Club Launch Racks

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JAL3

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I'd like to see some ideas for club style launch racks. I'd like to find a design that is light, easy to fold up and sturdy.

I'm thinking in terms of an "A' at either end supporting some type of beam. I've tried wooden sawhorse legs mounted to 1x and 2x lumber but am not statisfied.

Any great designs out there?

photos would be very nice.
 

shreadvector

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https://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wc...langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100003259

Weighs more than wood, but folds easy and has a carrying handle. Oh, and a heavier steel rack will *NOT* blow over in wind gusts.

We have one wood rack and one steel rack with custom machined swivels mounted (basicly metal versions of the Estes rod attachment in the standard Este pads).

Dozens and dozens of photos of our pads are in the photo section of the Jimz website:

https://www.dars.org/jimz/gallery.htm

https://www.dars.org/jimz/gallery/gal340.jpg

https://www.dars.org/jimz/gallery/gal349.jpg

https://www.dars.org/jimz/gallery/gal351.jpg
 

johnnwwa

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Photos of launch rack used by Blue Mountain Rocketeers section 615

BAR
John

BMR 001.jpg


BMR 003.jpg
 

DAllen

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https://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wc...langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100003259

Weighs more than wood, but folds easy and has a carrying handle. Oh, and a heavier steel rack will *NOT* blow over in wind gusts.
I will third that item. Folds up really nice and is very very sturdy. I would use these over woods saw horses. Doesn't take much to drill holes in the top to mount your launch pads. It's just high enough that you really don't need protective caps on the end of the rods to prevent eye poking but short enough most kids can help clip on the ignitors.

-DAllen
 

Micromeister

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One of my early group sawhorse style racks was just a few 2"x4"s and metal pockets that held the loose legs.

Later I built an all aluminum 4foot rack that stored all its parts under the lid and side door for the legs.

The latest build is the clubs 4"x 6" x 84" self-contained aluminum 6 postion rack. Legs, deflectors, alt-azmat heads, microclips and rods store inside the bottom doors.

Rack-2-sm_System, Controller & Old Models_04-27-83.jpg


System-1 Rack-2a4_6pic Component Storage Pg_01-06.jpg
 

Micromeister

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almost forgot the micro 6 pad rack. also mostly self-contained with rods, clips and deflectors stored inside bottom doors.
4" x 6" x 36" rack mounts on standard camera tripod with 30foot cable/controller on a saperate reel.
the orignial MMX silo bases have been replaced with permanent recessed rod holders as seen in the revision pics.


John; with the exception of the 70's sawhorse rack all these systems were built in my tiny townhouse basement, so don't be afraid to design whatever kind of system you think your group will need. With just a little time you can build just about anything you'll need;) OH and that sawhorse system was build in an appartment.

MM 6pad Rack mods-a-sm_complete rack_03-28-06.jpg


MM 6pad Rack mods-b-sm_Add-on Bracket 7th pad.jpg


MM 6pad Rack mods-c-sm_Rod Lock Mt and deflector.jpg


MM 6pad Rack mods-d-sm_Rod Lock & conn. detail.jpg
 
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Micromeister

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Heres another folding system I almost forgot about, it's almost all wood with center hinge so it can fit in a trunk. 1" x 3" A-frames form legs aren't shown sorry I didn't think to take pics of them. they slide onto the double wooden blocks on the rack body holding everything horizontal.

system-4a1_Hinge center joint_11-28-03.jpg


system-4b2_Left side above connectors.jpg


system-4c2_Inside cover close_11-28-03.jpg


system-4f2_complete above_11-28-03.jpg
 
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JAL3

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Thanks for all the pics so far. I do appreciate them.

I want to upgrade my club's equipment AND make things as easy on myself as possible.
 

georgegassaway

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I will post some pics of the two racks that BRB uses. The horizontal beam is 1” square aluminum tubing, with a 7/8” wide “U” channel running underneath that. The wiring runs inside the “U” channel. Legs are 3/4” PVC. Special adapters hold the legs and plug inside of the 1” Square aluminum tubing.

