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Camera Flash Ignition Question Thread

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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Camera Flash Ignition Question Thread

Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:34 pm

OK, I have read the wiki article, and I believe that I will be able to build a camera flash ignition system for my upcoming project. My one concern is that I have heard this type of system is very dangerous, and the risk of a shock is very high. Can someone answer the following questions for me:

1) Why is this type of system considered dangerous, and why is the risk of a shock high?

2) How can I prevent myself from being a victim of a shock?

3) When taking apart the camera and assembling the ignition system, what parts of the camera internals should not be touched? Is there even a risk of getting a shock just by accidentally touching the camera internals? How can I prevent getting shocked while I build?

Further questions may arise while I am constructing this, and I will just post them in this thread. Any other miscellaneous tips or advice that you may have would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Unread postAuthor: noname » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:45 pm

It's not that dangerous; it makes you flex muscles randomly and if you zap someone they kind of spaz out for a minute or so, but it's not a big deal. When you're taking one apart and modifying it, it's highly likely that you'll zap yourself. I did several times on my first one, so expect it. :D
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Unread postAuthor: mopherman » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:54 pm

try not to scream when you shock yourself. i did and my dad thought my arm was cut off or something
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Unread postAuthor: sandman » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:56 pm

your ok, i wired 10 together, zaped myself and im still here
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Unread postAuthor: mopherman » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:58 pm

sandman wrote:your ok, i wired 10 together, zaped myself and im still here

why would you do a crazy thing like that??
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Unread postAuthor: frankrede » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:04 pm

I highly doubt he wired 10 together correctly.
That could be lethal.


Take the battery out and use a screw driver to touch the leads on the flash bulb to empty the capacitor.
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Unread postAuthor: sandman » Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:16 pm

rail gun, and yes i did it right
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:16 pm

I used a wrench to touch the leads, which, I learned the hard way, can still shock you after the battery is out. If you don't get shocked at least once then you are very lucky.
It's ~300v, which isn't much, but the current is higher, so it hurts more than a grill sparker. It also persists longer...
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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:37 pm

Thanks for the replies; though I wasn't exactly looking for advice like

mopherman wrote:try not to scream when you shock yourself. i did and my dad thought my arm was cut off or something


or

noname wrote:It's not that dangerous; it makes you flex muscles randomly and if you zap someone they kind of spaz out for a minute or so, but it's not a big deal. When you're taking one apart and modifying it, it's highly likely that you'll zap yourself. I did several times on my first one, so expect it. :D


:lol:

But anyways, frankrede, if I do this, will the circuitry be safe to touch, and can I expect to avoid a shock?

Thanks
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:19 am

Yeah, disconnect the AA battery then short out the big cap with some piece of metal (screwdriver works very well), or a resistor if you want to avoid damaging the cap..

Another option is to connect a Multimeter to the cap while you're working so you'll see instantly if it is charged or not.

Oh, and the cap makes a loud "pop" when it discharges through a short, dont freak out.
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Unread postAuthor: fastfox89 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:56 am

Will any ignition coil work for this set up or is their a certain one that i should get.

thanks kris
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Unread postAuthor: pat123 » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:02 am

I've been shocked by one a few times it left a little burn mark on my hand but it doesnt really hurt
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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:09 pm

OK, here is what my setup should look like so far (it is copied from the wiki, but altered to include everything, and it looks cleaner too :P )

<a href="http://s94.photobucket.com/albums/l112/rmich732/?action=view&current=CameraFlashIgnition.jpg">Camera Flash Ignition Setup</a>

Anyone see any apparent problems? Comments are welcome (and appreciated!)

Thanks
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Unread postAuthor: pyrogeek » Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:17 pm

Just touching the capacitor (the large black cylinder) once may not do it. I had to short one out about 3 times with a screw driver before it was completely dead.
So, what I do when I mess with cameras is I take the case apart part way, and dunk the whole think in a bucket of water. It shorts the cap out, and it doesn't fry anything. I have done this about a half dozen times, and haven't been shocked once.
Of course, if this is a nice Nikon or something that you intend on using as a camera, this may get water inside somewhere you don't want it. So, just use this method if you are just after the flash circuitry.
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Unread postAuthor: Velocity » Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:41 pm

pyrogeek wrote:Just touching the capacitor (the large black cylinder) once may not do it. I had to short one out about 3 times with a screw driver before it was completely dead.
So, what I do when I mess with cameras is I take the case apart part way, and dunk the whole think in a bucket of water. It shorts the cap out, and it doesn't fry anything. I have done this about a half dozen times, and haven't been shocked once.
Of course, if this is a nice Nikon or something that you intend on using as a camera, this may get water inside somewhere you don't want it. So, just use this method if you are just after the flash circuitry.


hmm, this is very interesting... I am after only the flash circuitry. Are you sure that it does not do any damage to the camera internals? Also: Is there any chance that the camera will retain the charge in the capacitor, and would be able to shock me even after it was dunked in the water?

Once again, sorry for all of these questions. I only have the most basic understanding of electronics, and I am just trying to insure that this build goes flawlessly.
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