AlphaFire 1Q for wireless launcher [now with more pics]

Discussion in 'Ground Support' started by Tonimus, Nov 14, 2014.

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  1. Nov 14, 2014 #1

    Tonimus

    Tonimus

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    So, I finally broke down and ordered an AlphaFire 1Q. http://amzn.com/B00E3NTSAS I also ordered a 6v automotive relay that can handle 16v at 40 amps across the contacts. One AlphaFire, one relay, one ATV battery, some wire, few spade connectors, and some 'gator clips. Should fire darn near anything.

    It's on the slow boat from China, but I hope to have it in a couple weeks. Anyone else use one of these guys?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  2. Nov 14, 2014 #2

    rharshberger

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    Im interested in the range of the transmitter and reciever, if it works far enough it would be a good HPR away pad with a relay initiated 12v system.
     
  3. Nov 16, 2014 #3

    bobkrech

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    The description of the product states it has a 200 M range so you should expect a minimum range of at least 1/2 of that or 100 M which good for L1 and L2 launches. Given a good line of sight, 500' for a M-impulse is possible.

    Bob
     
  4. Nov 20, 2014 #4

    Tonimus

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    My AlphaFire showed up just before I had to leave for work. I'll post some pictures tonight. My 6v relay also came in, so I can take a couple pictures of the setup without the battery. I plan to pick up a 12v battery this weekend. Maybe not an ATV battery, perhaps an alarm system battery. They're cheaper and should still have plenty of oomph.
     
  5. Nov 21, 2014 #5

    Tonimus

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    Here's the picture with a dollar for scale. The antenna on the firing unit is 8 inches long. The antenna on the remote has 2.75" exposed.

    alphafire.jpg
     
  6. Nov 21, 2014 #6

    TopRamen

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    That's awesome! Can't wait to hear how it works with the 12V and the Relay.
    I want one now!
     
  7. Nov 24, 2014 #7

    Tonimus

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    Here it is with the relay, 12v 7ah AGM battery, and 30' of wire. Not truly wireless, but having all the stuff 30' from the pad seems like a good idea if something goes awry.

    I am not sure how well this will work with copperheads or the like. The "on" time for the firing unit is pretty short. I just ordered a 10 amp timer relay to add to the circuit. I can set it to hold the power on in 0.1 second increments. I'm thinking 5 seconds on would be a good idea.

    I wanted to test the system today, but just as we were leaving for the launch area, wind picked up to about 15 mph...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2014
  8. Nov 24, 2014 #8

    1tree

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    You should consider worst case scenario. Do you want the battery working against a short for 5 seconds? I would think .5 (1/2) second plenty to light any starter.


    Kirk
     
  9. Nov 24, 2014 #9

    Tonimus

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    I ordered the relay anyway. If the weather holds today, I'll test it as-is. I also got a 6v AGM for lighting small Estes igniters.
     
  10. Nov 25, 2014 #10

    Tonimus

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    The wind got too gusty by the time I was ready to launch today. Maybe next weekend.
     
  11. Dec 1, 2014 #11

    Tonimus

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    Field report! With my 6V AGM battery, it works FANTASTIC with Estes black powder igniters. No problem. I launched two F42s that came with copperheads. Didn't want to work with the controller, but I suspect it was how I had it hooked up, not a result of the controller. The system will touch off Estes Sonic igniters without issue.
     
  12. Dec 1, 2014 #12

    jef955

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    Aerotech advises 12 VDC at 3 amps for the Copperhead to work properly. Is your battery fully charged (and is it 12 or 6 volts)? I have used a lot of those with 30-40 feet of wire and they (your battery-if it's 12 Volts) light everything no problem. If your battery is indeed 6 volts (although it looks like a standard 12V alarm battery) - that's your problem. Let us know..

    I have thought about getting one of those myself..

    Good luck
     
  13. Dec 2, 2014 #13

    Tonimus

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    I have both a 12V AGM and a 6V AGM. I got the 6V so I didn't just pop the Estes BP igniters without lighting the motors. I used the 12V guy to light the Copperheads directly, worked no problem. I think it was an issue with how I had the Copperhead hooked up, not an issue with the AlphaFire. This was my first time with Copperheads, and I do not care for them.
     
  14. Dec 2, 2014 #14

    jef955

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    I don't care for them either, but a guy from my club gave me a ton of them - at least 100.

    All them Firstfire Jr's going to the bank ! (Bank of rocketry hoarding that is;)
     
  15. Dec 2, 2014 #15

    Tonimus

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    If you want to send me a few, I'd be more than happy to test them for you. I'd even film it.
     
  16. Dec 4, 2014 #16

    mad4hws

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    Have you been able to test it with First Fire ignitors or Cesseroni's yet?
     
  17. Dec 4, 2014 #17

    Tonimus

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    Negative. All I had were the igniters that came with the motors I bought locally. I've got a big batch of e-matches, but igniters, nope. I'll extend the offer to everyone. If anyone wants me to test igniters with this system, shoot me a PM. I've got plenty of room to safely test any kind of igniter. I'll record the tests and put them up on Youtube. I also have a self latching digital timer relay coming, so if it doesn't work with the system as it, I can up the time by half a second until it does.
     
