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BLACKHAWK ALTIMETER found....teenie tiny one!!

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blackjack2564

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Looks like I found the answer to our problem of a small recording altimeter for the BlackHawks. Advertised as the smallest altimeter in the world.

Records altitude only and can be placed in a small tube and taped directly to the shock cord. No deployment options on this one. He does however have others that will... slightly larger.

Robert from Pico Altimeters sent me this beta model to put through it's paces.

https://www.picoalt.com/ Very similar to the P-1, but has a battery mount on the back side for ease of use.

Just pop in the battery fly it and read out the altitude by counting the flashes on the super bright led. Bright enough to be seen in daylight situations.

In the next few days we will be in contact and I should have the more details and specifics on price.

So for now check out it's size and think of the uses!

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blackjack2564

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Battery slips right in and it's ready to fly.

Initiates after 25ft is reached.

Count the flashes to read out 325ft would be blink blink blink...pause....blink blink....pause...blink blink blink blink blink = 325ft zero [0] will be 10 blinks.

Battery is mounted in pics.

Fits on my thumb & a dime. Pic shown is the 24mm BlackHawk.

I'll weight it tomorrow and post. The P-1 only weighs .8grams without battery. This one can't be much more.

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troj

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Robert is the first person I thought of for electronics for the BH24. He does nice work.

-Kevin
 

blackjack2564

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Robert is the first person I thought of for electronics for the BH24. He does nice work.

-Kevin

Great minds think alike. That's EXACTLY why I called him and discussed '' our" problem. It only took him 3 days to send the solution! A modified P-1

I really like the fact the battery mount is on board and basically its a tape it on the shock cord and go. As Tim would say.....just fly it!
 

Pantherjon

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That is so cool!:cool: Price? Looks quite a bit like the How-Hi altimeter..But, I like the LED placement much better on this one!
 

blackjack2564

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More good news!
Had a discussion with Robert DeHate, designer and Pico founder today.

It is the same as the P-1, just with the built in battery mount!

With the battery installed it only weighs 2.3 grams.

I took it outside in VERY bright sun. The led is easily seen.


......................The PRICE will only be 40.00!!!....................



I used a tube core from a roll of paper from an adding machine for the altimeter bay, cut 3/4 inch long. A few strokes with a file on the inside and I had a perfect press fit. I will wrap the ends with tape and tape it on the shockcord. No vent is needed in the airframe.It will read altitude upon ejection into the air. Not affected by the ejection charge spike, so no worries there.

Just use a pen or pencil to push out the battery. Looks like a liner from an 18mm load would work great also. Possibly a section of spent 18mm BP motor. Just about any small tube you can fit it into. No need for end caps, just tape it .

It stores the last flight till the next one.

So to read your altitude from a flight.....just remove and re-install the battery and count the flashes. Pretty darn simple!

I can see where you can use this on all your Estes type rockets to gather altitude data and your high power flights also, since it's good to 40,000 ft!

Lots of possibilities here.

Now just hope the weather co-operates so I can test it soon in the BlackHawk 24! I am also going to flight it along side my R-das, Missleworks and Perfectflite to test accuracy and battery life in my larger rockets.

Now on to solving the tracking. Got to get ready for the CTI F-250 24mm load . This will be like a mini N-10000 for the 24mm BlackHawk.......can you say .....HEMI!

Rumor has it there will be many 24's to choose from including a longburn!!!:cheers:

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BEC

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Interesting. But the instructions for the P1 say this:

This unit is a barometric reading unit. As such it requires a vent hole in the electronics bay so that it can read atmospheric pressure. The size of these holes is dependant upon your bay size.

This bay must also be sealed from the ejection gasses that occur during motor ejection
charge firing. The altimeter must be protected from these gasses as they are corrosive and can damage the unit.
If this is a P1 with a battery holder it would have the same restriction. Is he doing something else to protect it from the ejection gases as well?

