Altimiter recommendations

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kgrimm

Member
Hi-hope everybody had a good holiday! I've been building and launching rockets for several years, but have never experimented with electronics. I'd like to try outfitting my rockets with altimiters, but I know nothing about what's available. Here's the question-can anybody recommend a reasonably accurate, dependable, and affordable altimiter? I am experienced in electronics, so kits would be no problem. Thanks, Kevin.

WillMarchant

Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
Hi Kevin:
There is an abundance of really cool altimeters on the market. Could you tell us a little more about what you need? And about what you consider "affordable"? Some choices are: record altitude, apogee deploy, dual-deploy, or complex multi-scenario electronics...
Best wishes,
Will

kgrimm

Member
Thanks for the reply! What I'm looking for is an altitude recorder. Currently the largest motor I'm using is an E9, and nothing larger than a BT-80 in diameter. As for "affordable", I'm more looking for an overall range in prices.-Kevin

Pantherjon

Well-Known Member
I will give a 2nd recommendation on the Quest How Hi altimeter! It is SMALL! And easily(a tad snug but can be done) fits into a BT20 tube! It is very cool..Got one from my Secret Santa for Christmas and am itching to try it out!

Gus

Well-Known Member
... easily(a tad snug but can be done) fits into a BT20 tube! It is very cool..
the Quest How High is a very nice altimeter but it doesn't really fit into a BT-20 without deforming the tube. For an altitude only unit that will fit into a BT-20 try either the Perfectflite Alt 15K or the Pico P1.

Plus of the How High is the price and weight, downside is it is an LED reporting unit and once it is in the rocket you can't tell if it's been accidently triggered.

Alt 15K is an audible unit that comes ready to fly, fits easily in a BT-20, and uses a AA battery. Downside is that because of the AA battery it is a bit heavier than some other altimeters. I can attest the Alt 15K is sturdy as heck because I routinely free-fall, or streamer-fall mine doing competition test flights. I really like that I can hear it beeping it's ready as it sits on the pad.

The Adept Rocketry A1-TA Maximum Altitude Altimeter looks very similar to the Alt 15K and I presume it works similarly well.

The Pico P1 is incredibly tiny but comes as a board to which you have to attach a battery unit. Not a huge problem but not as ready to fly as the other two. Current information is that that the Pico will be produced as an all in one, ready to fly version that will fit in a 10.5mm tube and weigh less than 8 grams by this summer. Can't wait for that.

If you are thinking of using your altimeter in NAR competition, the list of NAR approved altimeters can be found here, click on the "Altimeters approved" link.

n5wd

Well-Known Member
What I'm looking for is an altitude recorder.
I'm not sure I've seen you answer the followup question: after it records the altitude, do you want it to merely (a) tell you what it was in beeps, light flashes, or ? or (b) do you want to be able to download the data and use it for something else besides knowing how high the rocket went?

The Raven altimeter is a full-featured recording altimeter that only costs a little more than the most basic models, and it fits in tubes 24mm and larger. Its defaults make it easy to use for data recording and dual deployment right out of the box, or you can use the GUI-based Featherweight Interface Program set it up for airstarts or staging.

I'm on vacation at the moment, but I'll be shipping again starting on January 3rd.

Thanks.

kgrimm

Member
Wayne-
Thanks for the reply! Right now I'm looking for a basic unit that will record maximum altitude, but I would also consider a data-logging type that could be interfaced to a computer.-Kevin

chanstevens

Well-Known Member
I've personally used a Pico alt, pretty good unit, though can take a while to actually get one and it's finicky on windy days. I've used a Perfectflite 15k dozens of times, flawless, love the unit. If I were buying today, though, I'd probably buy the Adept just because it's such a great performer for the price and has temperature correction (which i don't think the Perfectflite has). I've heard Adrian's is a more accurate unit, slightly more expensive than Perfectflite, though in my case I'm really not worried about +/- 20 feet of accuracy for sport flying, and very much prefer being able to mount in a BT-20.

FWIW, The Pico can mount in a BT-5, and I think the Dorfler unit will as well.

I've also heard very poor accuracy feedback on the How High...

--Chan Stevens

n5wd

Well-Known Member
Wayne-
Thanks for the reply! Right now I'm looking for a basic unit that will record maximum altitude, but I would also consider a data-logging type that could be interfaced to a computer.-Kevin
For the data logging version, the Perfect Flite ALT15K is hard to beat. Simple, reliable, widely used and interfacing it to the computer is simple with their data logging interface board. We've gone through about 15 of 'em at school - usually lose 2 or 3 a year in my engineering class flights and we also use them for the TARC contest.

For non-data logging types, the Quest, Adept, and Picos are nice and seem to work well.

All of these should fit your space requirements - just gotta decid how much you want to spend.

Oh, here's an example of what you'll get with the Perfect Flite Alt15K and data logging interface:

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kgrimm

Member
Thanks for the info-the ALT-15K-WD looks like what I'm looking for. I checked the PerfectFlite website, and the price doesn't look too bad either.
I guess I'll have to start saving my pennies...:cyclops:

Commonwealth.Net

Well-Known Member
We have the Quest Altimeter for much less!
The "Quest Type" is great for the money, even better if you
get it from us for $20.00 less. Just remember the odds of a tree eatting your rocket go up as the cost of the payload increases. n5wd Well-Known Member We have the Quest Altimeter for much less! The "Quest Type" is great for the money, even better if you get it from us for$20.00 less.
That's odd, Steve - I looked on your website and couldn't find the Quest altimeter. Where are you hiding it?

n5wd

Well-Known Member
Looks like it's listed as the 'How High' from Winged Shadow (the OEM).
Knew it had to be there, somewhere. Thanks!