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Okay, so I have this piezoelectric barbecue igniter so that I can make a remote igniter. The problem is that if I add a length of wire the spark becomes very small. Is there any way to make the spark travel further? If not could I use a spark plug or something and make a simple circuit with common electric components? (I have scrap circuit boards that contain big capacitors if that's any help) Thanks for the help.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hit the crystal harder (without shattering it)... \$\endgroup\$
    – Trevor_G
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ What's the insulation breakdown voltage of the wire you're using? \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 20:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Brian Drummond, I am using standard 22 gauge wire. Nothing special. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 21:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ It may be that the extra capacitance of the wire is reducing the voltage (since the piezo delivers a fixed charge). To reduce the capacitance use the smallest diameter wire possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – electrogas
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 21:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then its insulation may be breaking down at a low voltage. Look for some high voltage wire - like a spark plug lead. \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 8:10

2 Answers 2

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If I add a length of wire the spark becomes very small.

Is the wire coaxial (like a cable TV wire), paired (like speaker wire), or a single-conductor wire with the current returning through a ground plane (standard grill-igniter setup)?

If your answer is option #1 or #2, then you're probably losing energy to insulation breakdown/arcing, or capacitive transfer. However, if it's #3, then that would change the "usual suspects" we'd need to look at to find what's going wrong.

If not could I use a spark plug or something and make a simple circuit with common electric components?

Depending on your intent, expertise, and available parts, you could make a flyback-transformer circuit to send a spark (pretty much exactly how an automotive ignition coil+spark plug functions).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok great. I will probably go with the flyback transformer idea. Any recommendations on a good place to learn about these things? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 15, 2017 at 1:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Builder_Of_Bots Here's a Wikipedia Article and an EE Times Tutorial on flyback transformers. Those should give you some basic background on the idea & function of the transformers & their drive circuits. However, since you just need ignition sparks when you press a button, you could use an automotive ignition coil, a cap, and a "momentary on" 12v pushbutton; or pretty much any of the circuits in this instructable \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 0:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ (obligatory safety warning ... be VERY careful messing with HV circuits ... if you DON'T really understand what you're doing bettr not to ...) \$\endgroup\$
    – danmcb
    Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 14:12
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The spark shouldn't travel a long distance. Instead of generating the sparks remotely, you should find a way to trigger the actuator from afar. This actuator could be a relay working on low voltage (e.g. 12V but not exclusively). Then you just have to push a tact switch and you BBQ lites on.

schematic

simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

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