Piezoelectric igniter crystal from a lighter

This page shows how I got a piezoelectric igniter from a lighter. Piezoelectric igniters are useful wherever you need to make a spark and can do so manually. For DIYers the spark is usually used to ignite a gas, such as in a spud gun.

Make sure you get the right kind of lighter (see photo below, left.) You want the type where you simply press down on something. The type that has a wheel that you turn does not have a piezoelectric igniter inside.

To get at the insides, in most cases you just need to pry off some sort of metal or plastic cover that's in the area the flame goes through (see photo on left.)

Only the lighter on the left has a pizeoelectric igniter.
Comparison of piezoelectric ignitor type of lighter and a 
      striker and flint type of lighter.
Prying off the cover.
Prying the cover off a lighter to get at the piezoelectric
      igniter inside.

The photos below show where the spark appears in the lighter. The spark is arranged in the path of the gas so that it'll ignite it. Pressing down on the igniter both creates the spark and opens a valve to let the gas flow out. The spark ignites the gas and you get a flame.

The parts that create the spark.
Where the spark occurs in the lighter due to the piezoelectric
The spark igniting the gas.
The spark from the piezoelecrtic igniter igniting the gas in
      the lighter to create a flame.

Once you've removed the cover, as described above, the piezoelectric igniter can usually just be pulled out easily.

Taking out the piezoelectric igniter.
Pulling a piezoelectric igniter from a lighter.
Anatomy of the igniter.
The two electricaly connection points on a piezoelectric 
      igniter to be used if you want to make a spark, such as in a spud gun.

In the photo below I've completely exposed the piezoelectric crystal, removing it from the igniter mechanism so that I can activate the crystal by hitting it hard against the piece of aluminum foil on the table. The oscilloscope shows the resulting 320 volt spike.

Removing the crystal from the igniter mechanism like this isn't usually desired. You want the igniter mechanism because it gives you an easy way to activate the crystal, simply by pressing a trigger. I did this for experimental reasons only.

Testing the piezoelectric crystal with an oscilloscope.
Testing the piezoelectric crystal from the lighter using an

Below I'm showing how you'd connect wires to this particular igniter so that the spark can be put anywhere you want, at the other ends of the two wires.

Test setup as it would be in a spud gun.
The test setup with wires connected to the piezoelectric
      igniter and leading to a spark gap as they would in a spud gun.
Closeup of the connections and spark gap.
Closeup of the wires connected to the piezoelectric igniter
      and the spark gap.

Here is a sample of igniters I've taken from various lighters over the years. The two on the right were from BBQ lighters. Notice that they all have two connection points where the high voltage spike is taken from, where you'd normally connect wires to.

Different piezoelectric igniters.
Three different piezoelectric igniters, one from a cigarette 
      lighter and two from BBQ lighters.

Video - How to take Piezoelectric Igniter from Lighter for Spud Gun

The following is a video showing my full analysis of the igniter as used in a lighter and how I got it out and tested it.

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