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Sparker not working.

Post questions and info about combustion (flammable vapor) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about fuels, ratios, ignition systems, safety, and anything else relevant.
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Sparker not working.

Unread postAuthor: EvilFish » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:52 am

Recently I have made a simple combustion cannon, for which the ignition seems to be not working correctly. as the ignition, I used a simple bendy necked long necked lighter, for which i drilled a hole for the head, the epoxied it in. I have been shooting it for most of the afternoon with my friend, when it suddenly stopped working. we figured out that the sparker in the lighter is not working when we click it. has anyone else ever had a Pizzo junk out on them before after only an hour or so of use? I can't figure out what the hell is wrong with it.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:07 am

They do occasionally stop working after repeated abuse, after all they're meant to be disposable in most cigarette lighters.
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Unread postAuthor: EvilFish » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:24 am

Yes, but I have only been using this for maybe 45 minutes at most, no more than about 30 shots. is that "reapeated abuse"? don't they normally last longer?
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:52 am

Does it still make a "CLICK"?

If not:
Either the piezo unit is ruined (which can easily replaced) or something is loose inside the lighter, making the button no longer pressing on the piezo.

If it still clicks: some of the wiring must've come loose or the isolation around the wires melted. You have the long-necked lighter epoxied into the chamber wall? Then it has probably leaked air through the lighter, these are not airtight. The hot gases melt stuff and bye bye goes the wiring.
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:44 am

Put your tongue on the tip of the lighter where the spark is supposed to be and pull the trigger. That'll tell you if the piezo is still working and if voltage is getting to the tip. (I suppose you can't get your tongue far enough into the chamber to do this, so just lick your finger and use that.)

Piezo's do crap out occasionally but for a lighter the most common failure is a brake in the wiring or the spark gap has gotten too big, or too small, or too mucked up. What are you fueling with? A pure gas like propane or a crappy aerosol can like RightGuard or Aquanet?

Remove the lighter. Remove the long flexible neck from the lighter. Install two pointy screws in your chamber as the spark gap. Run wires from the lighter's piezo to the screws. That will make it much easier to test and service the sparker. And the sparker will work better since the spark is out near the center of the chamber.

You might take a look at this page for what the insides of a similar lighter looks like.
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Unread postAuthor: EvilFish » Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:50 am

Wow, thanks for all the answers. sorry i havent been able to answer for a few days. I have done the tests you said, and the button is still clicking, but there is definently no spark. I think the wiring may be faulty, but i'll open it up tommorow and see.
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Unread postAuthor: EvilFish » Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:27 am

finally got around to opening it up. all the plastic stuff around the wires had melted off, leaving the wires touching. I'm probably going to see if i can surround the wires in insulation foam or something.
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