If you love fireworks, you probably set them off in your backyard on holidays. But setting off consumer-grade fireworks can be less fun than it sounds.
For one thing, you have to light the fuse yourself. There’s certainly an element of excitement and anticipation in lighting off fireworks. But you have to stand close to them to light them, then run back to watch them go off. This can get tiring if you want to set off a lot of fireworks.
Along similar lines, it’s tough to create a proper fireworks “show.” Maybe you’ve got a launcher with several rockets inside. But ultimately, it’s only practical to light one or two fuses in time. A good “show” is choreographed. Fireworks go off in concert, and sometimes with several at a time. That’s not something you can pull off with a Bic lighter.
But remote firing systems aren’t just for professionals. There are also similar systems for consumer-grade fireworks. They don’t work quite the same way as pro-grade systems, and we’ll discuss that more in a little bit.
However, they still provide most of the same benefits. For one thing, you can set of multiple rockets at once and even set them off in patterns. For another thing, you can set them off from a distance. This is safer, and it lets you get a better view of the show!
Choosing the Best Wireless Fireworks Firing System
Today, we’re going to review two of the best wireless fireworks firing systems. These are both well-designed, and they can set off multiple fireworks. You also get plenty of ways to customize your sequencing. Both of them are also easy enough for the average person to get their head around.
Then again, there are differences between the two, and we’ll need to talk about that. We’ll discuss the physical build, and how the transmitters and receivers are put together. We’ll dig into the controls, and talk about the ways you can customize your fireworks show. We will also need to evaluate the signal range, batteries, and other features. By the time we’re done, you’ll know everything you know to make a good decision.
Before we wrap up, we’ll also talk about how firework firing systems work in general. This will provide some context for the various features, since not everyone is familiar with these devices. After that, we’ll have enough information to render our verdict. Let’s begin!
GarborEffect 24 Channel Wireless Remote Firework Firing System
The GarborEffect 24 Channel Wireless Remote Firework Firing System looks like a piece of audio equipment. That’s because of the connectors you use to plug in wireless fuses. They look like old-school speaker connectors, with black and red tabs that you pull open to insert the wires. There are six firing units in total, each with connectors for four fuses.
The firing units themselves are constructed from black plastic, and have a compact form factor. They’re barely large enough for the connectors and the batteries. Each one has a telescoping antenna on its side, which allows it to connect to the base station.
There are two groups of firing units, with three units in each group. These are indicated by a “1” or “2” sticker on top of the housing. The individual fuse connections are also numbered. Each group is numbered 1-12.
The base station has a rugged plastic housing, and closes up like a briefcase when it’s not in use. The top portion is generously padded, with eggshell-style foam that protects the control panel in the bottom. The panel has 12 red buttons for individual fuses, and separate buttons for the two fuse groups. A numeric LCD display at the back shows which group you have selected. There’s a telescoping antenna at the back right, with a safety key in front of it. None of the controls will work if the key is not inserted and turned on.
Functionality, Range, and Power
Using the “area” button, you can control group 1, group 2, or both. Pressing the firing buttons numbered 1-12 will ignite the corresponding fuses. So if you have group 1 selected and press “5,” fuse 5 from group 1 will be lit. Since you didn’t have group 2 selected, fuse 5 in that group would remain unlit. This allows you to fire any combination of fuses in a short period of time. If you want to speed things up, you can press the rapid fire button to the left. Pressing “all fire” will do exactly what it says; all 24 fuses will be lit.
Each individual firing unit is powered by four AA batteries. This is necessary to provide plenty of voltage, so you can fire all four connected fuses simultaneously. The transmitter is a bit more demanding, requiring six batteries.
The 433MHz signal has a rated range of 500 meters, or a little over 1,600 feet. Obviously, there will be some variation depending on any obstacles or local interference. But you’ll be able to set off even the biggest rockets from a safe distance.