  18. Dec 6, 2014 #18

    georgegassaway

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    I've had a couple of wireless systems over the years. First one claimed a range of 500 feet, usually was less than 200, sometimes less than 150. Another claimed at least 600 feet (maybe 1000 feet), but it was even worse, at 150 max, usually not over 100. Which was not good for my needs as I got them for being able to remotely launch my R/C Rocket Gliders by myself. And I like to stand 200 feet or more back for some of the boosts.

    Both times I had the receiver units mounted a few feet off the ground, on a wooden post, so as not to reduce the range as would occur from having them on the ground or mounted to a metal post.

    So, I wonder if you've done a range test? Such as hooking up the micro clips to some very bright light you could see form a long distance, or have someone stand close to it to let you know when the light is on or not.

    If the actual tested range is at least a good solid reliable 300 feet (or 100 meters), I may well get one.

    - George Gassaway
     
  19. Dec 6, 2014 #19

    UhClem

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    How did you implement the NFPA 1122/1127 required removable safety interlock in series with the launch switch?
     
  20. Dec 6, 2014 #20

    zanfar

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    From the Amazon customer reviews, it appears the remote has a fail-safe interlock.
     
  21. Dec 6, 2014 #21

    Tonimus

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    George, I just started my work week, but I'll get out and test the range before too long.

    The remote has a sliding cover over the button. If I had to add something removable, it wouldn't be terribly difficult.
     
  22. Dec 9, 2014 #22

    jef955

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    I just came back to this.. If there's no problem mailing Copperheads (I can't remember) I'll be glad to send you 6 or so to play with..
     
  23. Dec 9, 2014 #23

    jef955

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    PM me your address etc,,
     
  24. Dec 19, 2014 #24

    KenRico

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  25. Dec 19, 2014 #25

    ksaves2

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    It's simple. You don't. Some remote units have an on/off switch that the users call an "interlock". I don't know if the AlphaFire has a changeable code or not. The "little" transmitters don't have a keylock switch. The legality of using these devices can be dubious. My response is don't have a launch accident with one or your insurance provider will likely abandon you.

    With that regard, I built one with a changeable code 2000 meter range transmitter that has an on/off switch with learning receivers. I use for mod-rocs and high-power at a private launch. Have never had an issue whatsoever. I've blasted with Rf transmitters of other types and never had a receiver relay close with anything other than the coded signal from the handheld transmitter. Like I say, don't have a launch accident or you'll be cooked.

    If one insists on using it for a "club" launch, might get by with putting the transmitter in a lockbox between uses. The device will at least need an on/off switch. When everyone is ready to launch, clear the air, remove from lockbox, look around and clear the air again, turn on and make sure you push the right button per pad. Sure, folks can and do push the wrong button on wired systems so that is not an issue. Kurt
     
  26. Dec 19, 2014 #26

    Tonimus

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    Well, I tested it out to just over 1000 feet today. Worked every time. I've got some copperheads on the way, I'll film how it works with those.
     
  27. Dec 20, 2014 #27

    ksaves2

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    A scenario for using these devices safely (http://www.rfremotech.com/) for personal use would be to have the 12V battery with a relay next to the pad.
    A 10 to 25' lead-in wire can go to the receiver a distance away. The relays in most of the receivers are rated 10 amps so there is the potentional of frying them if more current goes through them. Also, do not, do not, do not, do reverse polarity on the receiver units. Do that and POOF! It's gone.
    A 30 amp automotive relay coil on one's 12V ignition battery doesn't draw much from those 10 amp traces. I have a surplus solenoid that can switch 200amps on one of my batteries and its coil only draws 2 to 2.5amps on activation. Well within the 10 amp limit of the receiver's rating.

    I was able to purchase a 2000 meter transmitter that had 4 DIP switches on the front panel. These are used to set a code for the transmitter which the RR1L
    receivers are trained to respond to. I simply scramble the dip switches between use. Even if the on/off switch is "on" no way a launch can take place unless the recessed DIP switches are set to the proper code the receiver's had learned. I've tested it out and it works. If the proper code isn't in, it don't work.

    The technique is turn the receiver off. If it's off, it can't respond to anything. Connect up the igniter to the rocket. On the way back to a safe distance to stand, go by and turn on the receiver toggle switch. Get away to the observation position, turn on the transmitter, set the DIP switches to the proper code and ready to fire.

    Only problem here is RfRemotech no longer makes this transmitter that I have. I don't know if they have any newer coded devices amenable for rocketry use. Like I said, this is for my own personal use and is not something for switching a bunch of pads. Negates the need for long wire drops. Kurt
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  28. Dec 20, 2014 #28

    Tonimus

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    I use a 6V auto relay that can handle 16V at 40 amps across its terminals. 20' of wire connects my pad to the battery/relay/receiver. The receiver has an on/off switch. The only difference between your setup and the one I'm using is the dip switches. I plan to pull the guts out of the transmitter and put them in a slightly larger enclosure so that I can add a safety "key" to the transmitter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  29. Dec 21, 2014 #29

    ksaves2

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    You got it made then. It's nice not having to carry long coils of wires around, isn't it? Kurt
     

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