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Thread: Wilson FX

  1. #31
    Join Date
    25th July 2012
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    Sterling, Illinois
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    80

    How'd the Wilson F/X mostly Wireless Test Go?

    [QUOTE=cwbullet;663406] "That is awesome. We have on last text weekend next weekend. It will be mostly wireless."

    Hello Chuck,

    I'm guessing that your automatic speller was giving you the usual trouble and you meant "one last test" or "our last test." If not then I'm really confused and the following question will make no sense at all.

    How did the "one last test" or the "out last test" Go?

    I must admit to some understandable curiosity.

    Your group is the first to really put the whole Wilson F/X system to the test without my being there with it! So I'd really like a thorough review.

    Brad, the "more than just a little curious" "Rocket Rev.," Wilson

    CCBW of Wilson F/X Digital Launch Control Systems
    (for the uninitiated that's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer)


  2. #32
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
    Posts
    17,832

    Wilson FX

    I will give it a thorough review. Give me till Thursday.

    Probably typed on my phone.

    Sent from my iPad using Rocketry Forum

    Last edited by cwbullet; 10th February 2014 at 06:18 PM.
    -----------------------
    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

  3. #33
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
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    Glennville, GA
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    17,832
    Ok, slight delay.

    My club is purchasing the WilsonFX system. We demoed it with and without the wireless system. It is digital. Any of the boxes can be reprogrammed and swapped out on the field. This allows for an extremely flexible system. It is remarkable how easy it is to program.

    1. The Parts:

    a. The LCU-64, which is short for “Launch Control Unit – 64 Pads”, is the digital control and programming station for the syetem. It is a launch controller capable of individually controlling up to 64 separate pads hence the "64". The controls for the pad banks are subdivided into 8 banks of 8 pads each which are lettered A to H. The communications from the LCU-64 to all the pad boxes run thru a single 16/3 extension cord. The control are single: You turn on the arming key switch, you select which bank you want to fire A thru H, you select from between one to eight of the pads on that bank to fire and lastly, you push the FIRE button. The system even tells the LCO if an igniter has continuity. For safety sake, the LCU-64 will only operate one bank at a time, but it will fire all 8 pads in the same bank at the same time if selected. It is so easy and straight forward, anyone can use it. The first time I pick it up, I was amazed at how light it was.
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    b. The PB-8 is the pad box and it controls up to 8 pads. The PB-8 can also be used as a cluster box. Each PB-8 is also programmed to remember its bank designation as well as each pads own designation until someone reprograms them to a different designation. Re-designating a bank or the individual pads on a bank is very simple and can be done on the field with LCU-64. Each pad has its own separate 30 amp automobile relay built into the system, so that each pad has more than enough power to fire about any igniter you throw at it. Each pad also has its own separate at the pad continuity check to test the igniter when you hook it up to the system so that you know if you have a good igniter before you head back to the flight line. You can fire a single pad or all 8 at once.
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    c. The LCU-1/ARM is a multi-function single pad controller. It can be used to fire a single pad or reprogrammed to fire all 64 pads at one.
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    d. The PB-1 is a single pad pad-box. It can work with the LCU-1 or LCU-64 to control a single pad. I have not test one of these, but it sound like a good idea for an away cell.
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    e. The WR-1, is the wireless component of the Wilson F/X line of launch control products. It connects to the 16/3 and acts as a transmitter to your far pads. You need more than one to work. For example, if you want 1 pad bank or PB-8 wireless, you will need 2 WR-1s - one as a transmitter and one as a receiver. We chose to buy 3 and have 2 wireless banks. It worked flawlessly and it auto configured to the pads.
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    2. Observations:

    a. Less cable. The connecting cables are standard 16/3 extension cords. They are easily replaceable at Lowes or Home Depot. It amazes me how easy they are to run. it may take 10x 100 foot cords to go 1000 feet, but compared to cat5 cable, it is much easy to lay and pull up after the launch. Our old system would require a cable to each pan bank from the control box. This system requires less cable because it is daisy chains with a continuous chain of cable connecting the pads linearly.

    b. Wireless: It auto configures the wireless. We currently use 16 pads wireless. Very slick and easy to set up.

    c. Professional slick design in very durable cases.

    d. Ease of use: Even my 15 year old son could figure out how to use it in minutes.

    e. Safety: Key based safety. It will let you know if more than one pad bank is selected and if it is armed, an audio signal is sent out by the pad banks to warn anyone at the pads.

