New and improved mortar racks:
Final Display Table setup:
To big to fit in one clear picture this year… Here it is from 3 different views:
(from the middle)
Even with all the prep work, it still took us several hours to get everything assembled, layed out, final fusing and final wiring connections. Very long time to be out in the sun. I think it actually took us about as long as last year. This sounds like not a very good improvement, but when you consider that last year was about 1/4th the size, it is actually good. Well, on paper. In reality, I am sun burned and tired beyond belief. It was all worth it though when the show actually started!
Video of the show (204MB):
Well, the video is okay. Tried shooting just the sky this year. You can see and hear what’s going on, but it’s still not quite right. Going to do something a little different next year. Should be similar to the 2006 video, but with the small and large pics swapped.
New firing system:
This year is a whole new venture as far as the firing system goes. Last years was definately a step in the right direction by switching to an electrical system. However, wiring each of the matches to the lead lines onsite took way to long (and with summer’s heat, long isn’t good!).
Fire Control Box:
Last year’s box was nothing more than a bunch of switches hardwired to the matches and a power supply. This year I’ll be using a PLC (programmable logic controller) in place of the switch box. This allows a superior increase in flexibility for configuring the show. Now, I will just have to hook everything to the slats, plug the slats into the PLC and let the programming of the PLC determine which slat cue gets fired in what sequence.
Each cue programmed in the PLC sequence will be triggered by a simple push button that will still allow me to adjust timing on the fly. I had originally intended to have the whole show timed and run its own course, but with class C, there are just to many variables to have this work reliably.
The left picture shows the “brains” of the whole control system. Not much to look at. But considering I only have to push one button now and it cycles through the pre-programmed steps, much better! The back just shows where all the slats connect up, the power connection and the 1/4″ headphone jack is actually the connection for the button I press.
So, this year I decided to approach the connection of the fireworks to the lead lines in a slightly different manner. Hopefully, this will prove to be a quicker method of wiring the fireworks as this year there are going to be 74 cues (vs last year’s 44 cues). What I’ve made are 11 slat boxes (see pic). Each slat is able to fire 7 cues. The matches will be pre-wired to lead lines and those lead lines will connect into the appropriate slat location. The slat then will connect to the fire control box via an ethernet cable. Simple plug and play. Should be great!
As I still don’t have the correct permits to buy proper matches, I’m stuck making my own again. This year’s are different from last year’s in that last year used a metalized composition as the bridge where this year will used an actual physical nichrome bridge. What does that mean? Well, it means that I won’t have to rely on the proper consistency of the composition to ensure a complete circuit. With the nichrome bridge, I’m guaranteed a successful ignition when I press the button (hopefully!). No misfires or slow burns this year. At least, that’s the plan.
***and after the show, the final count was only 5 of 75 didn’t fire properly (~6.7% failure). They didn’t actually fail, they just fired to fast and didn’t properly ignite the fusing. Oh well, we’ll see if I can find something better for next year.