Articles, Blog

DIY Arc Lighter

DIY Arc Lighter

In the previous episode of Hacked! I showed you how I modified a CCFL inverter in order to create an electric arc that can ignite fireworks. But even after I optimize the circuits by adding a 220 nano farad capacitor in parallel to the original one, in order to lower the frequency of the sine wave from 320 Kilohertz to 76 Kilohertz, there still were some problems. For one, the circuit is not portable because of its bulkiness, and most importantly its power requirements of up to 12 volts and 3 amps cannot be fulfilled by a Li-Po battery with a voltage range of 4.2 volts to 3 volts and a current capability of 2.8 Amps. So in this video, I will show you how to create a similar circuits that can fix those problems and ultimately complete the DIY portable Arc Lighter project. Let’s get started! The housing I got for my DIY arc lighter is a bit bigger than a commercial one, But still fits comfortably in the pocket. The transformer from the CCFL inverter, which is mandatory for such a circuit, did barely fit inside this case, but I wanted to go smaller. Thankfully I had another CCFL inverter from an old monitor laying around that contained a smaller transformer So I desoldered it from the circuit, removed its protective tape, and started unwinding it’s center-tap primary coil. It was rather interesting to find out that each coil also consisted of 14 turns, Just like the bigger CCFL transformer, but strangely enough, there was no feedback coil to be found. Nevertheless, I then created a new primary coil consisting of three turns, soldered two wires to the secondary coil, hooked the primary up to a square wave inverter, and started increasing the voltage. But sadly, the secondary coil was not well enough isolated, And thus could not create electrical arcs, but definitely plenty of heat So I had to abandon the idea of using the smaller transformer and focused on the old one. To form a resonant circuit, I firstly soldered 2 220 Nano Farad capacitors in parallel to the primary coil which will later create a sine wave with a frequency of 75 Kilohertz. The center of the primary coil gets connected to a 0.1 Milli Henry inductor Which I salvaged from the previously Hacked CCFL circuits to act as a constant current source when connected to the supply voltage The oscillator circuit itself consists of two IRLU3110 set Mosfets, two 220 or gate resistors, and 2 UF4007 diodes in this arrangement. Since the required components are just a few, I simply used a bit of silver copper wire to connect them to one another in Midair according to the schematic. After adding output wires to the transformer and applying a voltage of 2.6 volts to the circuit, this sine wave was established on the inputs but it still required a voltage of 4 volts to create the electrical arc. So I had no choice, but to desolder the circuit from the transformer, remove the primary coil and create a new one, but with one less turn. So 2 turns for each half and thus 4 in total. Then I reattached the circuit and tested it once again. This time the arc was established at a voltage of 3.3 volts, perfect for the LiPo battery. Well at least if the input current wouldn’t be 3 amps. To fix that, I added 4 31 pico Farad 6Kb capacitors in series to the secondary coil to limit the output current, which clearly lowered the input current but also made the electric arc a lot weaker and pretty much unusable. So we have to stick to the high current draw which my original planned LiPo battery cannot provide. thankfully though, I had a fitting replacement battery year that could supply such currents. And after adding a push button and a tPU 4056 charging and protection board to the circuit, It was supposed to work fine, But it didn’t. The problem was the overcurrent protection of the board, which interrupts the current flow after a couple of milliseconds. The solution was to bypass the protection features, which is not that recommended, but since the electric arc is only established with a voltage higher than 3.3 volts, We at least know when to charge the battery. And now that we finally have a decently working prototype, how does the oscillator circuit actually work well first off the resistors charge up the gate of the Mosfets. Since no two mosfets are completely the same, One of them will turn on first and connect one half of the primary to ground, and thus a rising current will flow. While that is happening, the gate of the other mosfet is connected to ground through the first mosfet, and thus cannot turn on. Once the oscillation of the resonant circuit reaches a point where the lower half has a ground potential, The gate of the first Mosfet can discharge, which thus turns it off, and the second mosfet can finally turn on and repeat the same cycle just in reverse. And just like, that both mosfets turn on and off one after the other, and thus in combination with the resonant circuit, create a sinusoidal voltage and current. Now all that was left to do was to salvage the parts from the prototype ,and Prepare the housing of the arc lighter. For that I drill 2 1.5 millimeter holds for 2 1.5 square millimeter wires as the electrodes in the top section, and another 3.5 millimeter hole in the front for the push button. Then I used a file to create a rectangle cutouts on the bottom for the Micro-USB charging port. Afterwards I secured most of the parts inside the case with hot glue, soldered the oscillator components onto a small piece of perf board, and used 0.75 square millimeter wire to connect all the components to one another according to the completed schematic. After our last test I closed the case and the project was complete! And it was time to play around with the electric Arc. But as always, when it comes to high voltage, be very careful, since it has the potential to be Lethal. Anyway, I hope you liked this project. If so, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. Stay creative, and I will see you next time!