    3. Rating:

    a. Overall: 4.75 Stars
    b. Durability: 4.5 Stars
    c. Ease of Use: 5 Stars
    d. Flexibility: 5 Stars
    e. Quality: 5 Stars
    f. Cost: 4.5 Stars

    This is about as perfect of a system as you can get. It is a premium system at a premium cost but with a niche market, that is expected. It works as advertised. It has met every expectation.
    -----------------------
    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

  4. #34
    Join Date
    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
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    80
    Greetings anybody who is keeping up with Wilson F/X.

    It's been a while since I've posted anything, mostly because I've been so busy. I do have some news to share. There are now 15 rocketry clubs across these United States and one group oversees that are using Wilson F/X digital launch control systems. By states they are: Illinois-2x, Wisconsin-3x, Indiana-2x, Utah-2x, and one club each from Idaho, Texas-(CANSAT program), Ohio, Connecticut, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Australian Rocketry - the team putting on "Thunda-Down Under-2015". The most typical system is a 32-pad launch system with a 64 pad controller for future growth.

    There are two new components that I've added to the WFX line of goodies: the New WRU-c, commercial grade wireless units at only $300 for your first pair; and the new PBU-4 which is a four-pad pad-box which allows clubs a new level of flexibility at just $275 each. With the new PBU-4, smaller clubs can now better afford to get into the Wilson F/X family at a lower cost, but still enjoy all the same benefits of the Wilson F/X technology.

    Sad to say my website is not as advanced as the rest, but my webmaster fell and really tore up his knee and I'm waiting till he gets back on his feet to push thru the changes.

    Well, that's enough news for now.

    Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson

  5. #35
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    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
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    Hello Chuck Haislip and everybody else too,

    I just read thru Chuck's review of the Orangeburg's Wilson F/X Digital Launch Control System! When I get my website updated, I'm going to see if I can put a link to his review up for everybody to read.

    Thanks for the great endorsement Chuck. BTW - did you all realize that Chuck's group is putting on the NAR's National Sport Launch-2015 in Orangeburg SC? If you go you will get to use Wilson F/X! I'm hoping to go myself!

    Anybody have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    You will not find a better club sized high power launch system anywhere else for any price!

    Of course, I'm going to say that, but I actually believe it not because I own the company, but because I stay ahead of all the competition. I will put my club sized high power and low power rocketry launch system up to a head to head comparison/competition with ANYBODY. Now I'm not talking about a 12 pad launch controller built out of a tackle-box for flying Estes motors. Anybody can build one of those. I built one of those when I was 14 years old. I'm talking about a launch system for low and high power rockets in at least four separate banks of pads controlling any where from 16 to 128 separate pads.

    Yes you heard me right. Wilson F/X can now control up to 128 separate pads in up to 16 banks of pads with the new LCU-128.

    Nobody else has anything to match a Wilson F/X system. And it comes with the best guarantee in the hobby! No I don't guarantee igniter leads or switches on top of the boxes which can be broken and or burned up. But barring fire, lightning, and floods I guarantee my components to work for 10 years. Any body want to try and match that? And the W-F/X system we've been using from the beginning of the Mid-West-Power launches is in year 12 of continuous use without a single internal component failure.

    If your club is tired of "rebuilding" your old launch system.... again.... Or if your club is relatively new and you have grown to the point where you need to control more than a dozen pads.... Check out Wilson F/X. The system comes as close to selling itself as it is possible.

    Enough for now.

    Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson

  6. #36
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
    Posts
    4,084
    I don't think a club could go wrong with this system. As far as wireless goes, I believe it gets complicated in order to make absolutely sure there is as little risk as possible as far as an activation by anything other than the command given to the device itself to launch. That's likely the reason for the expense for the wireless side. Kurt

  7. #37
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
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    17,832
    It is absolutely the best system I have ever seen. You can not go wrong with this 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

  8. #38
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    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
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    Hello Bill,

    Thanks for the endorsement.

    There is a reason that I use 8 gauge wire, 400 amp clamp, and car jumping battery cables in my PBU-8 eight-pad pad-boxes. It's massive available amperage for drag races (and clusters too!).

