Remote controlled bombs are very similar to time bombs (read about them here) in many ways, except they are safer. Relatively, anyway.

Huh? Why are you talking about a safe bomb? How can a bomb be safe? That would slightly defy the purpose, would it not?

Well, depends what you want to use the bomb for. I am – despite what my friends will tell you – not a terrorist, but a pyrotechnician. Therefore, my bombs will be designed to blow up stuff without killing people. However, if you are the kind of person who would read stuff like this to blow people up, I suppose you can use the info in here for that as well. Except I would like to inform you that you are a sick, sick fuck.

So, isn’t it difficult to make a remote controlled bomb?

Not at all. It is laughably simple, actually. You need a battery, a radio receiver, and an electronic fuse. Oh, and a radio transmitter, of course.

All of these things can be bought especially for use with pyrotechnics devices, giving you a higher degree of interference shielding, or you could just go to your local hobby store, and buy a radio controller unit for, say, an RC car. You’ll want the battery to be hooked up to the electronic fuse, and the radio controller as a circuit breaker.

What? Is that all?

Yes, that’s all. For less than 10 quid, you have everything you need to make a remote detonator. All you need now is something that will blow up. A maroon is nice, but you can use anything that will work with these types of fuses. In practice, this means that you can use anything from nuclear warheads to firecrackers.

How about safety?

Yes, you are right – safety. Well. If safety is a concern for you (and it should be, if you are a pyrotechnician. And even more so if you are not), you simply shouldn’t be using RC detonators at all. Why? Have a look at your immediate surroundings. A TV. A radio. A mobile telephone. There are MANY waves flying around in the air, all of which are in danger of interfering with your project. When listening to a portable CD player, interference from a mobile telephone is annoying. However; When working with pyrotechnics, it is more than annoying if the mobile interference sets off the crown jewel in your pyrotechnics display. Especially if you are carrying it.

So – if you HAVE to use RC detonations, make sure you make a safety loop. What’s this? Well, you take about 4 meters of wire, and make a long loop running from one side of the battery, to the RC receiver. This wire you pull away from the prop, and you set a switch on the end. That way, you can physically prevent the prop from going off as you are setting it up. When everything is up, you take cover and hit the switch. You are then at least 2 meters away from the blast if it does go off. This will not save your eardrums, but it just might save your life.

Also, never underestimate the predictability of stupidity. If someone knows you will be using RC units during a performance, some “funny” guy will always bring the remote controller for their RC car. And if you are unlucky, they will be using the exact same crystals as you are. And if they are, they use the same frequency. And if they do, you are going to feel very silly when your props start going off when they are not supposed to. Which also can be dangerous.

What you want to do is to brief EVERYONE involved in the project not to come anywhere near the props with mobile telephones or other transmitting equipment. Also – turning the sound off is NOT good enough. Some people don’t seem to understand this. Some people are extraordinarily stupid. Live with it. And never - ever - tell your audience what type of technology is being used.

But what about range?

Right. In pyrotechnics, you would never want to blow up something that is beyond what you can see – for safety's sake. But if you would want to blow the top off a mountain, or you would want to do a nuclear test in your back yard, you might indeed want to be further away than what a regular RC unit can do.

So – how can you increase the range of an RC unit?

You cannot.

Err.. Right. But THEN what do you do?

Well. Depending on what range you need. But if we are talking anything between 500 meter and worldwide, the solution has already been mentioned in this write-up...

What? Tell me!

Okay, but only if you promise never to use this.

The answer is mobile phones. When we are talking about these types of ranges, we are also talking about some serious budgets. You are hardly going to need a range of a few miles to set off a firecracker, are you? Exactly. We are talking huge explosions here, possibly even nuclear weapons, so it doesn't matter if a mobile phone also gets blasted to smithereens.

What you’ll need to do is to open the telephone, disconnect the tweeter (the thing that makes the ringing sound, not the earphone loudspeaker), and connect this to your electrical fuse. This way, when the phone rings… you guessed it. Boom.

The important thing here is to not use a phone number that anyone knows. Using your brother’s phone is a bad plan. Also, using any registered phone is a bad plan. In many countries, it is possible to get mobile pay-as-you-go telephones without giving anyone a name. If you are going to be a terrorist, then at least don’t get caught.

If this doesn’t work out; Use a beeper. Yes, one of those old-fashioned things. Not only do they often have a better range than telephones (because they only need to receive small amounts of data, not streaming conversation), but they are smaller, and can be more easily concealed. Also, most beepers are anonymous to purchase, and (even more importantly) easier to disassemble than telephones. The process of hooking it all up is the same. Using a mobile telephone gives you a battery life of up to 7 days – using beepers can give you a few weeks of life. Both have the advantage that they can be set off from anywhere in the world – a phone booth, a hotel room, or even from aeroplane, using those in-flight monsters. Or – using a satellite telephone – pretty much from anywhere else in the world.

But.. What about the terrorists?

I realise that by writing this stuff on E2 it sort of makes me somewhat responsible for people who want to use it. On the other hand, anyone who is ready to do this type of stuff has thought about all this before. As a matter of fact, mobile telephones have been used for remote detonators in the past.

Also, I feel that now, when terrorism seems to be a hot topic, people should be better educated about the possible ways of attack. Knowledge is power, and all that.

What other types of detonators are there?
Back to the node on pyrotechnics
Please read the disclaimer. Also, make sure you have read the Pyrotechnics safety tips. SAFETY FIRST

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