Arc lighter hack plays a merry tune, no speakers required
Here's an idea for bright sparks looking to lighten the mood with a monophonic ditty while bringing some birthday cake candles to life. Ahmad Tabbouch, owner of Sydney, Australia's UltraKeet electronics project portal, recently bought a couple of Dual-Arc electronic lighters online with the intention of gifting them, but first modified them to play a catchy little tune from the arcs themselves.
Tabbouch – otherwise known as PodeCoet – essentially just swapped out the microcontroller on the arc lighter's PCB, then introduced his own code to get the lighter to "play" a tinny version of We are number one by LazyTown.
The code modulates the waveforms used in the creation of the arcs, generating a tune without needing to install a speaker or buzzer in the lighter – all sound comes from the arcs. And in a sneaky twist, he designed the lighter to play the tune just once, and only on the 20th power cycle.
"This lighter is a gift to a paranoid friend of mine, who I really like to screw with," says PodeCoet. "The idea is to give him the lighter, he'll use it, and on the 20th cycle it'll randomly play a tune. He'll then come back to me and say 'OMG, this lighter makes music,' but despite repeated attempts to make it play, it won't."
Yielding to a reader request, PodeCoet recently added an arc rendition of the Imperial March from Star Wars to the firmware.
He's made the schematic, code and datasheets available on the project page for those who want to make their arc lighters sing while lighting tea light candles below the Lumir C LED lamp or to fire up the Stirling Engine on the Candela VibroPhase effects pedal. He does warn that embarking on such a project would involve "the fondling of a circuit that generates high voltages," so caution is advised.
You can see and hear the arc lighter playing the Imperial March in the video below.