    The club I've been a part of since I was the founding Prefect, Quad City Rocket Society (back then in 1994 or 1995 - Tripoli Quad Cities) does lots of drag races. Tim Lehr the Wildman loves drag races. So we use CAR batteries or at least 400 amp jumper packs. When I build the WFX pad boxes, I always use large enough clamps and wires to connect to car batteries so that there's nobody who can claim that they lost a drag race because there wasn't enough amperage available for their igniter. Yes, there have been batteries that weren't up to the task. But my launch system always delivers.

    Hope that explains my reasoning!

    If not, let me know.

    Brad, the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson

  9. #39
    Join Date
    27th October 2009
    Location
    Brigham City, UT
    Posts
    2,013
    UROC bought one almost 2 years ago, but I believe it is the one with wires. It has worked well.

  10. #40
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
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    We have it and plan to expand it.
    -----------------------
    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

  11. #41
    Join Date
    23rd March 2011
    Location
    Germantown, Ohio
    Posts
    307
    We have one too and love it. Made the mistake of not storing it properly (as in a leaky trailer) and had to replace a couple of components. Other than that it performs like a champ at every launch. Looking at the wireless system for our away cell. Not having to string wires would be a HUGE benefit.
    Gary Dickinson - Prefect
    Tripoli Mid Ohio #31
    TRA #5520 - L3 - TAP

  12. #42
    Join Date
    28th December 2011
    Posts
    572
    Just don't buy one if you are prone to "Stupidity."
    -Chr$
    NAR 79536 L1
    Vice President - Superstition Spacemodeling Society Section 506 www.sssrocketry.com
    SAM 0488
    "Prefers Plastic Nose Cones"

  13. #43
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    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
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    17,832
    We wire our low power pad bank. The other 3 banks are wireless. We are upgrading to 8 banks and 7 of 8 will be wireless. I can set up the pads in no time thanks to this system. It cuts the set up in half.
    -----------------------
    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

  14. #44
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
    Posts
    4,084
    Quote Originally Posted by Zonie View Post
    Just don't buy one if you are prone to "Stupidity."
    Ahhhhhh, I think it's just like everything else that's customizeable. There's a learning curve. Practice with it and the tangible rewards are there.
    Kurt

  15. #45
    Join Date
    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
    Posts
    80
    Hello "aerostadt,"

    I don't think we've met, but you are right that UROC bought a Wilson F/X system a while back. They own a 36 pad WFX system: one LCU-64 sixty-four pad launch controller, four PBU-8 eight-pad pad-boxes, and one PBU-4 four-pad pad-box.

    You noted that they have "the one with wires." Actually, ALL Wilson F/X systems have wires, even the wireless ones. The wireless units which are used at the pads (sometimes referred to as a "receiver") plugs into a pad-box in the exact same way and place that a hardwired system plugs into a WFX pad-box. The "receiver" plugs in with a 16/3 outdoor extension cord plug. The Wireless unit at the LCO table (sometimes referred to as the "transmitter") plugs into the LCU-64 in the same way that a hard wired WFX system plugs in to your WFX controller.

    I refer to the Wireless unit at the pads as a "receiver" and the wireless unit at the Launch control unit as a "transmitter" for ease of understanding. But the reality is that all of the WFX WRU-c units are identical except for the "gender" of their plug. Each wireless unit is powered by the WFX component into which it is plugged. And each WFX wireless unit both transmits and receives information. When a WFX controller is powered up while connected to a WFX wireless unit, it sends out the exact same commands via the wireless unit as it sends thru the hardwire connection. And each WFX pad-box receives the exact same commands that the WFX controller sent out and replies if it is the pad box who has been commanded to operate some function by the controller.

    All that Wilson F/X wireless units do is replace the hardwiring between the controller and a pad box. So UROC could put in an order for their first pair of WFX wireless units ($300 plus shipping) and they could put an away cell out as far as a mile away and operate in the exact same manner as any WFX hardwired bank of pads. All they would have to do is plug any of their existing five WFX pad-boxes into the "receiver" WRU-c unit and their "transmitter" WRU-c into their LCU-64 controller and they would be good to go! It really is that easy.

    Let me know how the UROC system is working. I rarely ever hear from a club that owns my system till they are ready to add another bank of pads or add wireless capability to their system. But that's a good thing in one sense, because that means their Wilson F/X digital launch control system is operating as it is supposed to which is the way I like it. (sort of like the old song.... "That's the way, Uh Huh Uh Huh, I like it! Uh Huh Uh Huh." Yeah, I know I'm giving away my age, but that's ok to. I've earned every one of my grey hairs!