In the early 1970’s, Estes (maybe Centuri?) sold (but did not publicize) a rack system that used all-aluminum racks, including legs that seemed to clamp on to the square aluminum tubing sort of like sawhorses do, except they locked into place and were designed to fit the square tubing they clamped onto. When I was designing these racks, I tried to find something like that, but never did.

A key design criteria of the racks was to be convenient to transport. Nothing is over 48” long. The racks are compact enough that both of them fit inside of a 7 x 8 x 49” box with room to spare. That box easily fits into any car.

Here is one suggestion, regardless of what kind of racks you make. If you ever plan to use the racks set up far apart, so you will launch one rack while another rack is being loaded, add some positive indicators to alert both the LCO and anyone near the rack that a rack is ARMED. Many years ago, NARAMs used racks, and inevitably there was an accidental launch of the wrong rack, and a common issue was there were no arming indicators on any of them.

For BRB’s, each rack has a light and a buzzer. The buzzer lets anyone near the rack know it is armed. This is done by running an additional wire from the panel to the rack, branched off between the arming key and launch button, so the wire is energized when the panel is armed (actually, I ran it thru a flip-flopping timer circuit to make the light and buzzer at each armed rack flash and beep). For a normal 5-pad rack, you would use 6 wires (5 pad positive, plus ground). For this, a 7th wire (positive when armed) is added.

The launch panel has a selector switch, for up to three racks (selects the ground wire of which rack to arm). The panel has three lights on top to show which is armed, and the panel has a piezo beeper to indicate the panel is armed.

But instead of a third rack we have a 5-pad HPR “Junction box”. The Junction box splits out the five launch leads that can go to up to 5 HPR pads. The Junction box has a plug-in post with a bright tail-light assembly on it, plus a very loud Piezo beeper that alerts everyone when an HPR flight is armed. This is also a re-assurance to those loading the HPR pads that the HPR Junction box is not “hot”, otherwise they would be hearing that beeper. BTW - in the pics, the junction box is shown with the original strobe light, which proved to be too wimpy, so it was replaced with the tail light seen in the video).

A video on Youtube showing the launch system in operation, plus an HPR cert flight by Brandon Kirkland, last December:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FizWJ518XHI&feature=channel_page

- George Gassaway

IMG_0715.jpg


IMG_1738.JPG


IMG_2336.jpg


TRF-IMG_2078.jpg
 
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JAL3

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I will post some pics of the two racks that BRB uses. The horizontal beam is 1” square aluminum tubing, with a 7/8” wide “U” channel running underneath that. The wiring runs inside the “U” channel. Legs are 3/4” PVC. Special adapters hold the legs and plug inside of the 1” Square aluminum tubing.

In the early 1970’s, Estes (maybe Centuri?) sold (but did not publicize) a rack system that used all-aluminum racks, including legs that seemed to clamp on to the square aluminum tubing sort of like sawhorses do, except they locked into place and were designed to fit the square tubing they clamped onto. When I was designing these racks, I tried to find something like that, but never did.

A key design criteria of the racks was to be convenient to transport. Nothing is over 48” long. The racks are compact enough that both of them fit inside of a 7 x 8 x 49” box with room to spare. That box easily fits into any car.

Here is one suggestion, regardless of what kind of racks you make. If you ever plan to use the racks set up far apart, so you will launch one rack while another rack is being loaded, add some positive indicators to alert both the LCO and anyone near the rack that a rack is ARMED. Many years ago, NARAMs used racks, and inevitably there was an accidental launch of the wrong rack, and a common issue was there were no arming indicators on any of them.

For BRB’s, each rack has a light and a buzzer. The buzzer lets anyone near he rack know it is armed. This is done by running an additional wire from the panel to the rack, branched off between the arming key and launch button, so the wire is energized when the panel is armed (actually, I ran it thru a flip-flopping timer circuit to make the light and buzzer at each armed rack flash and beep). For a normal 5-pad rack, you would use 6 wires (5 pad positive, plus ground). For this, a 7th wire (positive when armed) is added.

