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how do I remote control light a candle? Answered

I was hoping to light a candle using some kind of remote control. It can be wired. It's to a candle suspended in mid air using chains. I wanted to light it remotely for special effect. :) Would appreciate any thoughts on this! Thanks very much!

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Noah Legroom (author)2012-07-17

I've actually done this for theatrical productions. After trying various methods and materials, I found a model rocket ignitor positioned next to the candle wick with a small piece of flash paper wrapped around them both worked best. The ignitor would immediately and easily ignite the flash paper which would produce enough of a flame to melt the wax on the wick and ignite the wick. The down side to this method is that it had to be reloaded for each use. On the up side, it was reliable. It worked a high enough percentage of the time to be used in a professional theatrical setting.

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speret (author)2011-08-20

Did you ever have any luck with this? I would love to hear your results. I'm attempting to do the same effect with an oil lamp.

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seandogue (author)2009-09-13

hotwire ignitor. 30ga nichrome wire, adjustable constant current source (LM317 based circuit) running somewhere in the range of 2-3A will trip the ignition.

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Jack A Lopez (author)seandogue2009-09-17

Dumb question: Is this little heating element you describe intended to be reusable? I mean nicrome wire is pretty tough, resistant to oxidation, high temperature, as long as you don't melt it. Is this the reason for using a constant current source? To limit the power going into the wire, and keep it in a comfortable temperature range. If reusable, your device, would maybe be superior to many others, e.g. model rocket ignitors, intended to be used only once.

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seandogue (author)Jack A Lopez2009-09-17

Nichrome is reusable IFF it doesn't fail due to overcurrent or due to other factors like sheer at high temperatures When used with model rocketry, I suspect that even if the wire didn't fail on its own (via over-current) the exhaust from the nozzle would probably take the already red hot wire and melt thru or sheer it, so no, not suggesting it for reuse in rocket starters. It also may not deliver enough energy on its own to the solid rocket motor to trip ignition. Can't say, haven't tried. If you have a spare motor you could test the idea. I *do suspect, though that the wire would end up failing.. Because the wire has a very low resistance per foot, unless it's length is know in advance, along with the length and gauge of feed wire (to calculate it's losses), one can't come close to determining the appropriate voltage at which to power it without either underpowering or over powering it. The constant current source is to prevent premature failure of the wire while still delivering the heat. I've also used programmed PWM to improve warm-up time, but it's a bit complicated for the application, and I doubt the author wants to play around with programming a microcontroller to get the ideal burn... The way I viewed it was as follows: A test ignitor is connected to the current source (while it's off) and the current is adjusted for zero output Tthe power is turned on and the output current is incrementally increased until the wire glows dull to moderately red hot. IME, that current is in the range of ~2A for 30ga nichrome wire. Power is removed. The actual ignitor is "connected" to the candle and wired into the current source. Power is applied, and poof, the candle lights. Power is removed immediately following ignition.

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Jack A Lopez (author)seandogue2009-09-17

Thanks for the reply and clarification.

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seandogue (author)seandogue2009-09-14

No need for accelerants btw. The hotwire, if placed properly in a short "U" around the wick, will generate sufficient heat to cause the paraffin to vaporize and ignite.

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orksecurity (author)2009-09-13

Personally, for this application I would go with an electric candle. You need to run the wire anyway...

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Ro]x[as (author)2009-09-12

Hmm… model rocket igniter maybe? The problem with a candle is that you have to melt the wax in the wick a bit before it lights. I think there was an instructable about lighting fireworks by putting a lot of current through 1/4 watt resistors, but I don't know if it'd work for a candle.

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Grathio (author)Ro]x[as2009-09-13

Model rocket ignitor is definitely worth looking into. To get the thing to light I'd probably prime the wick area with a small bit of lighter fluid. That would provide a little bit of fuel to melt the wax so the wick can do its thing. Another option for an ignitor is running 9 volts across a small bit of steel wool. A 9v battery should work fine. Just use a few strands. If you use too much it won't catch.

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Re-design (author)Grathio2009-09-13

If the steel wool doesn't work try dryer lint. It's a great fire starter and should work. The lighter fluid will evaporate very quickly as will most liquids. I hope the candle is not over anything flamable in case whatever you try falls off while still burning.

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