11th January 2017, 07:12 AM
Hello again Ken,
Thanks for your patience, I've been gone for three days of church meetings, but now I'm back.
You are welcome. Kevin Westfall, 5th individual to purchase a single-pad Wilson F/X launch system.
now for your next questions.
1) Why do some clubs only have one wireless bank of pads?
Oddly enough this is an easy one to answer. Many clubs only need one bank of pads far away from their WFX LCU-64 controller on the LCO table. It is often a matter of economics. Adding the first wireless bank of pads costs $320 just for the two wireless units (one at the controller and one at the away cell). It costs an additional $160 for each additional separate bank of wireless pads. For some clubs even $160 is a lot of money.
The second reason is related to the first reason: At less than $20 for a 100' 16/3 outdoor extension cord, one can place a Wilson F/X bank of pads 100' further from the controller. So even a 500 foot distant pad only costs $100 in hardwired communications. For some clubs, it is simply a matter of economics. $100 in extension cords for that 500' set of pads or $320 for a pair of wireless units. No if you already have one pair of wireless units, then it is only an additional $160 for that next bank of away cells, but each club has to decide how far is far enough to need wireless? Clearly at 1000' feet away from the controller even a pair of wireless units is starting to become a better option. Going wireless at 1000' could save the time and storage space for laying out 10x 100' extension cords. Its all a trade off between expense, volunteer time, and storage space which are oddly enough the exact reasons why Wilson F/X launch systems are becoming the go-to launch system for established clubs who are tired of wasting funds, time, and extra storage space to use antiquated launch systems that are costly to repair in funds and volunteer hours, take way too many hours to set-up, test, and then take down, and because they are old fashioned analogue systems have way too much communications wire on the ground.
2) Communications wire: how far away can a pad-box be hardwired from the controller?
As I said last time, the industry standard for hardwired digital signaling in a 12V system is 3000 feet. But I've only ever tested to 2000' because 20X was the maximum number of 100' 16/3 extension cords that I've ever had at my disposal.
3) Now the biggie! - SARA community outreach/attracting new members......
a yearly event called Desert Heat for several years and has had anywhere from 500 to 1500+ attendees-flyers and spectators.
I will walk the crowd and ask what brought them, and what they liked the most and least: A common response is: "The Show!" ,
In that light and to also get the attention of the younger generations, and to enhance safety.
I am looking on how to incorporate audio-visual in to our launch system.
To that end, I am looking at controlling "Walk, Do Not Walk" led lights and also a countdown announcement.
I do like the idea of the "traffic signal" "Walk/do-not-walk" lighted sign. Pretty cool, but I would suggest just using a separate control system for that which is not directly connected to Wilson F/X.
You didn't actually number your last question, but here's my answer anyway.
4) I have to present a request for this system, to the board, so prices would be necessary.
Current Price list for Wilson F/X components 01-2017
LCU-64 64-pad digital launch controller -------------------------------- $250
The brains of the WFX system, for up to 8 banks of 8 pads each
reads good/bad continuity of each pad, reads voltage
from the battery at the pad as well as the controller’s
battery’s voltage. May only select one bank of pads
at a time. All features work hard-wired or wireless.
LCU-128 Launch controller for up to 16 banks of up to 8 pads each ------ $300
Same as the LCU-64 except controls 16 banks of
8 pads each for a total of 128 pads.
LCU-64X Custom 64 pad controller ------------------------------------------- $1200
with RGB LED status lights
on all pads and banks, on Key switch, built in wireless
unit, LCD screen with remote voltage readings from
banks of pads, volume control on the buzzer, all in a
custom Pelican Case with aluminum anodized insert
LCU-128X Same as the LCU-64X except with 16 banks of 8 pads ---------- $1400
pads rather than just 8 banks of pads.
PBU-8 an 8-pad pad-box - ----- called a banks of pads -------------- $500
with 8x, 30’ igniter leads. This is the large muscle of the
WFX system. Reads good/bad
continuity at the pad, as well as voltage of battery
at the pads. Continuity check is safe for ALL
known commercial igniters including flashbulbs.
PBU-8w Exactly the same as the PBU-8 with one exception,
there is a built in Wilson F/X wireless unit ------------------- $650
PBU-4 a 4-pad pad-box with 4 igniter leads with all the
same features of the PBU-8 in a smaller size and
for a smaller price. ----------------------------------------------$275
PBU-4w Exactly the same as the PBU-4 with one exception,
there is a built in Wilson F/X wireless unit ---------------------$425
WRU-c a digital wireless unit with WFX programming ---------------- $320 for a pair
need at least one pair to start (tx & rx) -------------------- $160 each additional unit
WRU-Adpt The special power adapter for a WFX controller
and its WRU-c transmitter for those who want an
all-wireless Wilson F/X launch system. -----------------------$25
Well there you have it. I hope that come thru clearly enough. If not then I can try to email you directly. I can be reached at email@example.com if you are so inclined.
Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson
Last edited by RocketRev; 11th January 2017 at 07:25 AM.
Reason: spacing still not correct
11th January 2017, 07:28 AM
I did forget two important things.
a) If a club purchases a 32-pad system in any configuration, I toss in the standard LCU-64 ($250 value) for FREE.
b) The prices I gave you do not included shipping.
That's it for now.
11th January 2017, 08:10 PM
Thanks! This info is it is great!
I personally like your LCU-64x any pictures.
Again thank you and I will be presenting this to the board!
14th January 2017, 12:21 AM
Wilson F/X LCU-64-Xw Custom/Wireless contoller
I'm attaching four photos of the LCU-64-Xw which is the Custom LCU-64 controller with built in wireless.
