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Reason for Piezo BBQ lighter failures

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Reason for Piezo BBQ lighter failures

Unread postAuthor: azapa » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:35 pm

I have tried many ignitions, but the BBQ lighters (piezo pushbuttons) are so easy to install and small. But I, and everyone else it seems, hate the reliability.

I seem to get a days worth of fun (say 30 shots) of each at the most.

I have just found a nice Italian made one on a salvaged water heater, and want it to last. Here is what I think shortens life, but would like your opinions:

- wide spark gaps: I use 8 to 10mm, a great spark, but does it stress the Piezo crystal?

- mounting body of sparker in combustion chamber: the explosive forces may damage the crystal, no to mention the semi combusted hair spray (easy fix here)

- the red-buttoned made in China units (the 8 dollar ones) are just low quality units??

- use or not of earthing to close circuit: I always do that to get a bigger spark, but does it shorten life?

Ideas please, or tips for repairing if there are any.

Thanks
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Unread postAuthor: BigGrib » Fri Oct 05, 2007 1:55 pm

I don't honestly know if it shortens the life of the crystal or not having that "big" of a spark, but I do know that some of the ones that I have had in the past have worked for years. Now this isn't going out and firing every day but it might be a bag of spuds on the weekend. One thing I don't really condone mainly because of personal preferance is placeing the ignitor directly into the chamber. I personally use a 4" sch 40 chamber and drill two hole 2 1/4" apart around the diameter and insert two 2" x size 8 machine screws which brings the tips together about half and inch apart. I make the hole just barley big enough so you have to screw the screws into the chamber. I then put the nuts and washers and a rubber grommet on the inside and tighten everything down. Then the wires that came with your sparker I but a little U connector on the end and attach the wires to the posts. I have done this on every gun I have every made and it works wonders. I have however been thinking of going to a spark strip on my next one though.

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Unread postAuthor: Fnord » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:22 pm

I don't belive it causes any stress on the ignitor by using a large gap. The quartz inside will eventually wear down and crack from being struck every time you push the button.

The most common reason for failure I see is the "catch" that releases the hammer at a certain point gets worn out eventually (e.g. you can press the button down and it doesn't click). It's normally just a little piece of plastic, so this is expected.
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Unread postAuthor: azapa » Fri Oct 05, 2007 3:29 pm

_Fnord wrote: wear down and crack from being struck every time you push the button.


Thanks guys. I think you probably hit the nail on the head there: the crystal, probably in those 8 dollar jobs, just cracks after one two many pushes. That would explain why the spark does not disappear straight away, but instead becomes tiny and unusable....

any more ideas out there?
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:01 pm

Use a stun gun ignition.
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Unread postAuthor: azapa » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:42 pm

I would but it seems a little bulky and crude. And those 9v batts are expensive here. I may try a electric bbq igniter soon.

I love those darn Piezo for simplicity though.......
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:50 pm

The electric ones are just as simple, and have a more "Evil-Genius"-esque red button :D

You may want to try cleaning the contacts of a Piezo to get it working again.
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Unread postAuthor: jrrdw » Fri Oct 05, 2007 4:56 pm

Click here, to get a solution to the bulkyness.
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Unread postAuthor: BigGrib » Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:12 am

My solution to the stun gun ignition and the 9v battery pricing crisis is to get a AA battery powered bbq ignitor. the one i have is 12kV and has two sets of lead on the back of the unit which allows me to get two spark gaps about an inch long each(even though i keep em about 1/2 inch usually) they dont cost a lot and they work great + you dont have to worry about the price of a 9V battery.
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