    Brad the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson

  16. #46
    Join Date
    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
    Posts
    80
    Greetings Fellow Earthlings (and anybody else who's listening,

    Just thought I'd let you all know that club #20 just decided to buy a Wilson F/X launch control system.

    They are also the first club to do four things:
    1) to purchase one of our new LCU-128 controllers
    2) to purchase a custom controller with LED indicator lights in a 1550 Pelican case
    3) to purchase custom PBU-8's with extra loud buzzer alarms for a "THIS BANK IS ARMED" warning.
    4) to start out by buying a 64+ pad system to start with. There are two other clubs with 64+ pad systems but they both started out with 32 pad systems and added more pad boxes later.

    These people are seriously into putting on a big show with style! I can't tell you more than that but you will hear more in the near future!

    Don't worry, the regular buzzers will still in place so that you can test continuity at the pad without making your ears bleed. But the "bank is armed" auxiliary buzzers put out double the decibles as the club requested.

    Can't wait to fly with them myself!

    Brad the "Rocket Rev.," Wilson

  17. #47
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
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    Awesome start. That is one heck of a new 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

  18. #48
    Join Date
    7th October 2013
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    1,200
    I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger on one of Brad's single-pad wireless systems, just for my own personal use. It came in the mail today - VERY nice!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Back row - single pad box (PBU-1), pad controller/Armageddon switch (LCU-1/ARM), and wireless units (WRU-c x 2).
    Front row - clip leads, and power adapter for use with the controller and wireless transmitter when in wireless mode.

    Very easy to hook up and use - just match the color-coded connectors and male/female plugs. One can use it in both hardwired or wireless mode. I tested everything out with just an igniter (no real rockets yet) and it worked perfectly.

    Can't wait to give this thing a workout at BALLS in a few weeks! Should be a huge improvement over using my own wired units these past few years.
    Wilson Alness
    www.wilsonalness.com
    TRA #13848, L3
    NAR #83247, L3
    L1 - PML Small Endeavour, H128W
    L2 - Binder Excel Plus, J350W
    L3 - Performance Rocketry/Wildman Competitor 4, M1297W

    "Never flying a commercial motor again..."

  19. #49
    Join Date
    20th February 2009
    Location
    Cayuga, Indiana
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    12,484
    Quote Originally Posted by AlnessW View Post
    I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger on one of Brad's single-pad wireless systems, just for my own personal use. It came in the mail today - VERY nice!

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	271690
    Back row - single pad box (PBU-1), pad controller/Armageddon switch (LCU-1/ARM), and wireless units (WRU-c x 2).
    Front row - clip leads, and power adapter for use with the controller and wireless transmitter when in wireless mode.

    Very easy to hook up and use - just match the color-coded connectors and male/female plugs. One can use it in both hardwired or wireless mode. I tested everything out with just an igniter (no real rockets yet) and it worked perfectly.

    Can't wait to give this thing a workout at BALLS in a few weeks! Should be a huge improvement over using my own wired units these past few years.
    Wow, going First Class!!!
    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

  20. #50
    Join Date
    1st October 2014
    Location
    Boise Idaho
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    61
    Quote Originally Posted by AlnessW View Post
    I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger on one of Brad's single-pad wireless systems, just for my own personal use.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Back row - single pad box (PBU-1), pad controller/Armageddon switch (LCU-1/ARM), and wireless units (WRU-c x 2).
    <---snip--->
    Can't wait to give this thing a workout at BALLS in a few weeks!
    Looks like you ordered the wireless Armageddon switch. I suggest you be very VERY careful with that!! You now have the ability to accidently launch someone else's rocket if they happen to be using a Wilson FX system. This could easily happen at a large launch like BALLS, XPRS, NXRS, etc. At a large launch, you may not be aware that another person is using a Wilson FX system at their own away cell.

    Don't get me wrong, the Wilson FX system itself is really nice and we use it for our launches at Tripoli Idaho. However, one member here has an Armageddon switch for his personal system that he was using at an away cell. One day it accidently simultaneously launched several other rockets on multiple different banks. We quarantined the Armageddon switch. It is way too easy to screw-up and create a safety hazard with it. I like the system itself but I do not like the Armageddon switch because these systems are starting to proliferate.

