Burning Man: 2015-2019
Private functions: 2015-2018
J.O.A.N. is a burning man art vehicle based on a Humvee chassis with four roof-mounted propane flame cannons. I designed, built, and installed the electronic control of the flame effects, as well as associated fire safety systems. I also contributed to the flame effects’ plumbing and fabrication.
The fire control system I created is actuated by two handheld controllers, one accessible from the cockpit, and the other accessible from the aft gunner position. The gunner controls can be shared with participants allowing them full control of the cannon firing. Both the gunner and pilot, who are on headset coms any time the vehicle is in operation, have emergency stop switches which disable the cannons. In addition to direct actuation, the controls support preprogrammed firing patterns, as well as the ability to record and loop patterns. The system can also be accessed via laptop for more sophisticated control, such as syncing with music, or other direct MIDI control.
J.O.A.N.'s fire control system is a mix of 120v AC propane rated solenoids and 5v DC control electronics. The switching is made possible by large solid state relays and high voltage varistors. I designed this system to be as robust to failure and interference as possible. J.O.A.N. could be hit with an EMP melting the main controller, and with some quick hardware swaps, the flame cannons would be back up and running. Most projects don't have to worry about being hit by EMPs, but after a close encounter with a Tesla coil at Burning Man, the robust system paid off and we were able to quickly recover from massive electrical interference.