Home made launch controller

Home made launch controller

Post by John- » Tue, 30 Jan 2007 17:09:59



        In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.
All I currently own is a standard Estes controller. My
experiences launching rockets in the past was using fuses,
about 30 years ago. I have just started again and would like to
build my own cluster motored rocket sometime in the near
future.
I could buy the Estes E controller, but would rather make my
own, if it would be more reliable and cheaper then a commercial
controller. I don't have much skill with electrical devices,
except maybe computers. Been reading Harry Stines book and Tim
Van Milligan's. Any advice on a project of clustered rocket
building and a launch controller would be appreciated.
thanks,
John-C
 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Andrew Gripp » Tue, 30 Jan 2007 21:38:19


With only having to do a little soldering I modified my standard Estes
launch controller to hook up to a 12v deep cycle marine battery for black
powder and small APCP clusters but I imagine most any type of battery
putting out 6 to 12 volts would work. I also extended the section of cord
that hooks up to the igniter to about 35'. I didn't have any interest in
standing only 15' away from a 3 banger "D" or "E" motor cluster.

See this website for wiring details on how to modify the launcher:
http://www.rocketinabox.com/launcher.htm I didn't do mine exactly this way
but it will get you in the ball park.

When I did my first cluster rockets I built the Deuces Wild, Tres and
Richter Recker kits that Fliskits offers (www.fliskits.com). Thrustline
Aerospace (http://www.thrustaero.com/) offers a really nice cluster rocket
called the Mike IX that was a good build and flys great.

Andrew Grippo


Quote:
> In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.
> All I currently own is a standard Estes controller. My
> experiences launching rockets in the past was using fuses,
> about 30 years ago. I have just started again and would like to
> build my own cluster motored rocket sometime in the near
> future.
> I could buy the Estes E controller, but would rather make my
> own, if it would be more reliable and cheaper then a commercial
> controller. I don't have much skill with electrical devices,
> except maybe computers. Been reading Harry Stines book and Tim
> Van Milligan's. Any advice on a project of clustered rocket
> building and a launch controller would be appreciated.
> thanks,
> John-C


 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Fred Shecte » Tue, 30 Jan 2007 23:50:18


http://www.rocketinabox.com/launcher.htm

You should note that for MANY years, the Estes controllers have not been built with
screws. They have been welded shut to save parts/money.

Also, you should have 30 feet of wire from the controller to the pad per the Model Rocket
Safety Code for anything more than a D (like E motors or clusters of D, etc.).

Whatever you build should have at least 18 gauge wire.

Thanks.

-Fred Shecter NAR 20117

--
"""Remove "zorch" from address (2 places) to reply.
http://www.sirius.com/

Quote:

> With only having to do a little soldering I modified my standard Estes
> launch controller to hook up to a 12v deep cycle marine battery for black
> powder and small APCP clusters but I imagine most any type of battery
> putting out 6 to 12 volts would work. I also extended the section of cord
> that hooks up to the igniter to about 35'. I didn't have any interest in
> standing only 15' away from a 3 banger "D" or "E" motor cluster.

> See this website for wiring details on how to modify the launcher:
> http://www.rocketinabox.com/launcher.htm I didn't do mine exactly this way
> but it will get you in the ball park.

> When I did my first cluster rockets I built the Deuces Wild, Tres and
> Richter Recker kits that Fliskits offers (www.fliskits.com). Thrustline
> Aerospace (http://www.thrustaero.com/) offers a really nice cluster rocket
> called the Mike IX that was a good build and flys great.

> Andrew Grippo



>> In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
>> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
>> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.
>> All I currently own is a standard Estes controller. My
>> experiences launching rockets in the past was using fuses,
>> about 30 years ago. I have just started again and would like to
>> build my own cluster motored rocket sometime in the near
>> future.
>> I could buy the Estes E controller, but would rather make my
>> own, if it would be more reliable and cheaper then a commercial
>> controller. I don't have much skill with electrical devices,
>> except maybe computers. Been reading Harry Stines book and Tim
>> Van Milligan's. Any advice on a project of clustered rocket
>> building and a launch controller would be appreciated.
>> thanks,
>> John-C

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Andrew Gripp » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 03:35:49


Just wondering about some different things since there is always someone
citing the model rocket safety code.