    Vern Knowles
    www.multitronix.com
    www.vernk.com
    TRA 4061 L3
    NAR 45236 L3

  21. #51
    Join Date
    25th January 2009
    Location
    Glennville, GA
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    17,832
    Awesome 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

  22. #52
    Join Date
    7th October 2013
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    1,200
    Quote Originally Posted by dixontj93060 View Post
    Wow, going First Class!!!
    Yes indeed!

    Quote Originally Posted by VernK View Post
    Looks like you ordered the wireless Armageddon switch. I suggest you be very VERY careful with that!! You now have the ability to accidently launch someone else's rocket if they happen to be using a Wilson FX system. This could easily happen at a large launch like BALLS, XPRS, NXRS, etc. At a large launch, you may not be aware that another person is using a Wilson FX system at their own away cell.

    Don't get me wrong, the Wilson FX system itself is really nice and we use it for our launches at Tripoli Idaho. However, one member here has an Armageddon switch for his personal system that he was using at an away cell. One day it accidently simultaneously launched several other rockets on multiple different banks. We quarantined the Armageddon switch. It is way too easy to screw-up and create a safety hazard with it. I like the system itself but I do not like the Armageddon switch because these systems are starting to proliferate.
    Correct, that is an Armageddon switch. I can definitely see how it could be problematic at larger launches resulting in the scenario TIR experienced. According to Brad, the solution to that is to use the Armageddon switch in single-pad mode. That way, it communicates only with the pad box it is "taught" to fire.
    Wilson Alness
    www.wilsonalness.com
    TRA #13848, L3
    NAR #83247, L3
    L1 - PML Small Endeavour, H128W
    L2 - Binder Excel Plus, J350W
    L3 - Performance Rocketry/Wildman Competitor 4, M1297W

    "Never flying a commercial motor again..."

  23. #53
    Join Date
    1st October 2014
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    61
    Quote Originally Posted by AlnessW View Post
    Correct, that is an Armageddon switch. I can definitely see how it could be problematic at larger launches resulting in the scenario TIR experienced. According to Brad, the solution to that is to use the Armageddon switch in single-pad mode. That way, it communicates only with the pad box it is "taught" to fire.
    Maybe Brad has changed something. What do you have to do to use it in "single-pad mode"? When it caused a problem for us the Armageddon switch was being used to control a single pad at an away cell. It was never "taught" the rest of the launch system. Yet it launched everything simultaneously on both systems.

    Vern Knowles
    www.multitronix.com
    www.vernk.com
    TRA 4061 L3
    NAR 45236 L3

  24. #54
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
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    1,397
    Quote Originally Posted by AlnessW View Post
    I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger on one of Brad's single-pad wireless systems, just for my own personal use. It came in the mail today - VERY nice!
    I've been eyeing these systems for years. If I ever make it to a launch again I might spring for one. Or just use yours, LOL.

  25. #55
    Join Date
    7th October 2013
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    1,200
    Quote Originally Posted by VernK View Post
    Maybe Brad has changed something. What do you have to do to use it in "single-pad mode"? When it caused a problem for us the Armageddon switch was being used to control a single pad at an away cell. It was never "taught" the rest of the launch system. Yet it launched everything simultaneously on both systems.
    Judging off your report, that single-pad controller was used in Armageddon mode and hence will fire ANY Wilson F/X pad that is within range of it, whether they are linked or not. One can program the single-pad controller to work in Armageddon Mode using the key switch and launch button, however I am currently waiting on a response from Brad to clarify this before use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Binder Design View Post
    I've been eyeing these systems for years. If I ever make it to a launch again I might spring for one. Or just use yours, LOL.
    Sweet! Yes, happy to loan you mine for a "demo."
    Wilson Alness
    www.wilsonalness.com
    TRA #13848, L3
    NAR #83247, L3
    L1 - PML Small Endeavour, H128W
    L2 - Binder Excel Plus, J350W
    L3 - Performance Rocketry/Wildman Competitor 4, M1297W

    "Never flying a commercial motor again..."

