For a few years of lighting firework the old-fashioned/dangerous way I wanted to have a way to remotely set off fireworks (safely). After seeing a few different people using the heating element out of a car cigarette lighter. I took the cigarette lighter out of my car and pulled it apart. Here’s what I found inside, all I need was the piece in the photo on the right. The ‘stem’ takes the 12V and the outer rim is the ground as labeled in the picture
This is where my first challenge came about, I needed to find a way to mount the car cigarette lighter and supply power to it. at first i thought i could solder onto the copper stem but it de-soldered itself when it heats up. that’s when i came up with the idea of mounting it in wood and using screw to clap onto the ‘stem’ and a bolt to clap down onto the outer rim. The pictures below explain it better.
My next challenge which it tough for every project I under take is what do I use for a housing which doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. After trolling screwfix for some plastic conduit for the firework launcher I came across plug socket cases with blank fronts. Which made it even better was it had cable claps which gave me a place to secure the protoboard down to. A little word of warning when drilling/cutting the socket casing is that its very brittle and will smash :(
What’s in the box? like all my projects so far I’m using an ardiuno nano for the ‘brains’ of the operation, This makes it easy to switch the ‘brain’ between projects with little expense. I added a relay which I hadn’t used up until now which I feed from a 12V wall wart and a barrel socket I found in my parts bin. I put a chassis mount button to activate the count down and 2 LED’s one green and one red to indicate the status of the box. Also I found a IR receiver in my parts bin to use with the tv remote. All of these are soldered to a photoboard and screwed into the socket box.
How the box works is you have 2 modes of operations, the first one being you put your firework in place then hit the button, this will give you about 5 seconds to run off to a save distance then it will burn for about 5 seconds which should be long enough to light the fuse. The second mode of operation is the use of a tv remote which i programmed one button to turn the relay on and another to turn it off, which works from a safe distance. All the code is available on my Github and you will also need this IR libaray too. Feel free to use my code as you feel fit
I havent had chance to use this to launch fireworks since I didn’t finish it in time for bonfire night but im hoping to try it at new years eve. Here is a quick video walk though of the hard wear and some burning of paper
[UPDATE] – This year 2014 I finally got round to trying out my firework launcher, My first blow was that all of the fuses on the ground fireworks were too short so I had to manually light them. I did have a few rockets so I gave them a go, The fuses were long enough but it did take a lot longer for them to light then I had first thought, I think it took 20+ seconds before the rocket took off.