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Homemade sparker.

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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Homemade sparker.

Unread postAuthor: warhead052 » Mon May 16, 2011 5:15 pm

Does anyone have any tips on making a sparker? I have checked out the reference guide, and looked on youtube and what not, and have really only found 1 version I like. The spark strip. I don't quite know how to make one, for instance, should I use a usually open push button switch, with a 9 volt? Tell me what you think, and if it would work.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Mon May 16, 2011 5:59 pm

A spark strip is just an electrode configuration, you need something other than a 9 volt battery to generate high voltage and make it work. Look at camera flash circuits.
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Unread postAuthor: jor2daje » Mon May 16, 2011 6:02 pm

You need a high voltage source with a spark strip, a nine volt battery will not create a spark by itsellf, you can use a piezo electric sparker from a lighter or a more durable one from a BBQ that you can get at home depot. Or you can make your own transformer from a disposable cameras flash circuit, a stun gun lso works well. If you don't need it to be portable, flyback generator from an old monitor or a neon light transformer works very well. There's plenty of things that can easily be adapted.

As far as the sparks strip goes, they really aren't very hard, a simple way is embedding a piece of steel into some PVC then cutting notches in it to create the spark gap. Using pcb board also works well and you could do some cool stuff with etching. You don't have to make your own sparkstrip you could just use a spark plug from a car or lawnmower.
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Unread postAuthor: Hubb » Mon May 16, 2011 6:42 pm

It seems that the bigger issue you have right now is how to generate a spark. That has been covered. Once you have an appropriate way to make the spark, then you should look into making a spark strip. There are many images throughout this forum and the wiki on how to do this. Here is the one I've used on at least three different occasions and have had good success with:

Image

The neat thing about this spark strip is that it has all the features I would need but still able to be made with only hand tools. It is equipped with a fan support and three adjustable strips. The purpose of the adjustability is to get the spark strip as efficient as possible, so that I could use different spark generators as efficient as possible. I also designed it to be able to be quickly removed from the launcher as well. My last version (which is not pictured) had an adjustable bolt / nut in the center spark as well.

I thought I had a how-to with more specific information on this strip, but I was unable to locate it through the search.
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Unread postAuthor: warhead052 » Mon May 16, 2011 8:31 pm

Hubb, I have seen it. I passed through it a few times going through google. I like the idea, and I may use it.

Jack and Jor, I might just figure out a way with a capacitor or two to charge up the 9v a bit more. Just to make a bigger spark.

If I don't get access to a high voltage battery or something along those lines, I will just use a electric bbq igniter.
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Unread postAuthor: saefroch » Mon May 16, 2011 8:44 pm

warhead052 wrote:a way with a capacitor or two to charge up the 9v a bit more... ...high voltage battery
Cannot tell if trolling...

One uses a battery to charge a capacitor, as discharging a capacitor through a battery will fry it and will most likely make it explode. Batteries of sufficiently high voltage to produce a spark practical for ignition do not exist.

I suggest just getting a BBQ igniter or other piezoelectric sparker, they're the best newbie ignition, I used one for a few years. The gains from flash circuits and stunguns are minimal unless you're dealing with a high-mix hybrid.
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Unread postAuthor: warhead052 » Mon May 16, 2011 8:55 pm

I did not mean discharge through the battery, I meant hook up the battery, disconnect, and then discharge the capacitor. Sae, to be honest, why would I troll on a website that has been the most useful to me for this sort of stuff?
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Unread postAuthor: saefroch » Mon May 16, 2011 9:04 pm

Why do I troll at all? :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: Hubb » Mon May 16, 2011 9:36 pm

A spark is a spark. There is no need to try and overcharge a battery or anything to make a bigger spark for a launcher. A piezo igniter will fire a combustion launcher just as good as a stun gun igniter will.

If you're wanting to go the route of hooking up circuits and whatnot, I would suggest using a camera flash system. That's about as technical you'd probably need to get to fire a combustion launcher, and those aren't hard to hook up.
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And let me throw this at you: For all the time I've been on this site, I've yet to see where a spark strip makes for a better combustion than a single spark. The power increase is there, but it's not going to be anything you will notice without special equipment to measure it with.

With that said, ask yourself if you really need a spark strip to begin with. I've also built a spark plug for my hybrid that works quite well. It is much easier to build than the spark strip and may just be all you need.
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Unread postAuthor: Crna Legija » Mon May 16, 2011 9:38 pm

warhead052 wrote:I did not mean discharge through the battery, I meant hook up the battery, disconnect, and then discharge the capacitor. Sae, to be honest, why would I troll on a website that has been the most useful to me for this sort of stuff?



then you would only have 9v in the capacitor. What you need to do is read.

you need to get a a coil that will make the 9v into something like 30,000v, you can do this with a camra flash circuit or a car igniton coil.

or you can get a fly back transformer and no cap same a neon sign transformer.
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Mon May 16, 2011 10:51 pm

I dislike piezo ignition, the force you need to put in feels weird.

An electric switch, well that's as light as you care to make it.


If you can get a stun gun, use a stun gun circuit.

If not, look for battery powered gas ignition boxes.

If not, you can make a circuit which does what they do:

1) Battery power of 1.5-3V.

2) Disposable flash camera, use to bump up battery voltage to about 300V.

3) Charge a metal foil capacitor of about 0.22uf.

4) Have the capacitor in series with a 200-300V spark gap and the primary of an ignition coil.

5) Use the secondary of the ignition coil as your high voltage ignition.


What that does is charge the capacitor to whatever voltage the small spark gap arcs at.

Every time it reaches a high enough voltage to jump across, the capacitor discharges through the primary of the ignition coil.

The ignition coil then produces about 20-30 thousand volts on its secondary.

Back to charging the capacitor again and the cycle starts over.

No manual switching except to connect the battery, it will keep sparking automatically until the battery goes flat.


Before it's asked, no you cannot use the electrolytic capacitor already on the camera flash board. Metal foil type is the requirement with much lower capacitance for fast charging but with enough energy to ignite a mix with the spark.


This is what it looks like in practice:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5zPoKGDRfk[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOpsWctz9wk[/youtube]
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Unread postAuthor: warhead052 » Tue May 17, 2011 8:54 am

I think I will go the route of either stun gun or electric ignition.
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Tue May 17, 2011 8:58 am

warhead052 wrote:I think I will go the route of either stun gun or electric ignition.


... because stun guns are famously powered by miniature hamster wheels ;)
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Unread postAuthor: Labtecpower » Tue May 17, 2011 9:06 am

warhead052 wrote:I think I will go the route of either stun gun or electric ignition.



... because stun guns are famously powered by miniature hamster wheels


I really feel like making another stupid illustration right now :D
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Unread postAuthor: warhead052 » Tue May 17, 2011 9:17 am

Thats not what I meant guys.... I meant a electric bbq igniter...

Oh and I forgot to add, hotwired, I have seen those videos before...
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Last edited by warhead052 on Tue May 17, 2011 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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