  26. #56
    Join Date
    1st October 2014
    Location
    Boise Idaho
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    61
    Quote Originally Posted by AlnessW View Post
    Judging off your report, that single-pad controller was used in Armageddon mode and hence will fire ANY Wilson F/X pad that is within range of it, whether they are linked or not. One can program the single-pad controller to work in Armageddon Mode using the key switch and launch button, however I am currently waiting on a response from Brad to clarify this before use.
    Please let me know what you find out. I was under the impression there was no way to make an Armageddon switch work with only one pad. Hence the name.

    Vern Knowles
    www.multitronix.com
    www.vernk.com
    TRA 4061 L3
    NAR 45236 L3

  27. #57
    Join Date
    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
    Posts
    80
    Hello Wilson, Vern, and everybody else on this thread,

    I’m here to make an announcement as well as to answer the questions that have been raised about the Wilson F/X launch control system wireless and hardwired.

    Yesterday morning, the 10th of September, I popped onto this forum to see if there were any new posts on the Wilson F/X thread started by Chuck Haislip back in January of 2009. I was reading thru the posts and responses by and to Wilson Alness after he received his WFX single-pad wireless system.

    To my utter surprise, I read Vern Knowles post concerning the individual member’s use of his W-F/X single-pad wireless that unintentionally fired off several other rockets on multiple banks. I will admit that I’d like to have heard about this sooner and more directly than in this or any forum. I don’t know when it took place or the individuals involved. I am VERY glad that nobody was hurt.

    I had previously let the current owners know the dangers of using their single-pad wireless W-F/X controllers in Armageddon Mode at large launches like BALLS as this would trigger every wireless W-F/X pad-box that was on the field and powered up. My suggestion was that one of the clubs, like Tripoli Idaho, bring their LCU-64 and that each of the single-pad pad-boxes should be “taught” a bank and pad designation. The use of the LCU-64 controller would then eliminate any inadvertent ignitions of other W-F/X pads.

    But then the unthinkable happened. Vern Knowles reported the inadvertent incident at a Tripoli Idaho launch with an individual’s single-pad wireless WFX system triggering all the other wireless banks and pads when the individual used his single-pad controller in Armageddon Mode.

    There is no doubt that the individual’s LCU-1 single-pad controller was operating in Armageddon mode. The Wilson F/X controllers, 64-pad, 128-pad, and single-pad each have several different modes in which they are able to operate. Each mode has its own purpose, but Armageddon Mode is only one of the modes that are available for use.

    As Vern said, “these systems are starting to proliferate.” He's right. Our success has created this problem and it is a problem that must not happen again. When we built this system we did not intend for it to be anything other than a club system. Its only recently that we've been getting questions about buying a single pad system for an individual. This "new situation" has created this new problem. And the Wilson F/X team responds when there are problems.

    By yesterday afternoon, Dan and I were in conversation about what to do. We certainly have no desire to have any bad publicity out there about the Wilson F/X systems. And even more so, we desire that there be no repeat of the scenario that Vern reported. So by late last night, Dan and I got in the same room to ponder what we ought to do to fix the situation. We decided that the only safe solution is to separate the two major functions (single-pad and Armageddon) of the Single-pad controller into two separate controllers.
    The first controller will remain as the “Armageddon Switch” which will from now on only be available for purchase by clubs with Wilson F/X systems. For club’s that already own an Armageddon Switch, I will be sending them some new labeling in order to make it very obvious that what they have is an Armageddon Switch.

    The second controller will be the LCU-1 single-pad controller which will no longer have Armageddon Mode available. We made the changes in the software, got all of our current “stock” reprogrammed and tested to insure that it works like we want it to, and this afternoon I shipped “new” LCU-1 single-pad controllers to those individuals who already own W-F/X single-pad systems free of charge. And I will be sending return postage to each of these people so that they can return their original single-pad controllers in the same boxes and wrappings that they will be receiving their new and actually improved either on Monday or Tuesday of this next week.

    I know that some folks will be disappointed that their individual single-pad controller will no longer have an Armageddon Mode, but that is the price that must be paid to keep the “incident” from ever happening again. Wilson F/X is just growing too big to allow for the possibility to remain.

    Each LCU-1 single-pad controller will have its own unique designation so that when the owners teach their current single-pad pad-box who it is with their new LCU-1 controller that when they go into hardwired or wireless, no other pad-box will be able to respond to their controller. Certainly, every pad-box that you teach to respond to your controller will respond, but that should not be a problem.

