Instructables

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! See the other parts by visiting my page!


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
tools.JPG
Components:

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

Tools:
--Wire (for antennae)
--Perfboard
--A few male headers
--Something to use as a cushion for the arduino, or some standoffs
--Drill
--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

Step 2: Getting VirtualWire

All of the code involved in this project is centered around an Arduino library called VirtualWire, by Mike McCauley.  This library pushes the cheap RF link modules to their limits.

1.)  This library can be downloaded directly from here, or on the website here.

2.)  Find the location of your Arduino sketchbook by checking your Arduino preferences.

3.)  Make a folder called "libraries" if it's not already there and place the VirtualWire folder in it.

4.)  Open arduino and you're done!


drerrico11 months ago
elegantly simple...congratulations...dr errico
ameador11 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.
Kaze41591 year 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)  Kaze41591 year 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...

-Nodcah
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 Stalker1 year 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!

-Nodcah
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.
TweakGeek11 year 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.
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.
http://www.skylighter.com/mall/ignition.asp#elec
ac-dc1 year 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.
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)  TweakGeek11 year 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.

-Nodcah
daemonral1 year 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.

Thanks.
tyscof1 year 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)  tyscof1 year 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,
-Nodcah
Also fire will be registered by the IR receiver as a signal, so it does seem more suitable to use radio waves.
ynze1 year ago
Nice and useful (not only for launching rockets, that is :-))
nodcah (author)  ynze1 year ago
Lol. Thanks!!
-Nodcah