The launch panel has a selector switch, for up to three racks (selects the ground wire of which rack to arm). The panel has three lights on top to show switch is armed, and the panel has a piezo beeper to indicate the panel is armed.

But instead of a third rack we have a 5-pad HPR “Junction box”. The Junction box splits out the five launch leads that can go to up to 5 HPR pads. The Junction box has a plug-in post with a bright tail-light assembly on it, plus a very loud Piezo beeper that alerts everyone when an HPR flight is armed. This is also a re-assurance to those loading the HPR pads that the HPR Junction box is not “hot”, otherwise they would be hearing that beeper. BTW - in the pics, the junction box is shown with the original strobe light, which proved to be too wimpy, so it was replaced with the tail light seen in the video).

A video on Youtube showing the launch system in operation, plus an HPR cert flight by Brandon Kirkland, last December:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FizWJ518XHI&feature=channel_page

- George Gassaway
That is most helpful and informative and I very much appreciate it.
 

JAL3

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I will post some pics of the two racks that BRB uses. The horizontal beam is 1” square aluminum tubing, with a 7/8” wide “U” channel running underneath that. The wiring runs inside the “U” channel. Legs are 3/4” PVC. Special adapters hold the legs and plug inside of the 1” Square aluminum tubing.

In the early 1970’s, Estes (maybe Centuri?) sold (but did not publicize) a rack system that used all-aluminum racks, including legs that seemed to clamp on to the square aluminum tubing sort of like sawhorses do, except they locked into place and were designed to fit the square tubing they clamped onto. When I was designing these racks, I tried to find something like that, but never did.

A key design criteria of the racks was to be convenient to transport. Nothing is over 48” long. The racks are compact enough that both of them fit inside of a 7 x 8 x 49” box with room to spare. That box easily fits into any car.

Here is one suggestion, regardless of what kind of racks you make. If you ever plan to use the racks set up far apart, so you will launch one rack while another rack is being loaded, add some positive indicators to alert both the LCO and anyone near the rack that a rack is ARMED. Many years ago, NARAMs used racks, and inevitably there was an accidental launch of the wrong rack, and a common issue was there were no arming indicators on any of them.

For BRB’s, each rack has a light and a buzzer. The buzzer lets anyone near he rack know it is armed. This is done by running an additional wire from the panel to the rack, branched off between the arming key and launch button, so the wire is energized when the panel is armed (actually, I ran it thru a flip-flopping timer circuit to make the light and buzzer at each armed rack flash and beep). For a normal 5-pad rack, you would use 6 wires (5 pad positive, plus ground). For this, a 7th wire (positive when armed) is added.

The launch panel has a selector switch, for up to three racks (selects the ground wire of which rack to arm). The panel has three lights on top to show switch is armed, and the panel has a piezo beeper to indicate the panel is armed.

But instead of a third rack we have a 5-pad HPR “Junction box”. The Junction box splits out the five launch leads that can go to up to 5 HPR pads. The Junction box has a plug-in post with a bright tail-light assembly on it, plus a very loud Piezo beeper that alerts everyone when an HPR flight is armed. This is also a re-assurance to those loading the HPR pads that the HPR Junction box is not “hot”, otherwise they would be hearing that beeper. BTW - in the pics, the junction box is shown with the original strobe light, which proved to be too wimpy, so it was replaced with the tail light seen in the video).

A video on Youtube showing the launch system in operation, plus an HPR cert flight by Brandon Kirkland, last December:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FizWJ518XHI&feature=channel_page

- George Gassaway

I've thought this over a bit more over supper (late night). I would very much appreciate some more details.

What type of wiring do you use that has 7 conductors? What kind of connections do you use? I am an electronics basket case; can you amplify on the flip/flop?
 

georgegassaway

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What type of wiring do you use that has 7 conductors? What kind of connections do you use? I am an electronics basket case; can you amplify on the flip/flop?
7 conductor cable. Often called “control cable”. Has a round gray sleeve with multiple conductor wires inside, in this case I needed 7. You will not find it at a place like Lowe’s, and not from Radio Shack either. You get it from serious electronic supply stores. I got the cable and connectors from Allied Electronics.