As an aside, I like the How High's zero indication - two quick short flashes - better than 10 flashes. More distinctive and not as tedious to count :).
 

n1lul

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Excellent work Jim. Now with my BRB tracker and this little gem I am set for warp speed in my BH24.

Time to contact pico alt.
 

blackjack2564

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If this is a P1 with a battery holder it would have the same restriction. Is he doing something else to protect it from the ejection gases as well?

:).
No......I am. But with his full approval after discussion we had today.

In a normal av bay there must be a vent to read as you state. But in this application there is no av bay in the normal sense, it is being ejected into the open air to get it's reading. In a most uses this alt would be installed in a payload section or a real Av bay, therefore needing the vent.

I have a baffle, 10ft of kevlar shock cord that will be under the little alt. and I will add some dog barf just to be sure.

I was advised that by simply wrapping the tiny bay with estes type fire resistant tissue, that would be sufficient. The ejection gases are not as much an issue as the corrosion they can induce. [I had the same questions come to mind & this was the explanation I received]

I though there might be a pressure spike from the ejection charge that might interfere. I was re-assured that would not be an issue, but corrosion was.

You can also wrap the altimeter with tissue [won't inhibit the ability of the sensor/allows it to breath] and then place it in a small tube. Finally attaching it to the shock cord. This is how Robert uses it.

The main issue being stressed is not design, but corrosion.

Also went over the vent issue, and told not needed.

Test flights will show the results.

First flights will follow designers instructions to the letter/ then we'll play!
 
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blackjack2564

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Just a follow up for clarity:

I'm not using an altimeter bay. Just a small tube to hold the Pico Alt.


Then wrapping tape around the tube to keep it in place. [Masking tape for pic clarity/will really use electrical]

Just leaving some open space on one end so it can sample once it's ejected.

Then taped on the shock cord and dropped into the airframe.

Just untape from shock cord and move to another rocket.

Plenty of room to spare.

Simplicity at it's finest.

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blackjack2564

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Flew the little alt over the weekend;

Setup: BW 24 - LL electronics tracker - Pico alt- all taped to shock cord.

Mounted the tracker upside down with the tip of antenna up into the NC. about 4 inches.

F-24-7 motor. Got very strong tracking signal from rocket on pad.

Borrowed the neatest little tower from Scott. Just put rocket in center, grab one rail, move towards the rocket, all rails moved like clamshell. Super simple and infinitely adjustable for any size small rocket. Even has a small telescoping blast plate to hold the rocket !

Changes in seconds for anything that will fit! And had buttons on the side so you can use any rail on a pad to hold it!

Flew to 1596ft according to the little alt.

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blackjack2564

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Went ahead and prepped the 29mm BH with a full size rockethunter/communication specialist tracker removed from the case [so it would fit!] and set up pretty much the same as the 24mm.

For some strange reason I really taped it rock solid, not leaving any part of the tracker uncovered, which i normally don't do. The antenna on this unit is much shorter, so I fold it in 1/2 and insert into NC. Allows the tracker to be much closer to the NC and out of the way.
Once again outstanding signal. These cones are not carbon remember.

A New Metal Storm G-75 was installed and the rocket was set on a rail.

For some reason the flight was really squirrely, as I have seen with several of these motors. This rocket has flown in the same configuration many times and I don't see how adding 2.3 grams more would change anything.

But it rain bowed and and waggled into the wild blue in a very long arc. The recovery is another story. 3hrs later, a trek through the woods, briars and brambles, to the edge of a swampy pond/lake showing the rocket was on the other side.[according to the signal]

So back through the above, into the car drive around the other side, hike through blah, blah, blah to OTHER side of lake. Get to the edge........signal showing rocket is on the OTHER side.

Well after others got involved and 4 of us were dazed and confused, Wildman spots the tiny 12in chute FLOATING in the middle of the water! Guess that explains it.

