Easy Pyro Igniter Tester
The easy way - pun intended - to test your igniters.
Although rare, faulty igniters can really ruin your day when firing electrically. Whilst most firing systems offer continuity checks, this small device from Easy Pyro allows you to easily check the continuity of your igniters well before setting up and without having to connect them to your system.
A closer look at the design
Measuring 4cm by 10cm, the Easy Pyro Igniter Tester – I’ll call it EPIT from now on – has a 3.5cm wide metal plate on each side on to which you press your igniter leads.
Continuity (i.e. a good igniter) is shown by the LED on the front side illuminating. The front also houses the battery which is held in place with a metal cover; this in turn is protected by a see-through plastic sleeve.
The wide metal contacts make it easy to press your igniter wires on. Far easier than, for example, trying to connect them to multimeter leads.
The front and back are shown in the photos below. The hole at the bottom is for the supplied lanyard:
Being designed by a company that also makes firing systems gives you peace of mind that you’re in good hands. I asked Andrew Simpson at Easy Pyro what safety features this tester has. “We want to ensure there is the minimum chance of a “high” current flowing through the igniter and accidentally firing it,” he said, “so we have used two current limiting resistors in series as opposed to one, so if one resistor were to be shorted or fail with a closed circuit, the other would still prevent accidental firing.”
I also asked Andrew what the inspiration was behind this tester. “There was not really an inexpensive, easy to use tester available,” he replied, “most were intended for the mining and blasting industries and had price points to match. It will work with all igniters without any problem.
“The tester is principally intended for people working with firework igniters and small theatrical SFX. It’s not intended for high explosive, mining or blasting work.”
But wait! Why not just use your firing system?
Given that firing systems offer continuity checks before firing, why not simply continue to use that? Well if you’re a small-scale displayer and your firing involves setting up and firing each firework one at a time, then there’s certainly no harm in doing that.
However once you progress to more complicated shows you’ll nearly always be setting up your fireworks in advance and that means you’ll be waterproofing your fireworks either with clingfilm or bags. In that scenario, finding that you have a duff igniter at show time is a real problem as it entails having to unwrap the offending firework to replace the igniter.
Using your firing system ahead of time to check continuity is only considered safe if all your fireworks are already set out; you should never connect your firing system to live igniters indoors for example in case of accidental ignition.
So a device like this which can quickly and easily check continuity as you’re setting up, before you then wrap each firework, is incredibly useful – and a much safer way to approach testing. As Andrew confirms, “catching bad igniters or circuit connections before final wiring has many advantages. Not only is it safer, but it’s far easier to discard a faulty igniter or check a wiring loom before it’s attached to the firework.”
In addition to testing individual igniters, Andrew also added: “Remember, you can also use the tester to check your wiring when firing multiple igniters in series.”
Pricing at time of writing (March 2022) is £22 + VAT (£26.40 inc. VAT), plus P&P. Since news of this product first came up in my Forum, I have spoken to Andrew about the courier charge showing on his website (which is aimed at more expensive firing systems). He’s agreed as a result to add a lower standard postage charge which can be used if ordering this tester.
As a point of interest I asked Andrew about the battery and where his products were made. “The tester takes a standard CR2032 lithium coin cell,” he said, “it should last between 5000 and 10,000 one second tests. We don’t envision the battery ever being changed, although the user can do this if they want. This can be done by cutting away the heat shrink sleeving and replacing the battery. However they should be sure to replace the heat shrink to insulate the battery and reduce the chance of any igniter wires touching the battery.
“All the products we manufacture are made in the UK. The more complex products such as the FireStorm Firing System and RhinoFire Sequencers are entirely made in the UK by our contract manufacturer. The more simple products such as the Safety Shunts and Igniter Tester are partially made abroad but get final assembly and quality checks by us in the UK.”
Very much a case of “it does what is says on the tin”, the EPIT allows stress-free checking of your igniters prior to connection to your pyro. This saves much time and trouble later on. It’s easy to use and the LED is bright so it gives a clear OK.
Note: I purchased this item with my own money. The link below does not contain any affiliate codes and I do not benefit from any sales. It’s still appreciated if you mention UKFR though should you go ahead and buy one.