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  1. #1
    Join Date
    11th February 2017
    Location
    south Florida
    Posts
    516

    Reminder no. 99 to turn on your electronics - $700 rocket destroyed yesterday

    A beautiful $700 rocket was lost at yesterday's launch when the owner (not me) forgot to turn on his electronics prior to the flight. It was a large rocket on a K motor so it made a sickening whistling sound as it descended and then a loud thud as it lawn darted about 1200' feet from the pad. The owner looked for 3 hours but never found even a trace of the rocket (mostly shrubs and high grass at this field).

    So just another reminder to be careful and turn everything on before launching.


    L1 3/25/17 H135
    L2 8/12/17 J180

  2. #2
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Stafford VA
    Posts
    6,971
    OHHHHH that is so bad...
    Was it soft ground and a fiberglass rocket? He could have been looking for a hole in the ground to dig the rocket out of....

    I know most folks don't like the pull pin switches for turning on electronics, but there is an advantage; its hard to walk away from the pad with a "Remove Before Flight" ribbon hanging from the rocket!

    Handeman

    TRA #09903 L3 3/29/2015

    "If you don't use your head, you have to use your feet!" my Dad

    Tripoli Central Virginia #25 - BattlePark.org

  3. #3
    Join Date
    16th February 2014
    Location
    Gilroy, CA
    Posts
    2,163
    I have attached a ribbon to my rocket with masking tape as a reminder. Of course once you forget to arm your electronics once I doubt you'll forget again.


    Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
    Chris Attebery
    TRA 6602 L3
    Personal best: 37,789' 1335mph

    www.ape-rc.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    15th October 2016
    Location
    Huntsville AL
    Posts
    1,687
    I tape my igniter to the rocket with "Turn Stuff On!" written on the masking tape.
    "I'm at least 70% confident about whatever I say (90% of the time)"- college me

    NAR 101195
    Level 1: Big SAM, 9/10/16

  5. #5
    Join Date
    20th February 2009
    Location
    Cayuga, Indiana
    Posts
    12,830
    I'm more apt to turn on my electronics than insert my ignitor. Don't remember the last time I flew a rocket without electronics.

    From the Ether...
    L3, TRA #11847
    Tripoli Indiana #132
    Tripoli Central Illinois #59
    Central Illinois Aerospace (NAR) #527
    Chicago Rocket Mafia, "Big Bucks" Dixon
    ___________________________________

    Quiet little voices creep into my head. -- We Were Promised Jetpacks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    10th July 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    1,219
    I have tried a lot of switches but the RBF pins are my favourite. Very difficult to forget. I don't use anything else now.

    Also, all electronics should be on before inserting the igniter, in case it takes off when you clip onto the launch system.
    TRA 13430, Level 3

    "Everybody's simulation model is guilty until proven innocent" (Thomas H. Lawrence 1994)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    26th February 2012
    Location
    Poultney , Vt
    Posts
    894
    Quote Originally Posted by dixontj93060 View Post
    I'm more apt to turn on my electronics than insert my ignitor. Don't remember the last time I flew a rocket without electronics.

    From the Ether...
    Exactly!! . When I was just starting out with electronics in 1998(ISH) , rocket R&D Arcas on a SU aerotech 54mm I140T with no ejection charge , I learned the hard way to always arm your electronics first . A bad launch controler at a club launch with a hung open relay fired the igniter as soon as i hooked up the leads . Thank fully it took about 2 seconds to light off . I had a great up close and in person veiw of a beautiful flight straight up , and straight down almost as fast . ALWAYS ARM YOUR ELECTRONICS FIRST!!!!!!!

    Eric
    You must always push your limits , because if you never fail , you will never succeed .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    18th March 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    3,536

    Reminder no. 99 to turn on your electronics - $700 rocket destroyed yesterday

    No doubt that as soon as your rocket is vertical, before the igniter goes in the motor, arm the electronics.

    I try to find the new folks at launches in an attempt to assist them. This is one of the main points I try to instill upon initial use of electronics.


    Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
    Mark Koelsch
    Tripoli 6155 L3
    Owner of http://www.rocketryfiles.com/
    Editor of http://www.thrustcurve.org/
    Member of the Tripoli Motor Test Committee, and keeper of the motor file

  9. #9
    Join Date
    14th March 2009
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    3,184
    Inserting the igniter is the last thing I do. I ALWAYS wait for those three little continuity chirps before I put that igniter in. Still, its a shame to hear about someone losing a rocket over a simple mistake any of us could make.

    I am going to suggest to my club that our pad manager verify electronics are armed before everyone leaves the pad. Not just to prevent the loss of a rocket, but no one wants to have a high power rocket lawn dart anywhere near people or vehicles.
    Zeus-cat
    NAR# 92125 L1
    Total Impulse for 2017: 1,493.8 N/s Flights: 56
    2017: 1/2A:0, A:6, B:11, C:2, D:12, E:4, F:1, G: I have NEVER launched a G motor, H:1, I:1

  10. #10
    Join Date
    29th November 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    1,191
    I always connect my igniter to the launch system before I insert it into the motor. That way, if it goes off I'll just be surprised and have to get a new one. I won't have a motor going off in my face.

    Edward

  11. #11
    Join Date
    20th February 2009
    Location
    Cayuga, Indiana
    Posts
    12,830
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaHybrids View Post
    I always connect my igniter to the launch system before I insert it into the motor. That way, if it goes off I'll just be surprised and have to get a new one. I won't have a motor going off in my face.

    Edward
    Seems like it touching the leads together to test before hooking to ignitor is standard practice and much safer than inserting an ignitor into a motor that is connected to a launch system.

