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COBRA 18R2 Remote Controls

18R2-1-button.jpgCOBRA Remote Controls have quickly become the industry standard for dependable wireless ignition of professional pre-packaged pyrotechnics.

This article will cover the details on the 18R2 Pro Remote.  For more information on the 18R Remote can be found HERE.

What's the difference between the 18R and the 18R2?  Find out HERE.


How is the COBRA 18R2 Pro Remote Different?

Rapid Fire Speed

Different from other wireless firing systems (and an upgrade from the original 18R), the new 18R2 has no limit on how fast you can manually fire cues. This is accomplished by an innovating grid-firing technique where COBRA transmits multiple layers of firing commands that overlap onto each other. This ensures that in the rare event a wireless command is not received, the redundant layers act as backup to ensure every cue is fired as expected.

In addition, you don't need to wait for visual fire confirmation since the COBRA 18M will always provide enough current to fire the cue regardless of how long you hold the button on the hand-held remote.


Firing Memory

The 18R2 has a 4MB internal flash chip for storing script, continuity and firing history. This allows the remote to tell you good, bad and expected continuity based on uploaded scripts. In addition, when firing your show the remote tells you which cues have been fired and which cues remain to be fired in real-time.

Multi-Cue / Mod Firing

For manual firing, the 18R2 allows you to fire multiple cues at the same time by simply pressing multiple buttons on the hand-held remote. For example, press cues 1 and 2 at the same time.

In addition, using the USB port for script uploads, you can fire unlimited cues / channels at the same time. For example, if you have 6 positions, where each position has an 18M on a different channel, you can fire each module independently or at the same time.

Module Addresses

The 18R2 assigns unique address (A01, A02, A03...) to each COBRA 18M when synced. This unique address is used to test continuity and signal strength across modules set to the same channel directly from the 18R2. Module addresses are also used to communicate module-specific alerts back to the 18R2. Example alerts include low-battery and key in the TEST vs. ARM position.


Creating Scripts

The 18R2 is outfitted with a USB port for the uploading of up to 100 pre-defined scripts. You can create scripts in seconds using using Microsoft Excel, or you can create powerful pyromusicals using our integration with Finale Fireworks Pro.


Scripts can include everything from mulitple mini-scripts (e.g. quick chases) to complete 15, 30+ minute pyromusicals. You can also create "step scripts" which require the user to manually press the STEP button to jump to the next event.
Microsoft Excel - The following script format is easily created using Microsoft Excel. You can define one or more scripts in a single file to be executed at any time by any number of trigger channel and trigger button combinations. Using the return channel parameter, you can easily return to a single channel used for starting your scripts for efficient semi-auto firing. You can also watch the online video tutorial to learn how easy it is. You can download the script template to begin creating scripts today

Cobra Show Creator - Available on PC only, COBRA Show Creator is our own scripting software. You can easily script simple shows, or load a music file to fire events at defined points in music.

Finale Fireworks - The 18R2 is also integrated to Finale Fireworks, a drag-and-drop visual choreography software for designing firework shows. With Finale, you can watch your show before fired. It also allows for easy integration and timing of music into your shows.

Semi-Auto Firing

The 18R2 offers the unique ability to manually fire cues while an automatic script is running. For example, while executing a pyromusical you may want a handful of manual reserve shots to fill any unanticipated black sky. Using the 18R2, you can manually fire any cues whether defined in the scipt or not, at any time during the show without disrupting the current firing script.


The COBRA 18R2 uses simple controls to allow up to 100 unique channels to fire from a single remote. Simply change the channel on the remote to fire modules set to the same channel. With 100 channels and 18 cues per module, you can fire up to 1,800 unique cues. You can also set as many modules as you want to the same channel to fire multiple positions at the same time. This allows for an easy way to create mirrored fronts or effects.


Different from uni-directional wireless firing systems, all COBRA systems utilize bi-directional transceivers. This means that each firing module will transmit critical information such as cue continuity, signal strength, battery life, and arm-state back to the hand-held remote. This gives you confidence that the modules are in range, armed, and still showing good continuity for each of the desired cues right up to the moment you start your show.


18R2-3.jpgAt COBRA, we believe safety and reliability are the most important features of any firing system. With that in mind, every COBRA system incorporates the below collection of technological and usability based features. This ensures safe and reliable functionality every time you use the system.

