. Can anyone tell me if this schematic will work?

Thanks
It looks great, might have a go with that myself if you dont mind haha
mbragg19 months ago
Hi, I am using 30m of Speaker (13 strand) wire from the control board to the fireworks and when i ignite them the firework goes off but the Red LED only fades it doesnt go off, so can i use a bigger battery to push more power to fully burn the ignitor or will it blow all the LED's??? PLEAS HELP THANK YOU!
mbragg19 months ago
Hi, I am running 30m of speaker (13 strand) wire and when i ignite a firework it lights and gets fired but the LED stays on why is this? Could i use a bigger battery to push the power further down the wire or will this Blow the LED's?????? PLEASE HELP THANK YOU
Kitboga1 year ago
This will go great with my homemade fireworks. I've been learning how to make fireworks from this cool resource: howtomakefireworks.org. How expensive do you think it is to gather all the parts I need ?
RJCo1 year ago
Hi, I'm building a 24 channel version with my son. You've probably solved the fuse issue by now seeing as this is a couple years old but here's my take.

Ohm's law (Voltage=Current x Resistance) dictates running 12V through your 940 Ohm resistors produces a current just shy 13 mA, enough to light your LED but not ignite the steel wool. (I read an FAA article somewhere that says the lowest amperage to ignite steel wool is 45 mA...). That's good for your test circuits and such, just what you want.

Running the same 12V through the circuit without a resistor (when you fire for example) puts extremely high current through it since the resistance is only that inherent in the wiring (which in theory is supposed to be next to nothing). This would explain blowing the fuses given your set up. Yes, in theory the circuit should break when the match ignites and the steel wool gets ignited dropping the current to zero for that channel, but IF for some reason it doesn't (who knows what? stranger things have happened...) the heat build up in the wiring could have some serious effects (i.e. blow up the battery potentially). Putting a 1.5 Ohm resistor (say between the fuse and key switch) would drop your current to 8A and allow you to use a 10A fuse and still produce enough current to ignite the steel wool.

If I've misstated something, someone please chime in and let me know.
roverman1 year ago
A great cable would be irrigation wire for sprinklers it has a ton of conductors
If you need a battery charger this one should work:

http://www.monstercells.com/leadacidsmartcharger08afor12vleadacidbatterywith3stagesfloating.aspx
how do you charge the battery
adcurtin1 year ago
two things: I'd just use a 1k ohm resistor. Why waste time and money using 2 instead?

second, it is only 12v, but you are using a fair amount of current. an SLA battery can provide 10+ amps. Definitely worth having a fuse. I used some SLA batteries (a bit bigger than you use here) that were rated for 80ish amps output.
pyro_cat1 year ago
The test setting sends a low voltage current through the circuit to check continuity without supplying enough voltage to ignite the electric match.
Thanks sooo much im 13 years old and i manged to make this with ease thanks to you ill upload some photos of it later if I can.
Thanks again,
Charlie
dema12co4 years ago
Just looked at this and thinking of making my own, I saw you used two 470 Ohm resistors on the LEDs though, the Lite-on spec pages call out 2.6V and 30mA max, which would be a 330 Ohm max resistor. Was your LED circuit setting off your charges or was this just a mistake in the calcs?
systemf92 (author)  dema12co4 years ago
Right, I decided to not run the LEDs at max output all of the time, so made the calculations based on them running at 20mA. Also, just to be safe and reduce the chance of there being enough power running through the ignitor. It was just a precautionary measure, and I do not know whether using 300 Ohm resistors would set off the charge or not.
Why did you decide to use two 470 Ohm resistors in series on each side and not just a single 940 Ohm resistor? (or one close by to that value)
say it if i'm wrong but if you flick the arm switch there goes a current through the igniter?
Does this current ignite it?
samirsky2 years ago
Will standard (Estes) model rocket igniters light the fireworks?
yaly3 years ago
In picture no.6 what is the thing from radio-shack on the top left? is it a pair of wire cutters?
Not sure... I got one in my soldering kit but have no idea what it is.
jtho3462 years ago
I just made this by following your instructable this afternoon and was so disappointed when I got done. I was tired and my neck hurt from looking down soldering, so when i found that it didn't work, i was sad. I was just about to go to bed and try again tomorrow when i realized that i didn't put any test leads in the speaker terminals... turns out it works! awesome instructable! Thanks so much!
Cool! You should enter the R/C Contest!
molyneaux3 years ago
can you send me a list of all the parts and where you get them
I bought all the parts I needed on ebay. I've got around $100 in leds, switches, battery holders, ribbon cable, and everything else. I also set mine up where the test feature will only use 3v. to check it and will use 12v. when it is going to activate the cues.
Try Radio Shack....... also http://www.alliedelec.com/ is a good place to try but if you don't live in the United States idk where to send you
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