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  1. #1
    Join Date
    27th December 2010
    Location
    South Berwick, Maine
    Posts
    851

    Question Multi-Pad Launch Controller

    Hi All,

    I have looked high and low for someone producing a Club size Launch Controller

    and have not found one for sale (not that I am surprised that I didn't).

    So where can I find some plans to build a "simple" Multi-Pad Launch Controller

    that can launch LPR/MPR/HPR and not set off the low power igniters.

    Thanks for the help,

    Scott Costigan


  2. #2
    Join Date
    14th January 2010
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    278
    You might want to talk to Bill Spadafora, president for life of CMASS. He just built a 6 or so pad controller that is the little brother of the full up controller that we use at the regular CMASS launches. I am not sure if he has plans or not, but he should know how they are built. He might be hard to get a hold of currently as I think he will be attending NARAM.

    Guy Wadsworth
    NAR # 51249 L1
    Tripoli # 01124 L1
    Member CMASS, MMMSC, KARS and SRC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    19th February 2009
    Location
    Auburn, WA USA
    Posts
    1,964
    How many pads are you wanting to control? The Pratt Hobbies Six-Pack meets your listed requirements.

    One club I fly with has one - very well made and reliable.
    Bernard Cawley
    NAR 89040 L1
    AMA 42160
    KG7AIE

  4. #4
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Saugus, MA
    Posts
    2,634
    Quote Originally Posted by guywad View Post
    You might want to talk to Bill Spadafora, president for life of CMASS.
    The CMASS presidency is an elected position. When you get tired of me being president it will not be necessary to assassinate me.


    He just built a 6 or so pad controller that is the little brother of the full up controller that we use at the regular CMASS launches. I am not sure if he has plans or not, but he should know how they are built. He might be hard to get a hold of currently as I think he will be attending NARAM.
    I'm still here. My flight isn't until Friday and I'm pretty sure the Internet reaches Ohio anyway.

    Plans? It's all in my head but I'd be happy to explain it. It's purposely extremely simple. The only electronics are a couple of diodes. The rest is just switches and wire. I didn't want to build anything I couldn't fix in the field with a screwdriver and some clip leads.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    27th December 2010
    Location
    South Berwick, Maine
    Posts
    851

    Talking Simple is good!

    Well I like the idea of field service simplicity, and I think I even know what a diode is, and what it does. I will have to visit your next launch and walk through it with you.

    I had seen and forgot about Pratt 6 pack. I am not pressed for time we can stumble along with simple for awhile, and build up to something.

    Scott

  6. #6
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
    Posts
    17,900

    Build thread

    I would love to see a good build thread on a system.
    -----------------------
    Chuck Haislip
    NAR/Tripoli Level 3
    Formerly a Prefect of ICBM - TRA #60

    Level 1 - LOC Minie Magg; Level 2 - PR Broken Arrow;
    Level 3 - 10 inch Nike Smoke
    2015 Ns for Year: 1315 Newtons
    My rockets usually fly naked. If they survive, they earn their paint.

    Come fly with ROSCo or ICBM in Camden SC => http://rocketrysouthcarolina.org

  7. #7
    Join Date
    14th January 2010
    Location
    Brookline, NH
    Posts
    278
    Quote Originally Posted by billspad View Post
    The CMASS presidency is an elected position. When you get tired of me being president it will not be necessary to assassinate me.
    Should have put in my smiley face on my original comment in case anyone misunderstands. Bill does an excellent job as president, is well liked and quite frankly, I am not sure how he finds the time to do everything he does.
    Guy Wadsworth
    NAR # 51249 L1
    Tripoli # 01124 L1
    Member CMASS, MMMSC, KARS and SRC

  8. #8
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Saugus, MA
    Posts
    2,634
    Quote Originally Posted by SAC of MMMSClub View Post
    Well I like the idea of field service simplicity, and I think I even know what a diode is, and what it does. I will have to visit your next launch and walk through it with you.

    I had seen and forgot about Pratt 6 pack. I am not pressed for time we can stumble along with simple for awhile, and build up to something.

    Scott
    Remind me a day or so before the launch and I'll bring the smaller controller and open it up and show you what's inside.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    west Ft Worth
    Posts
    7,356

    Now, this sounds GOOD.....

    Quote Originally Posted by billspad View Post
    It's all in my head but I'd be happy to explain it. It's purposely extremely simple. The only electronics are a couple of diodes. The rest is just switches and wire. I didn't want to build anything I couldn't fix in the field with a screwdriver and some clip leads.
    I'm a huge fan of extremely simple. I can almost handle extremely simple. Please fill us in.
    An apple a day will keep almost everyone away....if you throw hard enough.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Saugus, MA
    Posts
    2,634
    Quote Originally Posted by powderburner View Post
    I'm a huge fan of extremely simple. I can almost handle extremely simple. Please fill us in.
    It's really simple so I can probably draw something but right now I'm scrambling to get my paperwork done so I can head for NARAM on Friday and not come back to a pile of unfinished work. Bump this thread a week from today and it will remind me to do that.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    west Ft Worth
    Posts
    7,356

    Thank you!

