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how can I make an easy spark gap? Answered

I made a potatoe cannon with PVC tubes, and I have an electric bug zapper as the power source, but I need some sparks to fire it up.If someone has got the circuit´s plans please live a comment.

5 Replies

nurdee1 (author)2012-01-07

I would take apart an old electonic lighter and use the piezoelectric igniter

Here is a tutorial on taking one of these apart. It is part of my instructable.


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Jack A Lopez (author)2012-01-04

One thing electric sparks get used a lot for is for igniting fuel in internal combustion engines. At the heart of these "ignition systems", is a kind of electrical transformer called an "ignition coil" (Also called "spark coil". Also called "induction coil".  In order to make sparks with such a coil, it must be driven electrically, which is to say the current to its primary winding must be switched on and off repeatedly.    A lot of instructables have been written on how to use such a coil, and a driver circuit for it,  to produce sparks, um, here:

Anyway, that's the usual trick. But in your case, you said you had a bug zapper of some kind.  It is likely that this bug zapper also has transformer of some kind in it.  You might be able to to sort of substitute that transformer into the circuits others have presented for use with automotive type ignition coils.  This is assuming that, for your bug-zapper-transformer, you can figure out which wires are the primary winding, and which are the secondary.   Anyway, that might work, but it depends a lot on the character of the transformer.

Guessing there is something unsatisfactory about the way the bug zapper is already built, the way its transformer is already driven, but not sure what it this dissatisfaction is?  Perhaps it does it not produce sparks. Or it only produces sparks when a bug (insect) crawls into the gap.

Anyway, I think the 'ibles linked above will help.  If you need more foundation on how this stuff actually works, there's always Wikipedia

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Vyger (author)2012-01-03

Use a spark plug, its what they were designed for. They do make small ones to fit small engines, like chain saws and weed eaters. drill the right size hole, tap it for the threads and put the plug in. Attach the wires and tada, controlled spark.

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LargeMouthBass (author)2012-01-03

I don't quite understand. You say you have a bug zapper. If you can get a spark from the output of the bug zapper, then that should ignite your fuel and air mixture.

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iproberry1 (author)2012-01-03

maybe you can use a lighter that has no gas in it and use the spark thingie

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