When it comes to hacking, I tend to enjoy practical projects the most. The Arduino is like physical computing “duct tape” that gives one the ability to “duct tape” things that need constant attention or action. If you need a plant watered, or your fish tank pump monitored, or your bikini-clad friends to set off a musical instrument with just their bodies then the Arduino is just the tool you need. So what about fire?
The Arduino Fire Alarm v1.0 is an attempt to solve for a reasonably probable flare up in our expensive Epilog laser cutter. This pricey toy is a marvel of modern engineering, allowing Resistors and the community to craft remarkably precise objects from acrylic and wood, or etch complex designs onto various materials. Smoke alarms are slow to react and services like Fast Fire Watch Guards would need to be hired in case they fail, but the UV TRON sensor employed in the Arduino Fire Alarm reacts instantly to the UV light emitted by flames. The tube responds to a very narrow band of the ultraviolet spectrum, keeping false alarms very low (really nonexistent in my experience.) The rapid response time gives laser operators the ability to react quickly to a flare up and extinguish the fire before it damages the machinery. Future designs may even incorporate clever extinguishing responses.
You can find out more about the Arduino Fire Alarm v1.0 on our Wiki site here and download the Arduino sketch as well as a rudimentary parts list and schematic. Build your own! Parts will run you a bit over $100 if you don’t have a spare Arduino handy, but the device could be a lifesaver if you’re able to respond and extinguish a small flare up before it becomes a significant risk to your equipment or your facility.
This project had been sitting around on my to-do list for awhile, but with AwesomeAugust raging on, I felt it was time to give this project its due attention and usher it to completion. W00t!