The first picture shows the controller receiving a wireless report of voltage from Bank-H. The controller is also automatically reporting its own battery's voltage at the same time.
The second pic shows a close up of the faceplate.
The third pic shows the unit turned ON with bank H and pad 4 selected. The red light on the KEY switch shows the controller is on. The green light on Bank H shows it selected and reporting. The green light on pad-4 shows it selected and showing continuity. All four wireless lights, one red showing power is on and three greens indicating max-signal strength.
The last one shows the controller in its Pelican 1440 case sitting on my test-bench.
Hope those help.
14th January 2017, 08:51 PM
Hi Brad ,
Thanks for the pictures.
They will definitely help.
Great Looking system!
One more question, I have been asked.
Are the pad switches momentary or could they be?
15th January 2017, 01:45 AM
You are welcome. I only wish I had a better digital camera other than my phone. The LED's are so bright they almost wash out the rest of the photo. I tried selecting multiple pads, but it was just too much light.
Your latest question is: Are the pad-select switches on the controller momentary-on or could they be changed to be so? (If that's not what you are asking then I'm confused).
No, the standard pad-select switch(es) on a Wilson F/X controller are not momentary-on switches. There are a several reasons for this.
a) When you need to re-teach a pad who it is, having to hold the pad-select switch in the on position would make it difficult to manage the teaching without a couple of extra hands.
b) The "ARMED" warning signal at the pads is only activated when one bank is selected and one or more pads are selected. This warning needs to be sent out to the bank of pads with PLENTY of time for warning folks to clear the area. Having to hold the pad select button down would make this much harder to do.
c) Having to have a second hand holding down pad-select switches would require a hand that would be in the way of visually determining if you have the correct pad(s) selected. Anything that keeps the LCO from being able to visually determine which pad(s) is or are selected should be avoided.
d) Having to hold a momentary-on pad-select switch would be a real pain for anything other than very short countdowns. In my opinion it would make using the controller less user friendly.
e) Having to hold pad-select switches on the controller in the "on" position would make drag racing far more difficult.
I'm sure that somebody has some legitimate reasons for thinking that momentary-on pad-select switches are a good idea. But the only reasons that I've heard so far are reasons that are only valid for analogue systems. All sorts of difficulties that are found with old fashioned analogue signaling systems are non-existent with WFX digital systems. Our digital communications protocols are incredibly safe. I have not heard of a reason in 20 years of building Wilson F/X launch control systems for clubs, that would make me think that this would be a good idea. It might even diminish safety because of the need for more hands in the operating field.
If a club wants an added safety factor, WFX has an auxiliary switch that works as a secondary ignition authorization switch. A second person must press his or her separate controller's "FIRE" button while the LCO is pressing his or her fire button, in order to launch any rocket. The WFX LCU-64 controller has to be put into "auxiliary controller mode" but that's easy.
Let me know if there are specific questions that anybody has about the safety of a Wilson F/X system. The more detailed the question, the more detailed the answer. I will of course, NOT be handing out proprietary information. We've got a lot invested in this company and we can't afford to give it away. But I will try to answer as many questions as I can.
Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson
15th January 2017, 02:19 AM
Hello rocket rev I just saw you on the Discovery Channel and everybody was launching Rockets to see how high they could get one with a bowling ball attached. Not sure how old the video was but I saw you on there and you have your own personalized license plate also. Cool to see you on TV
15th January 2017, 05:45 AM
Whoa, that takes me back. Uh... which bowling ball rocket was it? I built and flew two of them over the years. The first used a silvery colored bowling ball where the BB itself was the nose cone of the rocket. The rocket itself was painted white and was very in-aerodynamic with an 8 inch tube base which was squared off to a 54mm fiberglass tube to which I attached the fin can. But it did fly straight and true.
My second bowling ball rocket used a black bowling ball that I drilled all the way thru the center in order to mount a better electronics package a couple of feet ahead of the bowling ball in a fiberglass tube that also held the nose cone. The rocket was painted red, white, and blue, and used a 7.5 nose cone which was cut off and turned around as a transition for a more aerodynamic shape after the bowling ball. Lots more altitude!
I never came in first place in either contest. The winners were always guys with carbon fiber rockets that added almost no weight to their bowling balls. I couldn't afford CF in those days. Aarrgghh... still can't. But somewhere in storage, I think I still have both of those bowling ball rockets. Hhhhhmmmmmmmmmm..... I wonder if its time to bring them out of retirement? Yes, it was quite a challenge. Many of the bowling ball rockets that I've seen fly did not survive their first flight. But it was a lot of fun.
RKT REV 1 - Illinois license plate on my car.
RKT REV 2 - Illinois license plate on my van.
Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson
28th February 2017, 12:15 AM
Hello Everybody on the WFX thread,
I've got some good news. I just sold club launch system #29 to the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association and will be shipping it to Spaceport America in Truth or Consequences, NM.
I know that I earlier announced that I'd sold a slightly higher number of systems and actually, I have. But I am counting systems differently than I was earlier.
In the past I counted individual system sales as individual systems only when they were to an actual individual. I was counting ALL systems sold to organizations as "club systems" even if it was only a single pad system.
Since then I've changed my mind. So now if a university only wants a single pad launch system, then they get counted as an individual sale as opposed to being a club which they clearly are not.
So currently I have 10 individuals/universities that have purchased single pad launch systems and 29 clubs who have purchased club launch systems.
One of those individual launch systems which was also wireless, was sold to a guy in the Netherlands. Wilson F/X wireless is now EU certified. Well, OK, WFX is not itself, but the part that has to be, our Xbee transmitter/receivers, are EU certified. It is limited to EU frequencies and EU power limitations, but it still works!
So the only question that I have is who will be club #30?