Cabe, you are certainly correct about that. Just watch an electrician drive a nail with their pliers. That works quite well, though. And I have a coffee mug that has douled as a hammer to drive tent stakes quite a few times. Of course, it was made to be unbreakable, after several camping trips where less robust mugs did break. This one has lasted at least 20 years.
MattD, very interesting, I had not known that an explosion could produce electrical power.
But for setting things off, the exploding bridgewire is much safer and a lot simpler to test and verify, and it can even provide better timing accuracy. The concept is that a large current with a fast risetime evaporates a chunk of conductor and creates a small cloud of plasma, which is a very good conductor. So the final result is being able to deliver lots of power to a small volume quite rapidly, which "gets things going". And the technology is from the 1950's era.
It was a specific application statement from the manufacturer not to use a single current source since it was possible for the actual explosion to generate a voltage at the instant of ignition and that could subsequently cause other devices to trigger...their claim not mine. I personally never tested anything for this (they wouldn't let me play with the blasting caps ;( or I certainly would have), so I had to accept their claim.
MattD, when I stated that one could use a single current source to check all 8 devices, I presumed that all would understand that I meant a regulated constant current source. So the current would be the same for whatever number of devices were in series, at least up to the compliance voltage limit. And for an application like that I would choose to utilize an intrinsicly safe constant current supply, which would limit any possible static electricity effect. Besides that, the whole system would run with much less power than the recognized as safe power limits.
An explosion does produce plasma, which is a good conductor, but I don't see how an explosion produces static electricity.
Ever tried to probe some wires where access to the ends of the wires is impossible or nearly so...try using small sewing needles to pierce the insulation (if it is high voltage, make sure the power is off first), for really high voltage (>1000V) don't do this as it will degrade the speciallized insualtion and may create a leakage point even after the needle is removed.
It would be possible to use a single current source and a multiplexer to test all 8 devices, with all 8 in series. BUT you would need to use a differential input multiplexer and be very careful about staying within the allowable input voltage offset range.
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