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Camera flash ignition - my experience

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Camera flash ignition - my experience

Unread postAuthor: vxrtol » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:17 am

Hello fellow crazy people.

I know there has been posts on camera flash ignitions but I would like to share my experience. As you can guess my circuit board looked nothing like the one in the very good 'how to' here. Credit for the inspiration.

To start with I found a camera, a non disposable type.
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After opening I searched and searched for the schematic. Think this was closest
Image

Regardless of how it's laid out, these are the parts required.

The main transformer - biggest in size. My camera also had a tiny flash inducing transformer. Not required

A transistor. This has 3 Legs and black in colour and is responsible for turning the dc from the battery to a pulsed form required by the transformer.

A diode. This is a black cylinder with a wire through the middle. This rectifies the pulsed form.

One or more resistors. Mine has one between power in and a feedback coil within the transformer. If you have more which could also include surface mount on the other side of the board, proceed with caution. If the resistor lies intermittent with the above list keep.

A capacitor - remove the supplied electrolytic taking note of its location and familiarising yourself with where you will fit the replacement when you cut the circuit board down. I started with one 0.1 micro farad PP capacitor but I've doubled that now.

This shows a ignition from an old gas cooker I scavenged a spark gap from. Guessing they are 200 - 230v breakdown, ebay is another option. For better results try to find higher rated ones. This circuit works perfectly on 3v which is double the normal. Expect 500 - 600v if supplied with 3v
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Then I also found a scrap boiler with electronic ignition. The coil is the only part required but platinum electrodes are worth keeping.
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My camera circuit after the chop down. For reference power in is one side of the resistor. Power out is after the diode. Ground stays constant and daisy chains between parts.
Image

I'm having problems with my photo bucket but I'll post a vid shortly.
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Re: Camera flash ignition - my experience

Unread postAuthor: dart guy » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:41 am

Hey guys how would a 400v capacitor make a difference?
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when life gives you lemons... make root beer and leave the world wondering how you did that :D
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Re: Camera flash ignition - my experience

Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:22 am

dart guy wrote:Hey guys how would a 400v capacitor make a difference?


If it was charged to 400 volts it would. The camera circuits does 300 or so depending on the input.

I have a feeling you're reading the rating...
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Re: Camera flash ignition - my experience

Unread postAuthor: vxrtol » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:38 am

The capacitor must match or rate higher than your spark gap.

Whilst the over powered circuit is pushing 500/600 volts, the cap is only getting to 200v (in my case) before the spark gap dumps it through the second coil.

I'm using 2 x 400v 0.1 micro farad in parallel to give 400/ 0.2 respectively. Do not use electrolytic caps as they are unsuitable for high speed charge/ discharge.
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Re: Camera flash ignition - my experience

Unread postAuthor: vxrtol » Sat Dec 07, 2013 9:10 pm

Latest video Image

Since my last post I have upgraded to a bigger coil. I got this one from a gas hob, and it has 2 secondary coils. I have joined these to give me one large secondary and lots of power.
Image

I've also made a discovery. Multiple Spark gaps/ gas discharge tubes work in series and results are excellent
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