FireFly Firing System - UK First Look & Unboxing
This app-controlled firing system with reusable igniters finally reaches UK shores.
This year (2021) we have seen a lot of excitement about an app-controlled firing system called IGNITE and justifiably so, it’s a great system as I discovered in my recent review. However it was not the first app-controlled system on the market in its home country the USA, that accolade rests with a system called FireFly.
In fact members of my Fireworks Forum have been posting about FireFly since 2017 when news of it first surfaced. For whatever reasons the system hasn’t had a UK distributor (that I am aware of) until now. This is why we have the slightly odd situation where FireFly came first in the USA, but IGNITE got distribution first in the UK.
But it’s here now and I am pleased to have been sent a unit very early by the UK company distributing this so I can test it out.
Watch a video of my first look and unboxing
If you prefer to watch a video of my first look you can do so below. The only thing missing at the time of production was a confirmed price, which I will talk about a little further down this article:
FireFly main features and UK price
- UK price confirmed as £250.
- Price excludes batteries (8 x D).
- Rechargeable base plate available in the UK too and strongly recommended. UK price TBC (US price is only $39.99 which you can recoup with just three battery changes).
- 15 cues in total.
- Reusable igniters! 15 included in the box.
- Igniters have terminals allowing Talons and standard ematches to be fired too.
- Controlled via a free app on iOS or Android (including on tablets and laptops using an emulator), free firing or show design options.
- Connectivity to the system via Wifi (a direct link, home Wifi not required).
Pricing as you can see above has been confirmed as £250.
Had I been writing this in 2017 I think the revolutionary feature would have been the app control. However we’ve gotten accustomed to that since IGNITE has been in the UK so it’s less of a “wow!” moment. Nonetheless, it’s worth a moment still to consider what app control offers. Instead of a buttoned remote, you control the system with virtually any phone or tablet, using their free app. This opens up wonderful features such as show design for automated firing amongst other things.
Unlike IGNITE which uses BlueTooth, FireFly uses a direct WiFi connection between the unit and your device. Whether this has any implications on range is something I will find out in my upcoming real world range test.
But one feature which is definitely very new (for the UK!) and one I am looking forward to field testing is the reusable igniters! As far as consumer fireworks go, could this be the end of the need for disposable one-use Talon clips? The answer to that of course depends on their durability and how many times you can reuse them, I will be exploring this through some field testing in the next few weeks.
To achieve ignition, each igniter has a heavy-duty metal coil inside which burns extremely hot and ignites the attached visco fuse. Note therefore the reusable feature only relates to setting off consumer fireworks via their safety fuse. However a neat feature is the included terminals inside each clip to which standard igniters (with bare copper ends) can also be connected to.
The extra power required to make a coil glow red/white hot explains why this unit needs 8 x D batteries. The recommended battery brand is Duracell Plus as apparently other lesser D batteries do not have enough power. This leads to a potentially large ongoing cost given that the lowest price I could find for these on Amazon was £10+ for 8.
It also adds a lot of bulk and weight to the unit, IGNITE looks positively tiny next to it. The good news is that a rechargeable battery base is available and the UK distributor has confirmed they are stocking this, but as yet not the price. However on FireFly’s website it’s only $39.99 so I would say this is an essential purchase.
The unit has 15 cues in total and whilst each one can only fire a single visco fuse from the heated coil (said purely from a practical point of view not a technical one), as stated above you can connect multiple Talons and ematches to each clip’s terminals allowing some flexibility when it comes to multiple firing.
Each igniter – 15 are included with the system in two different lengths – has a lead that unplugs at both ends and it’s the same type of plug as you would find on a power supply. So you cannot easily wire standard igniters directly to the unit, you have to connect to the igniter end clip.
The unit uses WiFi (as opposed to BlueTooth) to connect to your device via a direct connection. So you would connect to the unit’s WiFi; in FireFly’s 2020 wrap-up video they stated their choice of WiFi was down to technical reasons that they say make it better than BlueTooth. I’ve been impressed with IGNITE’s range in a typically British garden (that is, full of clutter) so look forward to repeating this test with FireFly.
At the time of writing this I have not given the app a good looking over, that’s for a future article and video.
With my first look and initial unboxing video done, my attention will now turn to some field tests. I’ll be checking out the range in a back garden plus putting the igniters through their paces to see how durable they are. This will most likely be popped up via my YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe so you’ll see these videos when uploaded.
I won’t be doing an in-depth tutorial on the system or the app however, this has already been covered extensively by manufacturer and other YouTubers, this info is easy to find via YouTube or FireFly’s own website.