EMYPLAY Remote Wireless Control Firework Firing System
The EMYPLAY Remote Wireless Control Firework Firing System is a bit more modest in scale. It has a set of four receivers, each with a single set of terminals for connecting a single fuse. The receivers are small black boxes, each with a large telescoping antenna at the back right.
The top surface is loaded with controls, starting with a test button at the center. At the left side is a control switch that lets you select from four modes. The top setting is simply “off,” while the next is a test firing mode. The third setting is for standard operation, and the last is for a special sequential mode. To the right is a set of indicator lights that let you know your current setting. On the right side of the housing is a second switch, also with four positions. This can be used to put the receiver into different groups.
The controller is small and handheld, with a telescoping antenna on the front. There are four different firing buttons on the top, each of which is clearly labeled. The black plastic housing is easy to grip, so you don’t have to worry about it slipping out of your hand.
Functionality, Range, and Power
There are two ways to operate the receivers. First, you simply press a button to fire the corresponding unit. By using the switch on the side, you can also associate more than one receiver with one button.
In sequential mode, things work a bit differently. In that case, the receivers will fire in sequence. So you can press “1,” and they’ll fire in this order: 1, 2, 3, 4. You can even adjust the interval time in several steps, between 0.1 and 1.4 seconds.
We should note that each receiver can fire multiple rockets on the same electric fuse. You can wire up to five fireworks in parallel or 10 in series. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to individually control fireworks on the same fuse. When the receiver activates, all of them will go off.
Each receiver requires a standard 9-volt battery in order to operate. The transmitter uses a 12V 23A battery. These are less common, but you can still find them at a home improvement store or electronics store. The signal range of 200 meters (656 feet) is enough for most consumer-grade applications. Unless you’re doing something unusual, you shouldn’t need more than that.
Firework Firing System Basics
Before we wrap up, let’s take a minute to talk about firework firing systems more generally. How do you actually use a wireless firework system? To use a remote detonator, you need three things: a detonator, some igniters, and the fireworks. We assume you’ve got the fireworks covered. Let’s talk about the other two things.
Remote and Base
A remote firing system will have a radio receiver, which picks up commands from a transmitter. Most systems have multiple receivers. The more receivers, the more fireworks you can set off. A receiver, in turn, will have one or more sets of connectors for electrical fuses. Again, the more connectors you have, the more fireworks you can set off.
The transmitter, meanwhile, plays host to all your controls. Some are basic controls with one button for each receiver. Others are more advanced, and the most advanced can even be programmed. This is rare on consumer-grade models, though.
Electric Firework Igniter Types
There are three types of firework igniters, each with their own benefits. Here’s a quick overview of each one:
- E-match igniters are inserted directly into a firework’s internal fast fuse. This circumvents the safety fuses on consumer-grade fireworks, so we wouldn’t recommend using this variety. That said, it does have important benefits for professionals. Most importantly, it ignites the firework instantaneously, giving more precise control over the timing.
- Consumer match igniters have a little slot at the end. You thread the firework fuse through the slot, and the igniter heats it up until it lights. This is easy to set up, and it doesn’t circumvent the firework’s safety fuse. However, consumer match igniters are often unreliable.
- Talon igniters are the best choice for consumers. They have a little clip that clamps down over the fuse, so ignition is much more reliable. They also ignite the fuse faster than consumer match igniters. And they still don’t circumvent any safety features, so premature ignition is less of a concern.
Both of these wireless firework firing systems are well-engineered. But which one is the best for your needs?
If you’re looking for the most channels, the GarborEffect (ZHY) 24 Channel Wireless Remote Firework Firing System is a solid choice. With 24 separate sets of connectors, you can set off a lot of fireworks at a go. The signal range is also impressive, on par with many professional-grade firing systems. And with its rugged design, it’s built to last for years.
The EMYPLAY Remote Wireless Control Firework Firing System has fewer channels. But it makes up for this with some impressive advanced controls. The ability to set intervals between rockets and fire rockets in sequence is a great touch. It’s the kind of fine-grain control you need to set off a complex, professional-looking show. If you’re all about choreography, you’re going to be very pleased.