Electric Arc Lighter, Really?
Because everything with USB is simply better, here comes the rechargeable electric arc lighter that instead of flame uses high voltage to create a spark and keep it there for a bit, so that you can light a cigarette, a candle or whatever you need to. It is real and you can actually buy an electric arc lighter from China for just a couple of bucks. I know, because I did just that the moment I saw it on eBay and though it will be a cool to have one of these handy.
The electric arc lighter operates on a very simple principle, it produced high voltage between two or more closely placed electrodes and creates an electric arc between them. The current flowing between the electrodes of the lighter ionizes the air it passes through produces plasma. The electrical arc you see that looks like a mini lightning can be used as a heat source to get things on fire like a regular lighter would do.
It is fun that after the Chinese made electronic cigarettes and made a huge business out of nothing, now they are also making electronic lighters and the two products just don't go together well. You don't need an electronic lighter for an electronic cigarette, but you still can use an electronic lighter to light up the usual stuff like candles.
Is the Electric Arc Lighter Like a Mini Stun Gun
When some people see the electric arc lighter they immediately think of a stun gun or a taser and believe that it is essentially the same thing, but in a smaller package and shaped like a regular lighter. Well, that is not completely true, even though the operating principle of the two might not be completely different either. Even though the electric lighter still uses high-voltage to generate the electric arc it is still less than what stun guns usually use and there is no high pulse frequency used to make your muscles contract at a quick rate.
The electric arc lighter will not electrocute you if you touch the electric arc it produces, however I do not recommend you trying it as you will get a small burn marks on your finger and it won't be very pleasant. Lighters light with heat and the electric lighter also does work the same way, even though it does not rely on a fuel and a flame to generate the heat, but instead uses electrical energy from a rechargeable battery (hence the USB port).
What is Inside the Electric Arc Lighter
On the outside the lighter does look like a nice and solid thing thanks to the solid metal body, but if you decide to open it up and take a look what is inside you may get a bit disappointed. Not very complex and high quality build, though it does manage to work fine. A bit of electronics needed to produce the high voltage needed for the electric arc production and charging circuitry for the battery. The battery inside is a small capacity Lithium cell than can be recharged many times over the provided micro USB port at the bottom of the lighter.
A single full charge of the built-in battery should last for at least about 60-80 times and it could be up to 100 or even more if you don't wait for the built-in failsafe that will turn off the electric arc after a while of it being on, even if you continue pressing the button. So even though it is not too complex product it still has some built-in safety mechanisms and so far based on my personal experience manages to work surprisingly well.
Different Types of Electric Arc Lighters
While there are quite a lot of different designs of electric arc lighters already available there are pretty much two general types available - single and dual arc lighters. The single arc lighter uses just two electrodes and passes a single electric arc between them while the dual electric arc lighter has 4 electrodes and makes an X by crossing the two arcs. It seems that the single arc version is less complex to make and is thus cheaper than the dual arc model, but the crossed dual arcs is definitely cooler.
Advantages of the Electric Arc Lighter
- It is completely electric, so there is no fuel that depletes or a flame that can be dangerous. You can recharge the built-in battery and the electric arc is quite well protected that it will be quite hard to accidentally burn yourself or burn something else while using the lighter.
- The electric arc lighter is windproof, so unlike a traditional flame if there is wind it will not be a problem the electric arc will remain lit. You can easily check that by moving the lighter fast creating strong air movement while it is lit. It is not weatherproof however, so be careful not to get it wet... it is electronic after all and water and electronics do not mix well.
- The electric lighter is rechargeable and does not wear off easily like a regular lighter, so you can use it for a long period of time without problems. The rechargeable Lithium battery inside is not easily replaceable for normal users, but it could still be replaced when it dies, you only need to find a suitable size battery.
- It is a cool USB gadget and still not many people have even heard of electric arc lighters, let alone have one, so you can easily impress your friends when you show them what new gadget you just got off and it is not expensive if you buy it from China off eBay or another online store.
Did I say it is cool, yes I did, yet let me repeat it once again it is really COOL!