The most amazing fact is this pond was 1/2mile from pads over a small hill and recessed down to topgraphy about 12ft. The rocket was totally submerged in the water and we still got a strong signal back at the pads.

Good thing I had wrapped that unit water tight.

Anyhow after drying everything out from the Bong water,[Bong recreational state park, yeah I know ,thought the same thing first time I heard there was going to be a "Bong" launch] alt was reading out 90ft.

Guess it's time to fly it with some other electronics to make sure there is no water damage, and it's reading out correctly.
But so far it's a keeper.

The saga will continue!

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sylvie369

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But it rain bowed and and waggled into the wild blue in a very long arc. The recovery is another story. 3hrs later, a trek through the woods, briars and brambles, to the edge of a swampy pond/lake showing the rocket was on the other side.[according to the signal]

So back through the above, into the car drive around the other side, hike through blah, blah, blah to OTHER side of lake. Get to the edge........signal showing rocket is on the OTHER side.

Well after others got involved and 4 of us were dazed and confused, Wildman spots the tiny 12in chute FLOATING in the middle of the water! Guess that explains it.

The most amazing fact is this pond was 1/2mile from pads over a small hill and recessed down to topgraphy about 12ft. The rocket was totally submerged in the water and we still got a strong signal back at the pads.

Good thing I had wrapped that unit water tight.
Somewhere in here?
(from an onboard video I took probably 1/2 hour after you flew, while you were still out there looking):



(Access road below pond, 142 above it)
 

n1lul

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Any more info on that cool tower? I have rigged one up, but I really like well engineered stuff and that looks very nice.

Thanks
 

blackjack2564

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I borrowed it , and returned it. No longer can take any detailed pics.

But did post these larger ones if it helps.

There was also another arm so you could reconfigure the setup for 4 finned rockets. It was extremely well made and the tolerances were tight.

Some at the launch said that years ago these were commercially available. Don't know anything else. Sorry.
 

n1lul

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Thanks for the pictures. Looked up "versa tower" but only got returns for a HAM radio antenna tower. That RV/trailer in the background looks familiar. I think I left a whole bunch onf money there at RG8.

I emailed the picoalt person and got no reply. Is telephone a better contact method?
 

troj

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Thanks for the pictures. Looked up "versa tower" but only got returns for a HAM radio antenna tower.
I had the same issue -- I'm curious about it, as well!

I emailed the picoalt person and got no reply. Is telephone a better contact method?
Robert sometimes takes a few days to reply. If you continue to have problems, let me know -- I have alternate ways of pinging him; it's possible his email is having issues.

-Kevin
 

Bazookadale

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Any more info on that cool tower? I have rigged one up, but I really like well engineered stuff and that looks very nice.

Thanks
Some at the launch said that years ago these were commercially available. Don't know anything else. Sorry.

John Pursley made the Versa tower maybe 20 years ago, don't think he still offers it but you might try him at https://www.accur8.com
 

blackjack2564

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Unit was flown over the weekend:

First up in the Darkstar lite on a G-80-10. read out..... 1396ft

Looks like no ill effects after it went for a 3 hr swim last weekend.

2nd flight in a DD rocket with a Perfect Flite HiAl 45 which read 4897ft. The Pico read 4791ft difference 106ft

Battery lasted 2 hrs and was dead upon recovery which took the 2 hrs. Upon installation of new one, altitude blinked out. It stores the last flight till the next one overwrites it.
 

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I recognize that launching area as being Bong Rec in Wisconsin. Aren't you from Georgia? :confused2: I suppose, 'Echo Victor' is from Detroit...

"Yea, honey, we are going 450 miles away to launch rockets, ok?" .::y::. :duck: That would not 'fly' in our house. :rolleyes:
 

Pantherjon

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I recognize that launching area as being Bong Rec in Wisconsin. Aren't you from Georgia? :confused2: I suppose, 'Echo Victor' is from Detroit...

