The Reusable and Wireless Igniter

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This project uses a simple RF link and two Arduinos to ignite something from up to 90 feet away!  I always found it annoying to mess with a bunch of wire, so I felt like creating something to fix that problem.  A wireless connection is not only safer, but also A LOT cooler.  This wireless ignitor can be used to ignite fireworks, model rockets, and more!

This is PART ONE of a three part project I am designing, so stay tuned for the rest!! (following me is a good way to do that) (Hint: It involves a cannon...)

Disclaimer:  This is not intended to be used as anything but a safe way to ignite fireworks, a model rocket, etc.  Be cautious whenever you are building this or using this device.  I take no responsibility for any harm done due to any carless action or a failure to follow the proper safety measures.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Sparkfun wish list with all of the parts here

Component Supplier Price
Arduino x2  Sparkfun buying guide, Radioshack $50-60
RF link modules Sparkfun/Sparkfun $9
Enclosure x2 Sparkfun, Radioshack $7-12
Toggle switch Sparkfun, Radioshack $3-5.50
On/off switch x2 Sparkfun, Radioshack $.75-4
Speaker(optional)  Sparkfun, Radioshack $2-4
Glow plug Amazon $6
LEDs Sparkfun, Radioshack $1-5.50
5V Relay Sparkfun, Radioshack $2-5
Assorted resistors Sparkfun, Radioshack $8-$15
8-Pin Sockets Sparkfun, Radioshack $1-2
Total   ~$85-130

--Wire (for antennae)
--A few male headers
--Something to use as a cushion for the arduino, or some standoffs
--File and/or sandpaper
--Soldering iron/solder
--Wire cutter/stripper
--Miscellaneous screws, nuts, etc.
--Big alligator clip
--Battery holder for 2 AA batteries (will be modified)
--9V Battery with connectors
--1.5V AA Batteries x2
drerrico7 months ago
elegantly simple...congratulations...dr errico
ameador7 months ago
I made a remote detonator from walky talkys here lately and it works great but my ignition source was a broken Christmas light that I can only use once. I've been searching for so long for a reusable ignition source and now I have finally found it. Thanks for the great Idea of using a glow plug. I will have my detonator up soon of you want to check it out. It will be my first project posted.
Kaze41599 months ago
Are two full Arduino boards really necessary?
You can pick up multi channel RF remotes for under $5 on ebay
I was thinking the same thing. There are tons of cheap microcontrollers he could have used...
nodcah (author)  Kaze41599 months ago
Absolutely not. The VirtualWire library works with an attiny85 (~$3 here).  But, this can easily modified to transmit/interpret other data besides a button press...

theifner20109 months ago
Depending on size and build of the project you might try a spark plug or stun gun to create a spark or s simple element wire like used in a light bulb. Just a thought
I would recommend using a nut on the igniter and an appropriately sized ring terminal. You can also get a connector to attach to the top of the igniter instead of soldering directly to it since the solder doesn't stick very well anyway. Look in the related items on the Amazon page.

Personally I would ditch the igniter entirely and go with a car ignition coil instead. You can only ignite gas with it though unless you have a heavy enough driver circuit to get a continuous arc.
nodcah (author)  The Lightning Stalker9 months ago
I totally agree, but I tried using this, but the current needed was too high.  I wanted it to be powered by another 9V battery at most, and the glow plug only required 1.5V.  As for using a nut, that is by far the best possible improvement I could've made, but I didn't have the time to order it. Thanks for the response!

The right size nut should be available at any hardware store. It's also a good idea to have a jar full of assorted nuts and bolts.
TweakGeek19 months ago
How durable are the glow plugs? Would they stand up to repeated use to ignite a small cannon charge of black powder? I have an application this would be perfect for.
ac-dc TweakGeek19 months ago
No, the moment the powder explodes it'll destroy the glow plug.
Not if you use it to ignite a cannon fuse.
I'm looking for an easy, repeatable ignition for the powder. Any suggestions?

I'm not looking to make the cannon rapid-fire by any means, but just coming up with a "geek" method of ignition and not lighting a fuse. I like how this project has the countdown beep.
I'm not sure this is the best way to do it but I'd bet these guys can get you there.
ac-dc9 months ago
lol, $85+ to do something that otherwise only needs a piece of scrap wire.

There's a saying that goes "Just because you can do something that doesn't make it a good idea". The most simple, reliable, cost and time effective solution to a problem is the right one. Trust me on this, some day with age and wisdom you will understand better.
TweakGeek1 ac-dc9 months ago
That is assuming that you have to buy all of this stuff brand new. Some people already have a lot of this stuff laying around the house and it will cost next to nothing to build. Not to mention the experience and knowledge you'll get that will help you in other projects.

Sometimes it isn't about the bottom dollar.
nodcah (author)  TweakGeek19 months ago
I needed to buy a case, the relay and the glow plug. That made my total around $10... And this project is also a gateway to other wireless projects.

daemonral9 months ago
This is a great idea. I think two arduinos are much, but still very nicely done.
The glowplug has given me the last part to my project.

tyscof9 months ago
Wouldn't this be much less expensive if you used a TV remote to trigger the IR instead of a second arduino?
nodcah (author)  tyscof9 months ago
This project uses radio waves, which is different than IR, but it might be possible. That would also make programing the receiver harder. Also, the tv remote signal might contain a secure signal pattern in the communication. It's a good idea, but to save money you could use an Attiny85 chip (which isn't used in this ible because I couldn't figure out how to get it to work with VirtualWire...)
Thanks for your suggestion,
Klappstuhl nodcah9 months ago
Also fire will be registered by the IR receiver as a signal, so it does seem more suitable to use radio waves.
ynze9 months ago
Nice and useful (not only for launching rockets, that is :-))
nodcah (author)  ynze9 months ago
Lol. Thanks!!

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