Do you have to follow the model rocket safety code if your not part of an
organization or flying at a sanctioned launch?

If you are in your backyard and want to fly an "E" motor  and you only stand
15' away and you push the launch button anyway who will show up spouting a
code violation then?

Would you be facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge if you violate the
launch distance section of the model rocket safety code?

In the event you really couldn't care less about NAR or TRA insurance
covering your flying of model rockets does it really matter to be in
violation of the model rocket safety code as long as you don't violate any
local, state or federal laws?

Enquiring minds want to know...

Thanks,

Andrew

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Phil Stei » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 03:52:36


On Mon, 29 Jan 2007 12:35:49 -0600, "Andrew Grippo"

Quote:

>Just wondering about some different things since there is always someone
>citing the model rocket safety code.

>Do you have to follow the model rocket safety code if your not part of an
>organization or flying at a sanctioned launch?

>If you are in your backyard and want to fly an "E" motor  and you only stand
>15' away and you push the launch button anyway who will show up spouting a
>code violation then?

>Would you be facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge if you violate the
>launch distance section of the model rocket safety code?

>In the event you really couldn't care less about NAR or TRA insurance
>covering your flying of model rockets does it really matter to be in
>violation of the model rocket safety code as long as you don't violate any
>local, state or federal laws?

>Enquiring minds want to know...

>Thanks,

>Andrew

You are correct as you usual (to you that is.)  Since there are no
safety considerations here, I think you should make a rocket launching
hat.  Just put a rod on the top and attach the launch button and
battery to the visor.

If you are conerned about safety, don't do what Andrew or I suggested.

Phil

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Thomas Koszut » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 05:04:06


I happened to have an 8 cell 1700 mAH pack and the appropriate charger for
an electric glider.  I used that to successfully fire three Estes ignitors
nearly instantaneously.  That would be a nominal 9.6v, but fully charged
will be more like 11-12v.  It even fired one half of a Deuces Wild cluster
when one of the ignitors was shorted.

8 D sized dry cells will be a nominal 12v, but may be expensive in the long
run.  12 volt "gel cells" or motorcycle batteries are the preferred size as
they provide the voltage and similar current dump of car batteries in
compact 5 or 10 pound package.  I think gel cells can even be charged with a
car battery charger, but I do not own a gel cell and have never read the
safe charging recommendations.  Maybe someone else can chime in here.

My homemade ignition system has 30 feet of vacuum cleaner cord to run to the
pads.  It should be rated for 20 A at 110V.  For modrocks I usually don't
put the pad 30 feet away, but always go at least 10 to 15.  I stretch it all
the way out for clusters and composite D, E, and F motors.  I also used an
automotive relay to keep a relatively small launch push button and to
maintain a "larger pipe" to the ignitors for more current availability.  I
got really carried away and was able to light the continuity light with just
20 to 30 MICRO amps through the ignitors (470K ohm resistor and a transistor
to drive the LED).  I think this is overkill, and maybe even slightly
misleading as any contact (like me holding a clip in either hand) will show
continuity.  It is definitely safe for low current igniters or e-matches.

Make sure all of you components in the firing circuit are rated to 20A or
more.  There is always a possibility of clip to clip short and you're
ignition system having to handle a lot more amperage than even a 1 or 2 ohm
ignitor will draw.

Ironicly, I rarely use it as most of the time I go to larger organized
launches.

Remember that the codes are there for all launches, not just group ones.
The point is that you are safe, your surroundings are safe,  and the hobby
is safe.  You can probably argue about the motor certifications, but the
distance codes and launch field sizes are there for safety reasons and
should always be followed.

