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1/29/2018 How to Make a Flame Detector | DIY Hacking

How to Make a Flame Detector

By Robin Mitchell

Smoke detectors are great for detecting smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors are great for detecting carbon monoxide. But what about a
smokeless ame? Or what about an oil re? In this DIY Hacking project, we will make a ame alarm that functions just like a typical commercial
smoke alarm!

Required Materials

1K Resistor (R1, R2)

4.7K Resistor (R3, R4, R5)
100nF Capacitor (C1, C3, C4)
10uF Capacitor (C2)
Green 3mm LED (D1)
Red 3mm LED (D2)
1N5817 (D3, D4)
2N3904 (Q1)
Buzzer (BZ1)
PIC16F819 or PIC16F 84, 88, 818 (U1)
7805 (U2)
PICKIT3 (J1) 1/5
1/29/2018 How to Make a Flame Detector | DIY Hacking


See the full-size version

How the Flame Detector Works


The goal of this project is to make an alarm that signals when a ame is present. This is achieved with three main components:

A ame detector module

The controller circuit
Firmware coded into the main controller

The ame detector module is a simple op amp comparator with an IR diode. Flames emit large quantities of IR radiation, and this radiation can
be detected with an IR diode. The module compares the voltage drop over an IR diode to a reference voltage and outputs a signal, depending
which one is greater. When a ame is detected, the output switches low, and when a ame is not detected, the output switches high. The
potentiometer on the module can be used to adjust the sensitivity so daylight can’t trip the system.

The controller circuit is simple, with the core of the circuit being the PIC16F819. A switch is used for resetting/testing, a buzzer for alerting those
nearby, one green LED to indicate that the module is functioning correctly, and a red LED for indicating that the detector is taking readings from
the ame module. The circuit also has a small power management sub-circuit, which uses a 7805 IC in an SOT-89 package for power regulation.

The real magic in this project lies in the rmware on the PIC16F819. The code itself is written in XC8 and is only 100 lines long, with many of the
lines being empty space, braces, or comments. When executed, the PIC goes through setup procedures, including setting the TRIS bits, disabling
the ADC, and con guring the oscillator. Once done, the PIC enters an in nite loop that probes the module to see if the output is low or high. If
low, then a ame has been detected and the alarm routine is triggered. This routine makes the buzzer beep inde nitely until the test button
has been pressed and held. If no ame has been detected, the program makes the red LED blink to indicate that measurements are being 2/5
1/29/2018 How to Make a Flame Detector | DIY Hacking

taken, and also looks to see if the test button has been pressed. If it has, the buzzer is sounded to prove that the unit (or at least the main
circuit) is, in fact, working.


This project can be built using many di erent circuit construction techniques, including stripboard, breadboard, matrix board, and PCB.
However, if not using a PCB, the 7805 you use should be a through-hole type, as the surface mount 7805 is very small and only suitable for
PCBs. This project is the rst project to use the new PCB production line I have set up for future projects, and these PCBs include a neat
silkscreen and soldermask, which makes building the projects a lot easier. A CNC is still used to drill the holes, but the traces are now done with
ferric chloride and photoresist. 3/5
1/29/2018 How to Make a Flame Detector | DIY Hacking

Downloadable Files

Flame Detector Files

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