For connectors to-from the cable, a very nice 8-conductor plug and socket set. They do not make 7 conductor connectors of the type I liked, so I wired up the ground wire to two of the 8 connectors for less connector loss on the ground wire rather than just leave the 8th pin unused).

When I said “flip-flop”, real electronic gurus will think I literally mean a true flip-flop. I said that as shorthand to get the basic idea across. It is a self-resetting timer that cycles on and off at about 50% on and 50% off (on for about 4/10 second and off about 4/10 second). If you look close at the video you will see I actually rigged the “off” part of the cycle to trigger another timer “on” for 4/10 second, so this is why you see the green continuity LED’s on (from timer 1), and red pad armed LED’s off, then you see the red pad armed LED’s on (from timer 2 triggered by timer 1 being off) and green continuity LED’s off (well, you see the red ones on once I start flipping the toggles to arm each pad). Sort of rail-road crossing light-style. It might have been simpler if I had used an actual railroad-crossing type circuit as some use for Model Railroads.

I will have to give more info Thursday, on where to find the cable and connectors/sockets, with specific web page links.

- George Gassaway
 
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JAL3

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7 conductor cable. Often called “control cable”. Has a round gray sleeve with multiple conductor wires inside, in this case I needed 7. You will not find it at a place like Lowe’s, and not from Radio Shack either. You get it from serious electronic supply stores. I got the cable and connectors from Allied Electronics.

For connectors to-from the cable, a very nice 8-conductor plug and socket set. They do not make 7 conductor connectors of the type I liked, so I wired up the ground wire to two of the 8 connectors for less connector loss on the ground wire rather than just leave the 8th pin unused).

When I said “flip-flop”, real electronic gurus will think I literally mean a true flip-flop. I said that as shorthand to get the basic idea across. It is a self-resetting timer that cycles on and off at about 50% on and 50% off (on for about 4/10 second and off about 4/10 second). If you look close at the video you will see I actually rigged the “off” part of the cycle to trigger another timer “on” for 4/10 second, so this is why you see the green continuity LED’s on (from timer 1), and red pad armed LED’s off, then you see the red pad armed LED’s on (from timer 2 triggered by timer 1 being off) and green continuity LED’s off (well, you see the red ones on once I start flipping the toggles to arm each pad). Sort of rail-road crossing light-style. It might have been simpler if I had used an actual railroad-crossing type circuit as some use for Model Railroads.

I will have to give more info Thursday, on where to find the cable and connectors/sockets, with specific web page links.

- George Gassaway

This is most helpful and I await the links.

Thanks again.
 

georgegassaway

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The connectors are:

Molex 8-conductor plug (male)
https://www.alliedelec.com/Search/p...=607-7177&SEARCH=607-7177&ID=&DESC=38331-5608

Molex 8-conductor connector Socket (female)
https://www.alliedelec.com/Search/ProductDetail.asp?SKU=607-7199&SEARCH=607-7199&ID=&DESC=38331-8008

Molex 8-conductor connector Socket PANEL MOUNT (female)
https://www.alliedelec.com/Search/productdetail.aspx?SKU=607-7198&SEARCH=&ID=1626&DESC=38330-0508

I used those in a launch system I made in the 1970’s, and liked them a lot. Back then I used 6 conductors, as the racks (2 x 4 wood) were 4 pad racks. For the BRB system, I used 8 conductors since I needed 7 wires and there are not 7-conductor connectors for these. I like them because they are keyed, have a good electrical connection, and yet if someone trips on a cord, they will pull free rather than potentially damage the wiring or yank a rack over.

Here is the cable:

Beldin Wire - MULTI CONDUCTOR, 7 COND, 20AWG STRANDED (7X28)
https://www.alliedelec.com/Search/p...216-2296&SEARCH=216-2296&ID=&DESC=9439+060100

For the racks, I got that 7 conductor cable at 20 gauge. Of the 100 feet, 35 feet was used for one rack cable, and another 35 feet for another rack cable. And 4 feet was used on each rack to run from inside the rack (from inside the “U” channel), to end with a female socket. Ideally I would have liked to have used a flush mount female socket instead, but there just was not room in that “U” channel to do that, and I did not want to cut into the 1” square tubing either.