--

Tom Koszuta
Western New York Sailplane and Electric Flyers
Buffalo, NY


Quote:
> In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.
> All I currently own is a standard Estes controller. My
> experiences launching rockets in the past was using fuses,
> about 30 years ago. I have just started again and would like to
> build my own cluster motored rocket sometime in the near
> future.
> I could buy the Estes E controller, but would rather make my
> own, if it would be more reliable and cheaper then a commercial
> controller. I don't have much skill with electrical devices,
> except maybe computers. Been reading Harry Stines book and Tim
> Van Milligan's. Any advice on a project of clustered rocket
> building and a launch controller would be appreciated.
> thanks,
> John-C

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Fred Shecte » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 05:06:41


IANAL, but...

Since the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code is actually a summary of the N.F.P.A. 1122 fire
code and many/most state or local fire regulations either invoke this code or quote from
it extensively, violating it would be "illegal" and if you had any accident your personal
insurance might not pay and you might face criminal charges.

I said: "IANAL".
http://www.frogstar.com/wav/displaywav.asp?fil=shooteye.wav
http://www.wavsource.com/snds_2007-01-28_1315076522462124/tv/christma...
http://www.wavsource.com/snds_2007-01-28_1315076522462124/tv/christma...

--
"""Remove "zorch" from address (2 places) to reply.
http://www.sirius.com/

Quote:

> Just wondering about some different things since there is always someone citing the
> model rocket safety code.

> Do you have to follow the model rocket safety code if your not part of an organization
> or flying at a sanctioned launch?

> If you are in your backyard and want to fly an "E" motor  and you only stand 15' away
> and you push the launch button anyway who will show up spouting a code violation then?

> Would you be facing a felony or a misdemeanor charge if you violate the launch distance
> section of the model rocket safety code?

> In the event you really couldn't care less about NAR or TRA insurance covering your
> flying of model rockets does it really matter to be in violation of the model rocket
> safety code as long as you don't violate any local, state or federal laws?

> Enquiring minds want to know...

> Thanks,

> Andrew

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by J.A. Miche » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:06:52


I have a homemade controller that I've been using completely successfully
for years.  For the longest time, I had a single 7.2V 1700MAh
R/C battery pack in it, and it never failed to fire 3 motor clusters.  I set
it up with launch key and continuity circuit.  I installed it in an
enclosure from RatShack, and installed a 120V outlet on the front so I could
use regular extension cords out to the pad, with a single or 3 motor clip
set that plugged in to that.

I recently added a second 7.2V pack to the controller.  Not because it
needed it, but because 7.2V packs were on clearance at WallyWorld for 10
bucks, and it was too cheap to pass up!  This setup will light anything I'd
ever need to, and it beats trying to lug a car battery.

Joe Michel


Quote:
> In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.
> All I currently own is a standard Estes controller. My
> experiences launching rockets in the past was using fuses,
> about 30 years ago. I have just started again and would like to
> build my own cluster motored rocket sometime in the near
> future.
> I could buy the Estes E controller, but would rather make my
> own, if it would be more reliable and cheaper then a commercial
> controller. I don't have much skill with electrical devices,
> except maybe computers. Been reading Harry Stines book and Tim
> Van Milligan's. Any advice on a project of clustered rocket
> building and a launch controller would be appreciated.
> thanks,
> John-C

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by John- » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:29:57


You guy's are great. Thanks for the ideas, I'm reading them all
and noting the links. All info is welcome.
John



Quote:
>    In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by John- » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 11:35:57


Whats funny about your links below is I'm actually wearing "A
Christmas Story" You'll shoot your eye out T-shirt as I read
this response.



Quote:

> I said: "IANAL".
> http://www.frogstar.com/wav/displaywav.asp?fil=shooteye.wav
> http://www.wavsource.com/snds_2007-01-28_1315076522462124/tv/christma...
> http://www.wavsource.com/snds_2007-01-28_1315076522462124/tv/christma...

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Hyphligh » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 13:59:22



Quote:

> You guy's are great. Thanks for the ideas, I'm reading them all
> and noting the links. All info is welcome.
> John

http://www.info-central.org/index.cgi?support
Quote:



>> In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
>> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
>> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Jim Yani » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 14:09:37




Quote:

> You guy's are great. Thanks for the ideas, I'm reading them all
> and noting the links. All info is welcome.
> John



>>      In your guy's experiences, what battery setup could
>> reliably launch a 3 or 4 clustered C motor rocket.
>> I have never done this, I would like to avoid a car battery.

