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No spark - less than 1 mm gap - still no spark

Discuss miniature cannons built from things such as pill bottles and pen caps.
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No spark - less than 1 mm gap - still no spark

Unread postAuthor: spudbud101 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:20 am

I built a mini today... Sickest looking thing EVER...

Anyway, I can't get a spark. I am using a disposable BIC stick light sparker hooked up to a length of telephone wire then soldered onto some paper clips which go into the chamber. I got some sparks earlier today, and I think the sparker might be wearing down a bit. My question is if the path is to long. Like from the sparker through the wire through PAPER CLIPS.

Paper clips seemed a good choice before. Now the whole thing is glued together with a marginal space of getting it apart without too much damage.

What can I do?
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Unread postAuthor: Pete Zaria » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:37 am

Telephone wire isn't very well insulated - there's a chance it's just shorting out through the phone cord before the juice even gets to your spark gaps.

Try re-wiring with some better insulated wire (speaker wire works fine for BBQ sparkers and similar...). I'd try that first.

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Unread postAuthor: spudbud101 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:38 am

Okay, I have some around here, thanks. Just a fleeting question: what do I do if speaker wire doesn't work? Could it possibly be the paper clips?

EDIT: Can't find the speaker wire, but I do have a PSU from my old computer... Could I use that wire?
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:54 am

Before you go changing the wires, split them apart (if the wire you have is the type where the two wires are stuck together) or just use somthing to hold them apart, so that there is no chance of a spark jumping through the insulation. If it still doesn't work, try scraping the end of the paper clips with somthing to make sure they don't have any dirt or impuritys on them that are stopping the spark. If it doesn't work its probably the ignitor.
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Unread postAuthor: Scotty » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:02 am

Too much resistence through those wires dude.
Shorten them.

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Unread postAuthor: TwitchTheAussie » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:16 am

Also paper clips arent really great so I would change to thumbtacks or nails man.
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Unread postAuthor: spudbud101 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:01 am

Too late, left after i posted last and rebuilt it. Paper clips are still there, work fine now.

I used thick silver wire to connect it up and I am getting a pretty good spark. When I had the telephone wire, the actually wires looped around about 10 times because they were so long. Now I used just enough to make it. Thanks, though. :)

When I find my camera I'll take some pics.
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Unread postAuthor: TwitchTheAussie » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:33 am

kool mate good work. Now hurry up with the pics :P
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Unread postAuthor: spudbud101 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:36 am

:lol: Will do. :) Now to find the fricking cord...
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 5:44 pm

Scotty wrote:Too much resistence through those wires dude.
Shorten them.

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1. Any idea what the resistance is of a foot of say 22G wire?
2. Any idea is what the resistance of 1mm of air is?

Answers;
1. Less than one Ohm
2. Much more than 10,000,000 Ohms.

The resistance of the wire is totally irrelevant to a spark circuit. Heck, automotive spark wire is a very high resistance wire.
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Unread postAuthor: Flying_Salt » Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:50 pm

Paper clips will start wearing away... at least that's what happened when I was trying to make hydrogen with them in the water :roll:
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Unread postAuthor: paaiyan » Mon Jun 25, 2007 7:55 pm

jimmy101 wrote:
Scotty wrote:Too much resistence through those wires dude.
Shorten them.

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1. Any idea what the resistance is of a foot of say 22G wire?
2. Any idea is what the resistance of 1mm of air is?

Answers;
1. Less than one Ohm
2. Much more than 10,000,000 Ohms.

The resistance of the wire is totally irrelevant to a spark circuit. Heck, automotive spark wire is a very high resistance wire.


The resistance of a foot of 22 gauge wire is dependant on the chemical composition of the wire. If it's silver, it'll be very good, if it's nichrome, it's just going to get hot and you won't get a spark.
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:06 pm

paaiyan what would make you think he would be using nichrome wire? Generally when a person says "wire" they mean copper.

Regardless, if the wire is metal it will work. Even nichrome will work.

21g nichrome wire has a resistance of about 0.83 ohms/ft
21g copper wire has a resistance of about 0.015 ohms/ft

So, what the F' difference does it make if the wire is copper or nichrome? It'll still have a resistance that is completely irrelevant to the tens of MEGAohm resistance of the gap.
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Unread postAuthor: paaiyan » Tue Jun 26, 2007 7:14 pm

I was just pointing out the fact that the resistance would, in fact, be different. Yes I know that the resistance of the air is much greater, I'm not arguing that fact, I'm just pointing out the fact that different wires have different resistances. Ease up. Besides, most of the wires I use are actually iron core I believe, the electrical components I borrowed them from just happened to use that. So if one were to use nichrome wire, it might get very hot, that would be bad.
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