    Will do just that. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

    A week (or more) will give me some time to rest my gray cells to get ready.

    Enjoy NARAM!
    An apple a day will keep almost everyone away....if you throw hard enough.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    27th December 2010
    Location
    South Berwick, Maine
    Posts
    851

    Lightbulb I would like to see a good build thread too

    I was looking in the TRF archive and have read many posts on Launch controllers and I know a little about electronics (Dam Little). My father is a HAM and At&t retiree and at 80 just shy of EE; it did not rub off on me.

    1. continuity check with out premature launch?
    2. pizzo-buzzer that will not draw to much current(see #1)
    3 LEDs are not light bulbs, they need driver circuits, don't they?
    4. DC does not travel well with long runs the line resistance, I think, then causes a rise in, voltage, or amperage, or wattage? One of them (see #1)
    5. Adding up LED+Pizzo+line resistance without #1.
    6. If you use extension cords are you using all three wires or just two and what gauge?

    Some of the cool looking switches are industrial and are mostly made for AC, but I don't think that is a problem as DC and AC flow through a conductor but would the DC amp. be a problem?

    Thanks to the Navy I can solder pins and connectors in my sleep. So that part does not scare me, and I have a multi meter. What I need is a set of step by step instructions and a parts list.

    When We figure out what We are going to do or have done I will make sure it is a show and tell!

    I look forward to seeing what CMASS has going on, it looked cool and they were able to tell where continuity broke down and it worked for the L/M pads that were short ways away and for the HP pads at some distance.

    Will Bump it after the NAR week and give you a heads up when I head south.

    Scott

  13. #13
    Join Date
    23rd March 2010
    Location
    Coastal Maine
    Posts
    321
    Scott,
    Im putting a simple controller together for this weekend. I dont have enough time to get it the way it should be, but it should work for this weekend. I planned on being able to control six pads but I couldnt get enough parts at my local radioshack to do so. Right now its a 4 pad controller and just for low power. Ill have my mpr/hpr controller set up with me also.
    Darrin Marriner


    TRA #13209 L2
    NAR #90955 L2

  14. #14
    Join Date
    6th March 2010
    Location
    Amesbury, MA
    Posts
    1,997
    Quote Originally Posted by SAC of MMMSClub View Post
    I look forward to seeing what CMASS has going on, it looked cool and they were able to tell where continuity broke down and it worked for the L/M pads that were short ways away and for the HP pads at some distance.

    Will Bump it after the NAR week and give you a heads up when I head south.

    Scott
    Scott,
    There is a CMASS club meeting at Bill's house in Saugus, MA, on 02 August and another one on 16 August. A bit of a haul but a good chance to see the launch controlers "live".
    Kenn

  15. #15
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Saugus, MA
    Posts
    2,634
    Quote Originally Posted by SAC of MMMSClub View Post
    I was looking in the TRF archive and have read many posts on Launch controllers and I know a little about electronics (Dam Little). My father is a HAM and At&t retiree and at 80 just shy of EE; it did not rub off on me.

    1. continuity check with out premature launch?
    2. pizzo-buzzer that will not draw to much current(see #1)
    3 LEDs are not light bulbs, they need driver circuits, don't they?
    We use a bright LED because buzzers annoy me. All an LED needs is a resistor to limit the current in the circuit.


    4. DC does not travel well with long runs the line resistance, I think, then causes a rise in, voltage, or amperage, or wattage? One of them (see #1)
    5. Adding up LED+Pizzo+line resistance without #1.
    Not an issue.

    6. If you use extension cords are you using all three wires or just two and what gauge?
    We use ground and neutral. It's a safety thing in case someone finds a 115V outlet in the middle of the field.

    The extension cords are only for the high power pads and the only carry the voltage to pull in the relay. There's a relay and battery at each of the high power pads.

    The low power pads use lamp cord with 1/4" phone plugs. Everyone will tell you that phone plugs were only meant for low voltage and current and that's true but it's what we had when I joined the club 20 years ago and they work.


    Some of the cool looking switches are industrial and are mostly made for AC, but I don't think that is a problem as DC and AC flow through a conductor but would the DC amp. be a problem?
    The hardest part of this whole project is finding single pole momentary contact toggle switches that can handle a fair amount of current.


    I look forward to seeing what CMASS has going on, it looked cool and they were able to tell where continuity broke down and it worked for the L/M pads that were short ways away and for the HP pads at some distance.
    We can't check the continuity at the high power pads, only that there's a relay connected. We do have the capability but it means rewiring the relays and it's not a top priority.

    Another useful addition to the controller would be a volt meter. The continuity LED will tell you if there's continuity but it won't tell you if the igniter is shorted. However, if you watch the meter it's easy to see the big voltage drop if the igniter is shorted.


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