How to Make a Piezoelectric Igniter

If you’re a fan of spud guns, fireworks, or just like sparking stuff up, you’ll find this read useful. Whatever your reason, you’ll want more information on how to make a piezoelectric igniter because they’re the most reliable (and most scientific) way to spark electricity. Sure, this may seem like a stretch, but it’s also a fine way to create an instant spark of electricity—use that information as you wish.

Homebrewers, we’re talking to you. We know how difficult transitioning from kitchen brewing to outdoor brewing can be. You face several obstacles, like the wind blowing or burning your fingers on a long-nosed butane match. Piezoelectric igniters can help keep the brew going and get you drinking tasty beer faster. 

We’re going to start by showing you all the materials you’ll need. Then, we’ll tell you how to make your igniter. After this, you can cook outdoors, prepare for the Fourth, or rig up an old game cube to a rocket launcher. We don’t judge! 

And feel free to check out our website for more interesting tutorials. 

Without further ado, mini scientist, here’s how to make a piezoelectric igniter. 

What Is a Piezoelectric Igniter?

First off, piezoelectric igniters are the same kind of igniters used in gas grills and specific lighters. A piezoelectric igniter is push start, so if you’ve ever used a button-click gas grill spark igniter in lieu of traditional matches, chances are it’s piezoelectric. 

Why might this matter to you? These igniters don’t require an external electrical current. If you cook outdoors, you may run into a common problem keeping your propane burners from being blown out by the wind. A rigged piezoelectric igniter module could alleviate a lot of this stress. 

What You’ll Need

  • Grill lighter
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire
  • Solder
  • Copper alligator clamps
  • Helping hands
  • Tape
  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves (optional) 

Step One: Open Lighter

You’ll want to start with an empty lighter. Most people have a utility lighter lying around somewhere in their kitchen; you’ll need an old empty one. 

Using the screwdriver, unscrew the lighter’s back to expose its inside. You’ll need to use a flat screwdriver of some sort to pry off the tube sheath. 

Step Two: Disassemble Lighter

Once you’ve removed the lighter’s back, you’ll see the empty fuel can, the safety locking mechanism, and the piezo igniter unit in the top corner.  

Remove its long nozzle by carefully separating it from the solid wire and sliding upward. Then remove the plastic cap from the end of the hose. You’ll be left with an electric wire protruding from the piezo igniter.  

Step Three: Remove Gas Tank 

Remove the safety lock and take out the lighter’s fuel carton. You’ll be left with a hollow lighter and the trigger still intact. 

Step Four: Solder Wire

Solder the wire to the shorter wire attached to the piezo igniter. 

1. Heat an iron

Heat the iron to approximately 600 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Stabilize Wires

Think creatively. You’ll want your two wires to be as stable as possible before soldering. You can use a pair of helping hands to keep them in place. 

3. Clean Iron

It’s very important to give your iron tip a good wipe using a wet sponge to remove any leftover residue. 

4. Apply Heat

Apply heat and solder a small connection between the wire and the short wire coming from the igniter. Be sure to give the connection a few moments to cool. 

Step Five: Reassemble Lighter

Now you’ll need to put the lighter back together. 

Replace the gas tank and apply the covers back onto the body, but don’t replace the nozzle. Make sure the wires are coming out of the end where the tube was. 

Lastly, take those wires and stabilize them with a pair of helping hands. 

Step Six: Solder Alligator Clips

Solder a pair of clips onto the tips of each wire.

1. Use the tape

Using tape, stabilize the ends of the wires. 

2. Burn the Ends

It’s good practice to burn any nylon strands on the igniter to establish a better connection. After doing this, twist the ends and prepare to attach the alligator clips. 

3. Solder Tips

Using the same technique from above, solder the clips onto the ends. As a bonus, you can quickly test your connection by hooking it up to two parallel 9 volt batteries.

 And voila! You’re ready to go. 

Piezo Igniter Uses

Culinary Uses

These igniters are commonly used in gas grills to keep the unit warm throughout the cooking time. Along with this, they’re used in gas stoves to kickstart the flame, in blow torches to generate the fire, in butane lighters, potato cannons, and spud guns. 

Recreational Uses

If you’ve ventured through the internet long enough, you’ll find how creative people get with piezo igniters. The most common uses outside of their kitchen are rocket launchers and homemade electric matches. You can find several Youtube videos showing you how to rig up an igniter to common household items, turning them into missile launchers. Always use caution when experimenting with metals at this high temperature. 

Alternative Method

Most people enjoy piezo igniters because of their consistency. Rain or other elements can quickly dissipate a flame, making it hard to keep things lit. If you’re homebrewing, you know how frustrating it can be to maintain a consistent flame. 

Piezo Igniters come in handy by consistently producing a spark on demand. You also may want to invest in an igniter if you find matches and lighters difficult to use. 

Another reason you may want to make your piezoelectric igniter is that it’s everlasting and can give you noticeable results. Unlike matches that go out eventually, an igniter will last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Volts Is a Piezoelectric Lighter?

Most igniters run a high voltage of about 800 volts– that’s a lot of volts going through such a small opening to produce electricity. 

Do Piezo Igniters Expire?

Piezo Igniters won’t go bad as long as the crystal and the hammer remain intact. If you’ve got these two components, you’ve got an igniter! Most people keep their igniters for a minimum of ten years. It’s a much more economical option than buying a box of matches all the time. 

How Do You Test a Piezo Igniter?

To troubleshoot a piezo igniter, you’ll first need a good pair of pliers. Connect the igniter to an electrode and hold it half an inch away from the shell of the heater. If it produces a spark, the igniter is in good shape. If not, it means it needs to be replaced. 

Does a Piezo Igniter Need to Be Grounded?

In most cases, no. The modern igniters manufactured today require minimal grounding, but you should always take extra precautions with homemade projects. 

Can You Make a Piezoelectric Igniter from Anything Else?

You can rig up an igniter using household items such as grill lighters, phone chargers, smoke alarms, and electric toothbrushes.