How-To Geek

How Smoke Detectors Work [Science]

Smoke detectors are a common household fixture so small as to be almost unnoticeable, yet inside is a host of interesting technology and scientific principles at work. Check out this great video from Bill Hammack–the Engineer Guy–to see how they work.

We highlighted a video by Bill Hammack earlier this year–How and LED-lit Monitor Works–and now we’re back to highlight another, how smoke detectors work. Watch the video above to see how radioactive material, ionization, and simple circuits work together to alert you when a fire crops up.

How Smoke Detectors Work [Engineer Guy Video via Make]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/22/11

Comments (2)

  1. Radeon

    Awesome :D

  2. flapjack

    This is a very good representation of an ionizing smoke detector circuit. Can we get information on photoelectric smoke detectors? How about Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

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