    From the Ether...
    L3, TRA #11847
    Tripoli Indiana #132
    Tripoli Central Illinois #59
    Central Illinois Aerospace (NAR) #527
    Chicago Rocket Mafia, "Big Bucks" Dixon
    ___________________________________

    Quiet little voices creep into my head. -- We Were Promised Jetpacks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    23rd July 2011
    Location
    Butte, MT
    Posts
    2,109
    Quote Originally Posted by dixontj93060 View Post
    Seems like it touching the leads together to test before hooking to ignitor is standard practice and much safer than inserting an ignitor into a motor that is connected to a launch system.

    From the Ether...
    Thatís what I do and recommend. If a relay is stuck the leads will definitely arc. Connecting the leads to the uninserted igniter would be fine also and tests the continuity circuit as well, but I would disconnect the igniter before inserting the igniter.
    Steve Shannon
    L3CC, TAP, Director, Tripoli Rocketry Association

  13. #13
    Join Date
    19th December 2015
    Posts
    134
    My Dad does it. Pilots do it. NASA does it.

    I wonder why more people don't do it. It's not a "crutch". It's not just for newbies.

    Modern High Power Rocketry 2. (Appendix 8)

    Just do it.
    Sabrina the WildChild
    NAR #94600 Jr L-1
    TRA # 15983-M1 -Proud Member of Tripoli Mentoring Program
    Woosh #558
    TWA - Tripoli Wisconsin

  14. #14
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
    Posts
    4,721
    Quote Originally Posted by dixontj93060 View Post
    Seems like it touching the leads together to test before hooking to ignitor is standard practice and much safer than inserting an ignitor into a motor that is connected to a launch system.

    From the Ether...
    Flick them to see if one can create a spark. See a spark? Ya's gots a fused relay and a no go. Nonetheless, one should'a
    turned on the electronics before they got to this step.

    That's a sad thing to see and I'm sympathetic towards the flier. Haven't done that yet myself but I'm standing on shoulders of giants. Screwed up on motor deployment with shearpins and undersized charge but the GPS tracker
    gave a good "last fix" over the "fincan sticking out of the ground". Got a flyable rocket back.

    Probably won't make that mistake again unless they get out of flying. Kurt

  15. #15
    Join Date
    23rd October 2015
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    61
    Quote Originally Posted by dixontj93060 View Post
    Seems like it touching the leads together to test before hooking to ignitor is standard practice and much safer than inserting an ignitor into a motor that is connected to a launch system.

    From the Ether...
    Better still, have a pad box that tests for a shorted relay before connecting to the igniter. Our club launch system has this on each ignition channel. If the relays are shorted, then a red LED warns you.

    Use common sense procedures to avoid not arming electronics as mentioned by other respondents: use a check list and have the LCO ask the question before pressing the launch button.

    I learned this lesson the hard way when I trashed a PML Explorer in a dual deployment configuration. I forgot to arm the electronics. It actually came in horizontally from about 5000’ which was quite bizarre to watch.
    John
    TRA #14574 L2

  16. #16
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    6,813
    Quote Originally Posted by AlphaHybrids View Post
    I always connect my igniter to the launch system before I insert it into the motor. That way, if it goes off I'll just be surprised and have to get a new one. I won't have a motor going off in my face.

    Edward
    Very bad idea. If some idiot at the LCO desk hits the button while you are inserting the wired igniter, you may get your fingers burned off.

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  17. #17
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    6,813
    Very simple checklist at the pad:

    1. Rocket is upright.
    2. Turn on electronics.
    3. Continuity beeps good.
    4. Insert igniter.
    5. Attach leads.
    6. Walk away.

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  18. #18
    Join Date
    27th July 2014
    Location
    south beloit, IL
    Posts
    2,178
    Quote Originally Posted by Bat-mite View Post
    Very simple checklist at the pad:
    I always remind myself (and tell other people) to go from "least dangerous to most dangerous"

    So the first things are stuff like taking pictures of the rocket, arming cameras, etc
    Then av bays
    then motor stuff

    With the understanding that the bottom of the list is where I can get hurt the most, and I want to minimize the amount of time that I want to be around the rocket after it's done.
    NAR# 99285
    Tripoli# 16283
    L1- 4/26/2015 Madcow Cowabunga- H123SK
    L2- 11/1/2015 Wildman Darkstar 2.6- J355RL
    L3- 11/3/2017 Wildman V2 6" - M1780NT
    Woosh
    QCRS

  19. #19
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Austria
    Posts
    744
    I use a slightly modified version of the already posted approaches:

    1. Rocket is upright.
    2. Turn on electronics.
    3. Continuity beeps good.
    4. Touch leads, watch for sparks
    5. Unplug leads at pad box
    6. Insert igniter.
    7. Attach leads to igniter.
    8. Attach leads to pad box.
    9. Walk away.


    The distance between rocket and pad box is not very big, but it is better than having my hands and face next to the nozzle when I finish the connection.


    Reinhard

  20. #20
    Join Date
    3rd February 2012
    Location
    So Cal (ROC, TRASD, SCRA)
    Posts
    2,546
    Quote Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
    I use a slightly modified version of the already posted approaches:

    1. Rocket is upright.
    2. Turn on electronics.
    3. Continuity beeps good.
    4. Touch leads, watch for sparks
    5. Unplug leads at pad box
    6. Insert igniter.
    7. Attach leads to igniter.
    8. Attach leads to pad box.
    9. Walk away.


    The distance between rocket and pad box is not very big, but it is better than having my hands and face next to the nozzle when I finish the connection.


    Reinhard
    I like that idea, if they use banana plugs for the connection to the box then it's easy. Most of the ones I've seen use terminal lugs though, so disconnecting the box isn't always practical.


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