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Question for fun. We all know piezo igniters, these small friends, like following one: piezo ignighter image

All of them are probably quite similar: same spring, same piezo, same hit force, and so on.

Also I have some 18650 LiIon batteries, rated $3.7 \text{V} \cdot 2.2 \text{Ah} = 8.14 \text{Wh}$.

So for a joke I wondered: How many clicks could be required to charge battery?


I know, that $8.14\text{Wh}$ is roughly $30,000 \text{Ws}$, or joules. And I imagined that my theoretical conversion device has 75% conversion efficiency, so at a total, I need to produce 40,000 joules of energy with clicks. But I don't know how to estimate single click energy.

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Here is how to have this fun.

Using a spring force gauge and a ruler, measure the spring force in the igniter as a function of button push distance for a series of different distances. Take your measurements all the way up to the push distance point where the spring mechanism finally lets go and releases the hammer inside to strike the piezo stack.

On a piece of graph paper, make a chart with button push distance on the x-axis and measured spring force on the y-axis. It will probably be a straight line, or close to it, which starts at zero on the x-axis and ends at the release point distance.

Measure the area under that plot line. This is numerically equal to the total amount of mechanical work stored in the internal spring at that instant when the release mechanism lets go.

Convert that value of mechanical work into electrical work units and assume that all the mechanical work is converted into electrical work by the piezo stack. This gives you the electrical work output of a single button push.

Now you can solve for an estimate of the number of button push cycles it will take to charge that battery!

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  • $\begingroup$ Any ideas about estimating either voltage or current? $\endgroup$ – Jasper Mar 19 at 7:29
  • $\begingroup$ No, you'd need to measure these things, which will require an oscilloscope. $\endgroup$ – niels nielsen Mar 19 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Jasper If current is insuffient for charging your battery type, you may always put multiple ingiters in parallel. Then, add a shaft with a handle and some cams to that doomsday device (so that igniters would click simultaneusly, all at once, once per shaft turn). Minimal amount of igniters/cams, multiplied by number of turns required could indirectly indicate a practical power of one thing. In theory, I think that ideal piezo has virtually infinite voltage and zero current, and click event could be described with something like "Dirac delta function" (unmeasurable/dependant on osc samplerate) $\endgroup$ – xakepp35 Mar 20 at 14:45

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