  • IEEE® Unique Network MAC Addresses - Every COBRA remote contains a fully unique network MAC address. This address is programmed onto the unit at the time of production and contains 16 x 0-F base-16 values. For example, 00.1C.2C.00.00.C0.00.01.

By syncing a firing module to a remote, the remote's network MAC address is saved and remembered on the firing module, even after power-on and power-off. Once saved, the firing module will ONLY respond to the remote containing this unique MAC address. This prevents any other remotes from firing your system. In addition, any time a firing module is synced to a different remote, the previous MAC address is overwritten, thereby ensuring the firing module only responds to the last remote to which it was synced.

  • 2.4GHz tranceiver modules - The Cobra 18R2 uses a 2.4GHz transceiver module manufactured by Synapse, a US company that both develops and manufactures its SNAP line of IEEE 802.15.4 radio modules and transceiver ICs.

The same transceiver and software development platform is used successfully not only by COBRA, but also in a variety of safety-critical industrial wireless applications, including medical monitoring systems and airport lighting controls.

  • Redundant, solid-state, self-testing MOSFETs - The COBRA 18M uses redundant solid-state firing FETs on both the high and low side of each firing cue. This ensures that no power is supplied to the cue unless the firing module is both armed, in fire mode and is actively firing a cue. The redundant FETs provide protection against unintentional electro-static discharge (ESD) and serve to automatically test for damaged or shorted FETs upon system start-up. If detected, the system will automatically disable itself and will not operate.
  • NFPA compliant user-design - The COBRA system adheres to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) chapter 9.2 requirements including a key-operated switch, multiple actions to arm and fire, and minimum current requirements when performing continuity tests.
  • Contains FCC, CE and IC certified RF Module - The 18R2 contains the Synpase 802.15.4 2.4GHz RF transceiver modules and is affixed with the CE mark and the FCC mark: "FCC ID: U9O-SM220" per Part 15 regulations.

Wireless Confidence

While using a wireless firing system, the last thing you should be worried about is reliability. At COBRA, we have taken many steps to ensure that when your firing commands leave the remote, they reliably reach your modules.

  • Long Range - Although COBRA advertises a 1,500+ ft. (500+ m) range, the Synapse SM-220 used by COBRA is advertised over 15,000+ ft. (4,500+ m). This is a manufacturer's spec and is based on the RF Module having the possibility of receiving a command. For pyrotechnics, we depend on guaranteed firing and not possibilities. Therefore, we don't advertise this range although the system can transmit this far. In extreme range tests, we successfully fired cues from over 1.7 mi. (2.7 km) in over-water conditions.
  • MESH - Firmware versions 5.0 and later will contain our MESH technology. MESH, a signal miracle worker, allows all devices to participate in signal communications. Think of every firing module acting as a repeater, relaying all communications to all devices within range in real-time. This feature allows you to repeat communications over hills and around buildings, and produce a worry-free signal environment. The MESH network functions automatically for all devices. No user action is required, simply operate on version 5.0 and you will leverage this shared network.
  • Firing Redundancy - When pressing any fire button on the remote including individual 1-18 fire, STEP fire, or AUTO-FIRE, the 18R2 will send out 12 redundant firing command pulses. This ensures that if one command is missed, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc... will be received. If your signal strength readings are beyond the recommended -70 value, the system will fire, however it is recommended that you hold the firing button down until you see visual confirmation. This is because the remote sends about 40 redundant firing commands a second when held.

Power Conservation

18R2-5.jpgThe 18R2 will last for up to 7 hours in active operation. At any time you can power on the 18R2 to determine the current battery life. When the remote powers on, it will display 1 through 9, this represents the power level, with 9 being full power, and 1 being low power.

Night Friendly

The 18R2 provides bright backlit silicon keypads for easy night viewing. In addition, wide-buttons make you feel confident you won't accidentally press the wrong buttons or multiple buttons at the same time. Once pressed, a red LED displays on the remotes 18-cue LED grid, confirming the cue has fired.


The 18R2 is enclosed in 2.5mm thick high-strength ABS plastic. The clear design minimizes entry of air, moisture, and dust into the electronic housing by eliminating the need for cut-outs and micro-gaps in the enclosure. Polyurethane-coated fire-retardant silicon keypads have custom walls that push up against the top-enclosure to further protect against moisture and dust.