What brand bench top power supply is that? I have seen it in a lot of videos, yours and others, and it looks like a very nice unit.

Is it possible to use another resonance circuit using those high power npn transistors out of computer power supply? Because I dont have MOSFETS… 🙁

I started making this but the only problem I have is how to wind the transformer because it doesnt work… I managed to find two irfp460 mosfets and made the circuit but the issue is that I dont know how to rewire the transformer. Can someone help me???

Best regards

como si todos tuviéramos ésos equipos en el taller y fuéramos expertos en electrónica. buen video para los que tienen ambas cosas.

Hi. I Built the circuit exacly the way shown in the Video. I dont have any arc but my MOSFETS are getting really hot. Does anyone know what could be the problem?

I'm using something similar on my fly swatter, works great. Smells weird tho… but it will literally destroy any fly

What is the name of this oscillator circuit? It is not the royer that you showed in the previous video.

hi 🙂 I follow you on YouTube and I have a question about lipo battery and TP4056, can i connect a lipo 3.7v to tp4056 without a current partition circuit? do I damage the battery? because battery work to lower voltage than the charging circuit
thanks for all! you are the best!

dude, I have a lipo battery capable of outputting 67.5A. and 11.1-12.8V. Rc plane / multicolor batteries are what you should look for.

Hello, I have successfully built an electric light thanks to the tutorials from GreatScott! and some videos from the channel on youtube. Because I use secondhand components from other electronic devices, so in my project I use transistor TIP41C, but the problem is heat transistor and require heatsink, of course heatsink require space and affect the shape of lighter. I tried to use K1457 mosfet former power supplay CPU, but it did not work. So how is the solution? Should I use IRFZ44?

so, can I use a smaller coil or it's just yours that wasn't well isolated?
if yes, then to which pins do I connect the new primary?

Don't these type of lighters have plastic on the sides with a small gap so you can still use it as a lighter barely but can't put your finger through . For safety purposes

Made one myself…burned my finger(genious wanted to touch)…almost puked from the smell of the burned flesh…

Works great tho

Can i use bjt transistors? Rather than Mosfet? And also, can i use different enamel copper wire size?, instead of 0.85mm? From winding the primary?

Hello Sir, why don't you just check out the datasheet of the ic next to the smaller transformer? It should've gave you an idea on how the transformer works. Anyway, are you just tired of checking it out or you are way too lazy for it? ( No offenses, sir. I just remembered your past videos where you are too lazy to check some stuff up xD )

Scott, with the Fourth of July coming up, I have a suggestion to combine this arc lighter circuit with your Bluetooth fireworks lighter idea from a while back to light multiple fireworks simultaneously using arc lighters over Bluetooth from a safe distance. Either way, I’m really enjoying your videos. Thank you for the great content!

How about adding and charging large capacitors with the battery so a higher voltage (like a small boost converter) can be reached as supply to create the arcs? Sure, it doesn't work continuously but it could be used for some some time, depending on the size of the capacitors. Or am I talking nonsense? Maybe it's too bulky of a design…

Why you always use complicated circuits like this zvz instead of a simple transistor

No thumbs down from me!
I just will like to know the distance between electrodes and how long the battery lasts!
My lighter just failed and I think I want a Smoke!
John, Australia.

Better to create HFE (High Frequency Energy) that does not electrocute, such as on a medical cauterizer. The top terminal on a horizontal output tube of an old 25in CRT TV puts out the same energy.

A bit late for a suggestion, I know, but should you need to build a self-oscillating inverter that runs off a single Li-ion cell like this again try BJTs rather than MOSFETs since they only need ~0.6V of forward bias to turn on. Zetex (now part of Diodes, Inc.) makes some BJTs specifically for this application, actually.

I believe it's canon that Supes can manipulate his personal gravity… I posit that all of superman's powers are based in the Mass Effect.

Just use this! LOL,searchweb201602_1,searchweb201603_52

Das ist ja wie bei Art Attack. Seltsamerweise hast du immer alles zu Hause während jeder andere erstmal in China shoppen müsste und 4 Wochen warten würde

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *