In case I need to make my own, and because I like the thought of building my skills, I was wanting to make some of my own igniters to start Estes engines. What guage nichrome wire would work best do y'all think? Too thick doesn't heat enough, right?
Greg:I'm assuming the batteries are wired in series, so this would be a 12 V system (8 batteries x 1.5 V/battery), and would hold the amps to 500 mA.
I would try a 40 gauge wire, or perhaps a 38 gauge if you wanted it to heat up a bit slower.
Greg:John, the 30 gauge does work. But Estes Corp may have had other factors that drove picking that gauge. It's also my understanding that the igniter tip of the more recent Estes igniters is much thinner than 30 gauge, and the tip is the part that counts.
My educated guess is that a 40 or 38 gauge will heat up faster than the 30, all other things being equal.
will this work for th same for 28 gauge? Just form a loop? How?Yes. As well as other past threads that are easily searchable.
40 ga is ultra thin. If used by itself, it will melt in half outside the nozzle, possibly near the micro clips before enough heat can be generated to ignite the propellant.
it might work if you expend the absure amount of extra effort to create home-made versions of the Estes Starter: use thick wires as the main leads for the starter and use the 40 ga at the tip as a small bridge wire. Of course, you then have to make a machine like Estes has that can precisely form the tip bridge wire, hold it in place and resistance weld it to the thicker lead wires. Then you have to handle them carefully to avoid breaking them or shorting the thicker lead wires.
Simple 32 ga nichrome wire with a loop formed at the tip is the simple way to go. Absolutely resistant to any handling damage and they can be installed in advance - even years in advance - since there is no pyrogen and nothing will heat them up except connecting them to a power source.
would you have a link the kind of battery you are using?Link to a post I made about homemade ignitors.
I used 30 gauge. But I am not using AA batteries, I'm using plenty of juice (12V 2200 mAh LiPos). Turned out they were super-reliable, only one misfire out of about 50 used so far, and that was by someone else who may have mis-prepped.
I also got some thinner gauge, but it felt too flimsy for my needs, at least compared to the 30. if my goal had been to use AA alkalines from an Estes controller, then I'd have used the thinner nichrome.
Thing about Estes Solars is they have a very fine bridge wire, but also have the very thick wires for most of it. So the thick wire gives plenty of stiffness and strength to hook up clips to and physically secure the ignitor without bending so easily it can short. Those Estes Solars are produced by automation that spot-welds the wires together. Nichrome itself is a PITA to solder, so for DIY ignitors, made in large numbers, it's not very practical to use a fine bridge wire that is soldered to stiffer wires.
And if the whole ignitor is one-piece (like mine), then the thinner it is, the more problems can occur. For me the tradeoff was 30 gauge, and probably 28 gauge would be better for stiffness while the batteries I'm using would still ignite them near-instantly.
- George Gassaway
Almost 5 years old thread brought back to life....will this work for th same for 28 gauge? Just form a loop? How?