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How do I rig a camera flash?

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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How do I rig a camera flash?

Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:15 pm

I'm trying to get a new ignitor, because my current one...broke. I'm going to use the camera flash method. I have a good idea of what to do, but just in case, could someone show me some pictures or a diagram of how much I could/should take off?
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Here's what I have thus far. There's a little battery connected to the circut board that can pack a punch.
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Unread postAuthor: GalFisk » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:38 am

Remove everything except the circuit board and whatever is directly attached to it.
Are you going to use an ignition coil with the flash, or just the flash itself?
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:22 pm

Will I need an ignition coil to make a spark?

EDIT: I touched the circut board with my pliers and the flash went off :shock:
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Unread postAuthor: LucyInTheSky » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:13 pm

I remember when i took my camer apart and took the battery out thinking if theres no battery theres not power, i picked it up and the caacitor discharged into my fingers.
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Unread postAuthor: SpudStuff » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:41 pm

Yes you probably will need a ignition coil to get a reasonable spark.
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Unread postAuthor: SpudBlaster15 » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:22 pm

You need roughly 5,000 - 7,000 volts to acheive an open air spark. Cameras produce about 300. Not even close. Using an ignition coil in conjunction with your camera, you could easily bump that voltage up to around 30,000.
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:22 pm

Where/how could I find/make an ignition coil?
Also, will I need the AA battery, or does my capacitator supply all the power?


EDIT: 100th post!
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:28 pm

LucyInTheSky wrote:I remember when i took my camer apart and took the battery out thinking if theres no battery theres not power, i picked it up and the caacitor discharged into my fingers.


Yeah same thing happened to me. After the first time I thought all the power was discharged, so when I dropped it I put my hand on it, on the metal prong coming from the capacitaor actually, and boy, that that sting.
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Unread postAuthor: Recruit » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:37 pm

Lol that happens every time I worked on my old tv. It had lots of loose
caps and resistors. It was lik 14 years old when I blew up the coil in the
picture tube by accident. My dad thought it was the funniest thing in the
world seeing me jump each time I got zapped.
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:58 pm

Everyone who messes with capacitors has been stung by them.

I think the only time it happened to me was when I was about 8 and dismantling a flash camera and unsuspectingly trying to remove the circuit board :P

Since then its been wires (or more usually any screwdriver I've got handy) across the terminals to make dam sure its not holding charge and even then I avoid touching both wires just for good practice :)

Nothing like having something logically nasty happen to make you understand why you shouldn't do something....
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:19 pm

Hotwired wrote:Everyone who messes with capacitors has been stung by them.

I think the only time it happened to me was when I was about 8 and dismantling a flash camera and unsuspectingly trying to remove the circuit board :P

Since then its been wires (or more usually any screwdriver I've got handy) across the terminals to make dam sure its not holding charge and even then I avoid touching both wires just for good practice :)

Nothing like having something logically nasty happen to make you understand why you shouldn't do something....


lol true that. We shouldn't be playing with electricity, but it's fun and no one's here to stop us.
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sun Oct 29, 2006 5:24 pm

So, can the capacitator be fully discharged before I work with it, or should I just not touch the circuts? I wonder is wearing gloves would help insulate.
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Unread postAuthor: Hotwired » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:18 pm

Erm.... its generally not nice to get a shock off the capacitor.

Get a screwdriver or something and touch both wires coming out of the capacitor. If nothing happens fine, its already discharged otherwise you'll get a fat spark flash from where the screwdriver is contacting the wires.

Either way its then safe to touch.

Just don't make a habit of touching capacitor wires with your fingers to see if they're charged :wink:
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Unread postAuthor: GalFisk » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:24 pm

You need to keep the battery, the cap only stores a charge from the battery.
Cut one of the leads going to the ends of the flash tube, and connect input and ground of the ignition coil in between. Connect the spark gap between output and ground of the ignition coil.
Keep the original charging button or connect a switch to the terminals. Connect the trigger switch to the contacts going to the shutter (usually two thin metal blades that sit close together).
When the trigger switch is pushed the flash will fire, dumping the charge acros the ignition coil, which will produce a high voltage spark for ignition.
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sun Oct 29, 2006 6:25 pm

Yeah I think it's already discharged. I've shocked myself twice, and I tried to pick it up with my pliers, and the flash went off it my face.
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