    The PBU-1 single-pad pad-boxes can also be taught a bank and pad designation with any WFX 64 or 128 pad controller so that it can be used to augment a club’s Wilson F/X launch system. But we’ve also added a new feature that allows the user to “un-teach” his or her pad-box’s club system designation. It is mode three if you were wondering.

    Vern doesn’t seem to like the Armageddon Switch. And with what his club experienced, I don’t blame him. But this solution to the problem should alleviate his worries. Now only clubs will own Armageddon Switches, so no further placing of individual’s single-pad controllers in quarantine should be necessary.

    Vern Knowles and Wilson Alness did have one thing wrong, the former LCU-1/ARM had several modes in which it could operate. Armageddon Mode was only one of those modes. It could also operate in single-pad mode so that only pads designated by that controller could respond to that controller. And there was and still is, a dual-key function mode that requires a second “fire command” from a second LCO in order to fire any selected pad. But the earlier LCU-1 controllers were not automatically in Armageddon Mode.

    I will be sending instructions to each of the current owners of LCU-1/ARM controllers on how to reprogram their single-pad pad-boxes with their new LCU-1 controllers very shortly.

    I hope this clears up the problem. Let me know if you have any questions.

    Brad, the “Rocket Rev.,” Wilson

  28. #58
    Join Date
    7th February 2009
    Location
    Arlington, TX
    Posts
    1,212
    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRev View Post
    I know that some folks will be disappointed that their individual single-pad controller will no longer have an Armageddon Mode, but that is the price that must be paid to keep the “incident” from ever happening again. Wilson F/X is just growing too big to allow for the possibility to remain.
    I think that this is the wrong solution. The problem is that the wireless units will communicate with every other wireless unit on the field. So long as that is the case there will always be the possibility that someone could send a command that wasn't expected. Armageddon mode or not.

    I think a better solution is to configure wireless units to have a secret key. Commands that don't include the correct key are ignored. One way of doing this would be to connect two wireless units via the cable that would normally connect the pad boxes and then trigger a configuration mode. The boxes would then generate a pseudo random number, share it between them, and store it into non-volatile memory. If more than one wireless unit is to control pads there would have to be another mode whereby the controlling wireless unit could download its key. This would be less secure because anyone with physical access could get the key.

    The key would need to be sufficiently long to make brute force attacks take too much time. 32 bits is probably enough.

    Or perhaps I have misunderstood how the system works. Easy to do since there is so little information on the web site.

  29. #59
    Join Date
    1st October 2014
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    61
    Brad,

    Thank you for the very detailed explanation. I am very impressed with the "countermeasures" you are putting into place. I also want to publicly apologize if I blindsided you with the story about the Armageddon switch accidently launching multiple rockets. I was under the impression that you already knew about that incident. Since you do not know about it, I will send you some details in a PM. In the mean time, I also wanted to say publicly that I like the system and in no way intended to cast any doubts about it as a club system. Other than the one incident with the personal Armageddon switch the system has performed reliability and flawlessly for us as a club system. We will certainly continue to use it.

    One last question, how do we reprogram our existing Armageddon switch to be a normal single pad controller? That's the one thing we have not figured out.
    Last edited by VernK; 12th September 2015 at 05:25 AM.

    Vern Knowles
    www.multitronix.com
    www.vernk.com
    TRA 4061 L3
    NAR 45236 L3

  30. #60
    Join Date
    25th July 2012
    Location
    Sterling, Illinois
    Posts
    80
    Hello Vern,

    No need to apologize. As it turns out, I'd completely forgotten that Greg had contacted me about this incident. We had a long email conversation about it. So you didn't blind side me. I'd just forgotten it had happened.

    Oh well. Hopefully the trade-in's of the old LCU-1 controllers for new ones that are not Armageddon capable will solve the problem.

    I will admit that I'm a bit confused though. My re3cords do not show that Tripoli Idaho bought a single pad controller. I could be wrong. But there was an individual in the Idaho club who bought two Single pad wireless systems. I never found out who the second one was for. This may be it.

    Hopefully somebody will let me know.

    If your club does have an Armageddon Switch you can keep it as an Armageddon Switch. From now on, I'm not selling Armageddon Switches to individuals.... only to clubs. Now that we've separated the functions of single pad controller and Armageddon Switch there should be no more problems.

    Let me know how it goes.

    Brad


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