The cables are arranged with male plugs at both ends, female plug on each rack and female sockets in the panel.

>>>>
EDIT - If you go for some other brand or type of wire, be sure it is "Stranded" wire. Standed wire is flexible and not fragile compared to Solid. SOLID wire, as usually used for electrical wiring inside of a house, is stiff and will break from metal fatigue over time. So it is very bad for launch cable that will be rolled and unrolled many many times.
<<<<

For the cable for the HPR Junction box, I got 100 feet of 18 gauge 7 conductor cable. There is a power loss over distance, so I felt it was prudent to use 18 gauge, and some might prefer go for 16 gauge. On the few occasions when we have an HPR model that requires more than 100 feet, a heavy duty 100 foot extension cord is used, to extend one of the HPR pad leads from the HPR junction box to allow an extra 100 feet for the leads to one pad. That is also one of the reasons why the HPR Junction box simply uses household type sockets and plugs for the ignition leads to plug into.

- George Gassaway

607-7177.jpg


607-7199.jpg


607-7198.jpg


IMG_3227.jpg


IMG_3225.JPG
 
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JAL3

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I appreciate the links.

When/if you get the time, I would also like more info on wiring the flip/flop aspects and the lights/warnings at the pads.

Are they safe for the low current igniters like the new quests?
 

MarkII

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One common feature that I notice about all of the photos that have been posted is something that could be called "pad inflation." Or perhaps it could be "pad one-upmanship." In some photos, it looks like pads have sprouted up in the fields like dandelions. Is there some reason why any club would need to set up so many pads for a launch? I count 10, even 15 pads in some of the pictures that have been posted in this thread. Do any of your clubs actually use more than a handful of them during the entire launch? Why do you set so many up? :confused:

Mark \\.
 

Micromeister

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OH Man:
Narhams Sport launch set up typically consists of 2 6pad racks and up to 6 "Mid power" individual "Away pads.

We have 50, 60, 75-80+ flyers at our sport launches depending on the weather and time of year, averaging somewhere around 50 on any given 3rd saturday of the month:)
Throw in a Cub Scout Pack or two, Tarc teams and/or add Competition flying we sometimes have Lines at check in.
I loan the club occasionally my 18-24 pad Satellite pad system for our large regionals tho its controller has been down for repair/rebuilding the last few years. And that is sometimes completely full with people waiting.

Has very little to do with one-upmanship or pad-flation. Rather everything to do with getting as many flights in the air in a give day, making as many modelers happy as possible.

JAL3:
Here a couple pics of two typical launch range set-up models, These models were built for display at airshows and demo's to give folks an idea of what a Model Rocket launch range set-up could look like.

George brings up several very good options on multi pin connectors. Our club as used Amphenol connectors for as long as it's been in existance (1965), these connectors #3102A-18-1s Cable connector and 3102A-18-1P Panel mount Plugs are expensive as connectors go but I have to admit. I've only had to change a single cable end once in 20some years due to breakage.... they are some TOUGH connectors. Our Racks and other launchers have over the last 10-15 year switched from phone plugs on microclip leads to a 4 pin Mike connector from radio shack or other on-line electornic suppliers currently the numbers are 274-001 and 274-002 cable end and panel mt plug repectively. In the past year or so they also have increased in price a goodd bit but I fine them much more reliable and rugged over phono plugs or A/C plugs and recepticales. Since all the local electronic stores and good ole Radio Shack stopped being a good eletronics store, I've mostly switched my electric and electroinc parts purchasing to on-line for Allied Electronics, Digitkey, and othes. Allied has been most helpful in the past and has one of the largest ranges of products. Shop around for deals and don't be to afraid of the shipping costs as they've been most reasonable.

