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Description: Everyone likes a (carefully controlled) fire! We've met some very ambitious pyros on our mission of enabling makers to keep making and they all have one thing in common: whether they're building a giant propane puffer or an autonomous potato gun, they all need to light something. Well, this is the right tool for that job.

These silicon nitride surface igniters are used to light natural gas furnaces. Simply apply 12V and they quickly heat up to above 1300°C (that's white hot!) The heating element is cemented into a ceramic insulator and connected to a stainless steel mounting tab. This probably goes without saying but... be careful.

Features:

  • Operating Voltage: 12Vdc
  • Max Temp: 1280 - 1400°C
  • Current Consumption: 1.75-2.4A
  • Cold Resistance: 1 - 1.4 Ohms

Documents:

Comments 41 comments

  • Darn… Thermite ignites at something like 2,200C.

    There goes my self-destructing self-destruct button project.

    • No, just use some magnesium powder as a step up fuse. It’ll ignite for less than 1200C and burn hotter than 2200C. 12V ingiter –> Magnesium (strip or powder) –> Thermite (–> House?!)

      Have fun!

  • Thats funny, My neighbor when growing up designed some of the first silicon nitride mini ignitors for Norton Company.

    Funny how it wraps around and gets you later in life! …. Here’s his patent for laughs: http://www.google.com/patents/US5085804

  • Yey, my exhaust flame thrower comes closer with that thing :-D

  • Finally! My plans to make my own soldering iron will come to fruition!

  • Well, I guess it ’s about time I threw together that fully reusable, shoulder mount model rocket launcher I planned many years ago… :)

  • This could melt aluminum or copper… cheap welder anyone?

  • I think I’ll add a couple to my quadcopter so I can set off fireworks in the air. :D

  • So could we use a lower voltage and get a lower temperature out of it? This seems like a great solution for a soldering iron heating element.

  • Schematic for using with an Arduino? (Surprised this hasn’t been asked yet!)

    • These need more voltage (12V) and current (4A when cold) than an Arduino can supply, which may explain your surprise. But you can use a relay like the Beefcake Relay Kit to safely switch the high voltage and current these need.

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Beefcake is overkill for this. I had a project a year ago running a number of 120V ignitors with a ~1A draw off one of those 8x5A120V relay boards. I’m currently building a flame effects project that will involve a number of these ignitors & 24V solenoid valves, and if I’ve done my math right these should be able to be driven by a TIP120 circuit. The datasheet claims a max of 2.4A@12.85V, so 30W (or 48W if your 4A claim is correct). The TIP120 claims a max of 65W so it should be able to handle this load, especially as these heat up rapidly and the draw goes down.

        (Note: I haven’t actually got to the point of wiring this together, I’m currently running the prototype off one of the relay boards from the previous project. Regardless, a relay would still be fine, you can just use a much cheaper option than the Beefcake, with its 20A 240V theoretical maximum)

        • I’d recommend using a MOSFET. Even the lowly IRF510 shold work, but it will need a heatsink.

        • You’re not wrong, but I tailored my recommendation towards the (assumed) knowledge level of the OP. The Beefcake relay is probably the simplest device we offer that will control one of these igniters from an Arduino. There are of course any number of ways to control large amounts of current, and if you’re skilled with big transistors by all means use them.

          My 4A claim was from playing with one of these on a benchtop supply; what I saw was that given unlimited current they’ll draw 4A when they’re cold, which will quickly drop to 2.5A as it reaches full temperature (these glow white, not red-hot). You can likely run them just fine on a 2.5A supply but note that it will probably current limit at first.

          • Thanks for the info on the 4A cold start, I’ll make sure to design this project to handle that. I’m actually running this off a deep cycle battery and auto alternator, which means it’ll be getting up to 14.5V if I don’t also regulate it. Do you have any idea if the slightly higher voltage will damage them? Its my guess that it’d be fine as I’m betting these things are mostly used for lighting RV furnaces rather than household ones (most home furnaces I’ve seen use 120VAC ignitors).

            Also - warning to the original poster and any one else: If you’re making plans to use one of these to ignite any kind of flammable fuel, especially if its pressured, be sure that you really know what you’re doing when it comes to the plumbing. Standard household natural gas is a pretty low pressure (probably 10-12PSI) whereas a fuel tank of propane can be 300PSI depending on the temperature.

  • Can these be run continuously? I’ve been looking for a small powerful heater.

  • Potato cannon!!!!

  • Well now all you need is this, some PVC pipe, the solenoid valve that you guys sell, that air pump, and an Arduino with some circuitry. Slap it all together, add a lighter fluid fuel tank and bravo, Arduino controlled flame cannon.

    Sounds kind of illegal…

  • This is great, thanks guys! I’ve been looking for a less-expensive igniter for my pellet BBQ smoker project.

  • Does anyone think that it would be safe to use two of these as a spot welder system?

    • A spot welder heats the joint itself by passing a large current (the less connected, the higher the electrical friction), These igniters will only create heat on the outside surfaces of the joined material so I doubt you’ll be happy with the results.

    • Probably, so long as the metal you’re working with can be welded at around 1,300c.

  • Probably usable as a fireworks igniter.

    • Way too expensive relative to the likely uses you’ll get out of it. Use a model rocket igniter instead, way cheaper.

  • Does anyone know the amount of time this takes to heat up from room temp to 1300 C

    • I too would love this info. Anyone?

      • I would not use this product for something that needs to ignite immediately. I would build in a delay to the code to start gas flow after a few seconds (until it gets hot) Plus im sure it draws a lot of power (not good for a portable project) For immediate ignition I would use the Spark Gap Igniter or the Piezo Igniter.

        • Spark Gap works great for igniting propane, you just need a small amount of wind buffer to make sure you catch the cloud as it passes. In addition to the comment on code delay, you could also add in a NG style thermocouple switch that will not allow gas to pass unless the igniter is hot enough.

          • Yeah, I don’t know about how long it takes to hit the maximum temperature, but I just replaced the 120VAC ignitor I was using on a flame effect prototype with this and it seems to take ~5 seconds to ignition.

        • Thanks for the input but that doesnt help answer the question

  • $60 at the furnace parts place.

    • oh thanks, I should raise the price then.

      j/k

      • I was pretty sure I was getting ripped off at the time. The outside temp was -10 and I was afraid the pipes were going to freeze. $60 was cheaper than a plumber.

        • Yeah, it’s unfortunate when you’re stuck like that. I now keep a spare ignitor for my furnace. They’re $15 on eBay (in a sealed factory box), $60 at the local HVAC store. Similarly, the 220v contactor relay for my A/C - TWO for $25 on eBay, $120 locally EACH - and the eBay ones were actually significantly better (sealed instead of open frame)

  • Is this a one-shot device or is it reusable?

    • re-usable. it’s made for furnaces, so it’s made to be used constantly, and withstand the heat as well.


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