"Yea, honey, we are going 450 miles away to launch rockets, ok?" .::y::. :duck: That would not 'fly' in our house. :rolleyes:
Well, Jim IS from Georgia..But he is a 'Rocket Vagabond'!:roll:Going with Tim to a bunch of launches, helping Tim in the shop filling orders, etc..He does sometimes visit Georgia and launch with his club in Orangeburg..He is currently in Illinois at the Wildman's going to a launch in Iowa this weekend and leaving from there for LDRS...
 

dixontj93060

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Well, Jim IS from Georgia..But he is a 'Rocket Vagabond'!:roll:Going with Tim to a bunch of launches, helping Tim in the shop filling orders, etc..He does sometimes visit Georgia and launch with his club in Orangeburg..He is currently in Illinois at the Wildman's going to a launch in Iowa this weekend and leaving from there for LDRS...
Independently wealthy(?)
 

blackjack2564

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Independently wealthy(?)
No..... Just an old cowboy traveler.....last of a dy'n breed.

Kalifornia next week, back to Bong, them off to New York and Nerff......Coast to Coast fly'n! Racking up some serious miles!

But I sure have met a great bunch of fliers during these travels !
 
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Pantherjon

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No..... Just an old cowboy traveler.....last of a dy'n breed.

Kalifornia next week, back to Bong, them off to New York and Nerff......Coast to Coast fly'n! Racking up some serious miles!

But I sure have met a great bunch of fliers during these travels !
Hey! You gonna put this little guy in the MEGA for S and G's? ;)
 

blackjack2564

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Continuing to report on usage as promised:

Last week at LDRS put the Blackhawk Pico Alt in Tim's Wildman Jr.

Flew in the single deploy mode with just the nose cone on the fincan....no payload or altimeter bay. That stayed on the ground.

Flew it on the 6 grain J-530- 38mm I-max, just taped the little unit onto the shockcord as usual with electrical tape. Bam it gone like a bat out of h..l .

Recovery on the 5.5lb rocket was only a 6 x 60 in. Topflight streamer.

It comes down fast and hard! Even so, after whacking the concrete hard playa, as always the little Wildman Jr. remains undamaged and the Pico was blinking out 9282 ft!

Really nice to know how high these Extreme flights go as well as the small rockets with no room for regular electronics.

Unfortunately I have seen 3 of the new digital read out Altimeter 1's, flown only one time each..... 2 of them came out of their cases, never to be seen again, only half of the plastic case remaining after being clipped and taped to the shock cord and the 3rd clipped to the nose cone , only the grommet and clip were remaining. So if you are using those make sure to put it in something sturdy or a piece of tubular nylon to hold it together.

1 was in another Wildman Jr drag racing Tim's for comparison purposes.

So after 8 flights so far in low and high power rockets , coming in under chute, streamer and hard hits, is still functioning flawlessly. A great deal from Pico with built in battery holder for only 40 bucks....
 

BEC

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Interesting. And a little disturbing about the AltimeterOnes. As you may see in the AltimeterOne thread, I managed to lose the front half of the case from mine as well....but have the electronics and the battery in the back half of the case. My unit is still in good working order (and another case is on its way from Apogee).

I don't see how one could have only the clip and grommet left unless it was subjected to an extremely violent event since the grommet is in the end of the rather thick circuit board. Clearly your little round enclosure protects the self-powered Pico from such violence.

Any idea when the self-powered Pico will be available? It's not on their web site.

By the way, not using a vent in the airframe assumes ejection comes right at, or before apogee. If ejection is late, and there's no vent, you're going to be reading something else than apogee.....
 
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atlcdp

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I just got one of these. It is tiny! I can't wait to fly it. I do rocketry with the Cub Scouts / Girl Scouts in my area. The kids are going to love this.
 

blackjack2564

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Please let us know how you do with yours.
Pics of how you install it.

Hope you have as much fun with it as I have!
 
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