Sunday, October 4, 2015

Badass Zippo Remote

I made this project a year ago last summer. I was bored at home and I didn't want to do my summer homework.

I started this draft also a year ago but I never got around to finishing it.
First a video:

I made this, again, when I was bored. The only thing I enjoyed about this was trying to sync up the music to the actions but this is actual trash.
If you go to 0:20 and 1:51 of the video, you'll see this guy pressing a button on a Zippo lighter and then an explosion ensuing that action.

It's safe to assume that this awesome lighter wasn't for lighting up cigarettes but rather explosives

fun stuff.

Last year I was literally obsessed with these lighters. I still think they're awesome. I was really fascinated by the way the whole lighter was packaged. I thought to myself "what else can I fit in this thing..."
Watching Captain America gave me some ideas.

Please excuse the title and the music. I was in a pretty good mood that day and I thought it was an excellent idea.
The video only shows ONE way you can use the Zippo remote. You don't only have to use it for filling your basement with smoke. You can use it to open garages, turn on your ceiling fan, start your oven, whatever. You can do anything electrical with it.

The real instructions are in that Instructables link up top, but I'll do some brief documentation on it below.

First get a lighter. get an ATtiny45 or 85 with a V suffix. thats right.
ATTINYX5V- 10PU is the part you want. This means it runs on low power very efficiently and we need that.
I'm not going to go into too much detail about the parts.

Just a picture comparing two lighters. The one on the left is fake which is why I don't mind taking it apart.

Some pictures of what the Zippo insert looks like. This one is fake.

We will be replacing the flint with a button, and placing an LED right next to the wick.

Take out the flint thing.

remove the wick and all the cotton balls.

put that stuff in a safe place. Cut a little piece of wick that we will be using to cover up the LED.

The idea is that we put a button on the bottom of the flint shaft. When we press down on the flint wheel, it pressed down on a shaft that presses on that button.

Where the purple marker is is where the LED will fit in.

secure your insert. We'll be torturing it and you don't want it to slip away.

What I did to make the LED hole was literally hammer a hole through the steel casing. I used a nail.

You can see a nice hole next to the original flint hole.

I then used a Dremel rotary tool to slowly and carefully cut away and sand down the flint tube.

When its finished the flint tube should be shorter, and the button should fit in the tube snugly.

Finished view.

This part is pretty annoying. I was planning on using the Zippo case itself as the antenna of the remote. In order to do that I need to solder the antenna to the insert. I can't solder to steel.
The only solution was to electroplate a portion of the insert in copper so i could a wire to the case.

The solution is copper sulfate. On the cathode I'm using a 1970s penny and the anode is going to be the lighter.
Just run 12v through it and electroplate until you got something.
Here's a guide on electroplating:

So after plating I did get some copper to stick on! Nice.

shove in that short piece of wick we cut earlier

Glue down the bottom of it with epoxy so it can't get pulled out.

Some pictures of a button.

The idea is that the button part of the button fits INSIDE the tube while the rest of the button housing rests on the edges of the metal flint tube. 

A piece of tough wire acts as a shaft to translate the force from the flint wheel push down do the button.

Get some scrap plastic. Don't ask we're going to do something silly.

Cut the plastic down to shape so it fits like so.

You will need to enlarge the first portion of the tube a bit with a drill so the button part can fit in.

Put in the flint, the wire shaft, the button, then glue the button to that plastic piece.

The plastic piece will be glued to the insert wall.

The flint should be firm. When you press down on the flint wheel, you should feel a click. 

This process was really hard, and it wasn't even the most difficult part. It took me about three days to get it right, so be patient.

3mm LED!

Solder wires

Electrical tape

Heat shrink it. We don't want things shorting out on the metal Zippo insert.

Shove the LED into that hole we made earlier with the nail. Glue it in place.

 The hardest of hardware  has been finished. Now comes the less hard but more involved part: writing the code, designing the circuit, etc.

Here are the 433MHz modules I'm using. I know they vary in size and stuff, but you want to use this specific one. It's the perfect size to fit inside a Zippo insert.

Cut out your PCB and print out your design.
The PCB I'm making right now is the receiver module for the remote. You don't have to make this.

Wait 7 minutes for exposure.

Develope it.

cover edges in nail-polish if you like.

etch it. We'll get back to this.

We want to use this rechargeable battery. Its 3.7V LiPo. I forgot the specific size and specs but if you're interested in more than just looking at pictures, it's all the Instructable.

Wrap it in black electrical tape so it doesn't short stuff out.

>So in this picture I soldered a 16MHz crystal to the ATTINY45 chip. Don't do this. We don't need this. Just ignore the crystal.

Solder a resistor

If you notice, I'm trying to make the circuit compact as possible. This involves ripping off unneeded pins. 

Or desoldering them...

Solder the battery to the necessary places.

I wrapped the transmitter in tape so nothing shorts out, and used magnet wire so it's thin.

More complicated soldering.

Resistor soldered to the LED wire.

Connecting the device to the LED.

Solder the connections to the button.

Your circuit is about done. Make sure your battery JST connector is accessible when you need to charge it. It's been a year since I built it and I have YET to need to recharge the battery.


Etched PCB.

Soldered parts (details in instructables)
Basically this receiver turns on a relay for 5 seconds when it receives the signal from the Zippo remote control.

V = flambda to calculate antenna length.

The blue connecter is so you can switch anything you want.

Green means ready. Red means ACTIVATED.
It's powered by 3 AAA batteries.

There's a lot of bare metal parts exposed that run a high risk of shorting out.

The solution is to cover anything exposed with nail-polish. This works like a charm.

Applying a second coat will ensure that nothing goes wrong.

Gently shove all the electronics into the Zippo case.

Everything barely fits. The JST connector is exposed so I can easily recharge.

Reinsert the insert and you're done!

You can recharge by using USB power and possibly blowing up your circuit. I recommend readers to invest in a safer way of charging LiPo batteries, unlike what I'm doing in this picture.

So now you have a remote control in a Zippo lighter. Be safe and don't do silly things with it. I'm not responsible for what you do with it. Please have fun, but don't hurt yourself and others.

Thanks for reading!