Not Your Ordinary Electronic Detonator(With Altoids Tin!!!)




This detonator uses only 1 AA battery, some switches, and a few simple electronics that can be had for FREE at any walmart or photo developing shop. (plus, it uses an altoids tin, which makes it just that much cooler)
This was largely inspired by the electronic detonators on this site, especially tetranitrate's
But I decided I didn't like the bulky power supply and multitude of plugs and jacks. So I changed it.


WARNING! this project uses Relatively high voltages and a decent ammount of current to boot.
DO NOT Hold the aligator clips in your hand when the plug on the end of the cord is inserted into the detonator!
DO NOT allow the Capacitor to discharge accross your Heart(it didn't kill me, but it was not a pleasant experience)
ALWAYS Discharge the capacitor with a screwdriver or a nail before working with it, even if you know it is not charged.
ALWAYS discharge the capacitor AGAIN after detonating something. the wires used explode(yes, I do mean explode) before all the current can be discharged and it will still pack a nasty punch.

Lastly, use common sense and don't do anything too idiotic(I know how hard this is going to be for a lot of you, but do try)

Step 1: Gather Materials

The materials required are as follows:

1 PCB from a disposable Camera that has a flash feature(you need to rip the camera apart)(these can be bought or you can just go into any place that develops film and ask for a few(walmart gave me a shopping bag full) I used a Kodak Hi-definition, but any one would work)
1 Capacitor from the camera(needs to be cut off of the camera PCB)
1 Altoids sours tin(I'm sure that a normal one would work too, but I like the roundness of the sours tins)
1 AA Alkaline battery(included with camera)
1 Push Button Normally Open switches
1 Mini toggle switch
1 1/8" Mono Jack
1 1/8" Mono Plug
~8" 24 Guage Solid Core Hookup Wire
As long as you like of 18 Guage Double stranded hookup wire(I fully reccomend the hardware store, they tend to be cheaper than the shack)
Aligator clips
Jewelry bead wire

Tools needed are as follows:

1 Drill
Drillbits of appropriate size for your components
Gaffer's Tape or Electrical tape(even ducttape would work)
Circular files of appropiate diameter for your holes
Soldering Iron

Step 2: Drill Out the Holes for the Components

Drill out the holes for your components in the altoids tin in whatever pattern feels most comfortable for you.

To do this you just center punch(poke it with something sharp) where you want the hole, put the tin in a vice, then use the proper drillbit for the part you're going to put there.

After you've drilled use a file to clean up the holes so you can actually put the components in the holes.

Step 3: Coat the Bottom With Insulating Tape

pretty straightforward, Coat the bottom of the tin with the insulating tape that you use most often, and then dry fit all the components and camera PCB in there.

Step 4: Tape Down PCB

Now use your tape and tape the PCB to the bottom of the tin. Then tape the capacitor that you clipped off on top of the PCB

Step 5: Solder All Your Wires

Solder the connections with the 24 guage solid core hookup wire, use the diagram below as a guide(I'm terrible at Paint)
Make absolutely sure that the capacitor is connected correctly. if you switch the poles it won't charge and you'll have to go in and switch the wires around.

Step 6: Make the Detonator Wires

Take that length of 18 guage wire you've got and solder the 1/8" mono plug to one end of it.

on the other end split the two strands of wire and strip the ends. then solder them to the aligator clips and clamp down the crimping sides.

Step 7: Harvest Some Detonator Wire

Grab some jewelry bead threading wire and clip about 2" off of it. Then take a lighter and burn off the nylon insulation. Once that's done, clip off any unburned insulation and harvest the individual wires that are stranded together.

alternately you could just get some 36 guage NiCr wire, that would probably work just fine as well.

Step 8: Use

1. Insert battery into battery holder of PCB
2. make sure detonator cords are UNPLUGGED
3. clip aligator clips to the jewelry wire or the nichrome and insert into whatever you feel like making go boom.(fuses can be slit down the middle and detonated that way. it's easier with home made, like tetranitrates )
4. keeping the wires unplugged walk as far away as your wires will let you
5. make sure the toggle switch is in the off position
6. plug in detonator wires
7. turn on the toggle
8. press the big red button and watch the show. if you hear a pop inside the pushbutton switch, release the switch, turn off the toggle, and allow the capacitor to recharge. then repeat from step 7.

if the explosive does not detonate after 5 tries, unplug the wires, wait about 1 minute, then go up there and see what went wrong.



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    95 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    dude if you're going to wire it wrong in your instructions but know you did it wrong then why post it, its just messy is what im saying. I tried it and it works, but how about some professionalism


    5 years ago

    Rewire them to the butten and hand it to someone to snap a picture haha


    7 years ago on Step 8

    Watch out with the circuit,make sure it's discharged before you touch it 4000 volts hurts,i know from personal expierience great ide i might try this out for fun


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I am stumped on how to learn this stuff and even bought an electronics kit and that has helped a little but i would like to know how you learned this?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable! by the way, do you mind if I post my own version of this? you will be given credit. Thanks!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Go ahead and post your own version, just make sure its significantly different (i.e. a different way of charging the cap or a different way of delivering the current) otherwise it's basically just a re-casing, and instructables already has plenty of detonators floating about.

    Good luck, and remember that limbs are meant to stay on your body.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I placed 2 9v batters a switch and a male USB plug to make my detonator. i raped a match head with Nicrome wire as the fuse starter works perfect for me and cost me like umm 1US just for the switch

    5 replies

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Great ible! just one note to all... Make sure you switch contacts are well separated and insulated because this type of charge can jump them if they are too close. could be dagerous (i got zapped but rockets going off could be bad too) cheers, Mspark400


    10 years ago on Introduction

    im making my own version of this with a box from a mini dv tape to set off model rockets, but dont u just need like a normal 3v current for it to work (2 AA or AAA batteries)???


    11 years ago on Step 8

    Isn't it easier just to take of the flash from the camera and then solder two wires on each pole? Is it just because you want to have a nicer chassi or did I miss something?