What about a Doug Pratt controller and NiCd pack?

--
Jim Yanik
jyanik
at
kua.net

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Andrew Gripp » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 20:34:40


Fred,

A common response that first time LEUP filers receive from the chief of the
local fire department is "What's 1122 cover?" and the filer more often then
not has to provide it to him. It's not even on their radar because they put
out trash, lawn and building fires not rocket motor fires. Sorry, but my
impression has been that unless you live in a city or CA rocket motors don't
really cause much concern to the locals and for the most part they don't
cause the ATF field agents any concern either and they're dealing with much
larger motors.

How many times has a model rocket flying on a "C" motor caused so much
damage that a home owner filed a claim on their insurance? As I understand
it NAR and TRA insurance has only paid off on a small handful of claims. If
you factor that into the millions and millions of flights over the last
forty years I would say popping a "C" motor in the backyard isn't the
impressively huge risk you and some others are always trying to scare people
into thinking it is. I would say someone with the insurance company is
getting a really great bonus and going on a really great vacation every year
compliments of NAR and TRA insurance premiums.

Would those criminal charges be a felony or misdemeanor?

Get a life and stop being so petty, we've already got Phil doing a wonderful
job of that.

Andrew


Quote:
> IANAL, but...

> Since the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code is actually a summary of the
> N.F.P.A. 1122 fire code and many/most state or local fire regulations
> either invoke this code or quote from it extensively, violating it would
> be "illegal" and if you had any accident your personal insurance might not
> pay and you might face criminal charges.

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Pete Pemberto » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 22:10:01


Quote:

> What about a Doug Pratt controller and NiCd pack?

I have his multi channel controller and a rechargeable 12v
battery/starter from Wally World. I have about $200 in it with launch
rods and plates, and extension cords from Big Lots, I also picked up
his MPR launcher as well. haven't used it yet, as I also nabbed an
Estes Command Control off ebay for about $25, had a fast charger from
my son's RC days (Radio Hack brand) and picked up two 7.2 packs at the
LHS for about $25. It lights crapperheads with nary a problem.
--

PP
--------------------------------------
Deactivate the DYNOMITE to reply.

 
 
 

Home made launch controller

Post by Phil Stei » Wed, 31 Jan 2007 23:06:15


On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 05:34:40 -0600, "Andrew Grippo"

Quote:

>Fred,

>A common response that first time LEUP filers receive from the chief of the
>local fire department is "What's 1122 cover?" and the filer more often then
>not has to provide it to him. It's not even on their radar because they put
>out trash, lawn and building fires not rocket motor fires. Sorry, but my
>impression has been that unless you live in a city or CA rocket motors don't
>really cause much concern to the locals and for the most part they don't
>cause the ATF field agents any concern either and they're dealing with much
>larger motors.

>How many times has a model rocket flying on a "C" motor caused so much
>damage that a home owner filed a claim on their insurance? As I understand
>it NAR and TRA insurance has only paid off on a small handful of claims. If
>you factor that into the millions and millions of flights over the last
>forty years I would say popping a "C" motor in the backyard isn't the
>impressively huge risk you and some others are always trying to scare people
>into thinking it is. I would say someone with the insurance company is
>getting a really great bonus and going on a really great vacation every year
>compliments of NAR and TRA insurance premiums.

>Would those criminal charges be a felony or misdemeanor?

>Get a life and stop being so petty, we've already got Phil doing a wonderful
>job of that.

>Andrew

It would never occur to you that the rules you are discussing were
created to try to make people safer.  I mention this for the benefit
of people that may not know.

Was the kid forced to ride the rocket powered skate board on YouTube
yours?  After all, there is no NAR or TRA insurance applicable and the
chances of anyone getting caught are nil (unless someone ends up in
the hospital.)

Phil

Phil