We've found over time our Rack and launcher cables need to "exceed" the minimums for both safety and viewing reasons. We've set up all our launcher systems with minimum 50 foot cables generally these are 16ga stranded copper. We have also noted for safety anti trip hazzard reasons, extension leads and other cables are much more visible on the ground if made with White jacket 16/2 standed copper lamp cord.
Most of my personal self-contained launchers, relay launchers and other systems also use minimum of 50' 16ga wire leads which seems fit the bill very nicely. Bundling loose conductors into trunk cables can be done with spiral warp available from most electonic supplies in up to 150foot reels. It's a pain to apply, but once on it's there for good;)
I don't recall which, if any Schematics or wiring diagrams I have for our systems. Most were designed & built BC (before computers)LOL!!!! so they'ed be hand drawings but I'll look and upload whatever I can find.
Hope this stuff helps.

Comp Range layout-13b-sm_Full view open_02-20-93.jpg


System-1 Main Tote-b1-sm_LtoRRack-1&2 50ft Cables_01-06.jpg


Rack System layout-a-sm_375 scale Fullview_04-17-82.jpg
 
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JAL3

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OH Man:
Narhams Sport launch set up typically consists of 2 6pad racks and up to 6 "Mid power" individual "Away pads.

We have 50, 60, 75-80+ flyers at our sport launches depending on the weather and time of year, averaging somewhere around 50 on any given 3rd saturday of the month:)
Throw in a Cub Scout Pack or two, Tarc teams and/or add Competition flying we sometimes have Lines at check in.
I loan the club occasionally my 18-24 pad Satellite pad system for our large regionals tho its controller has been down for repair/rebuilding the last few years. And that is sometimes completely full with people waiting.

Has very little to do with one-upmanship or pad-flation. Rather everything to do with getting as many flights in the air in a give day, making as many modelers happy as possible.

JAL3:
here a couple pics of two typical launch range set-up models, there models were built for display at airshows and demo's to give folks an idea of what a launch range set-up could look like.

George brings up several very good options on multi pin connectors, Our club as used amphenol connectors for as long as it's been in existance, these connectors #3102A-18-1s Cable connector and 3102A-18-1P Panel mount Plugs are expensive as connectors go but I have to admit. I've only had to change a single cable end once in 20some years due to breakage.... they are some TOUGH connectors. Our Racks and other launchers have over the last 10-15 year switched from phone plugs on microclip leads to a 4 pin Mike connector from radio shack or other on-line electornic suppliers currently the numbers are 274-001 and 274-002 cable end and panel mt plug repectively. In the past year or so they also have increased in price a goodd bit but I fine them much more reliable and rugged over phono plugs or A/C plugs and recepticales.

We've found over time Rack and launcher cables need to "exceed" the minimums and have set up all our launcher systems with minimum 50 foot cables generally these are 16ga stranded copper, we have also noted for safety reasons, extension leads and other cables are much more visible on the ground if make with White 16/2 standed copper lamp cord.
Most of my personal selfcontained launchers, relay launchers and other systems use minimum of 50' 16ga wire leads which seems fit the bill very nicely. Bundling loose conductors into a trunk cable can be done with spiral warp available from most electonic supplies in up to 150foot reels. It's a pain to apply, but once on it's there for good;)
I don't recall which if any Schematics or wiring diagrams I have for our systems. most were don't BC (before computers)LOL!!!! so they'ed be hand drawings but I'll look and upload whatever I can find.
Hope this stuff helps.

It's all appreciated. I'm still trying to decide what I want to put together.

What I'm shooting for is:

1: rack (4) of MMX
2: rack (4) of 1/8" rods
3: rack (4) of 1/8" rods
4: rack (4) of 3/16" rods
5: rack (4) of 1/4" rods
6: connections for individual (8) pads
7: connections for relay to HPR clusters

That's the idea, anyway.

Some hardware (chassis, switch covers) is bought and committed. Much more is in flux as I try to make up my mind and decide what will work best.

Meanwhile, the current club rack is starting to get a little wobbly and cantakerous and has moved up on the priority list.
 

MarkII

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OH Man:
Narhams Sport launch set up typically consists of 2 6pad racks and up to 6 "Mid power" individual "Away pads.

We have 50, 60, 75-80+ flyers at our sport launches depending on the weather and time of year, averaging somewhere around 50 on any given 3rd saturday of the month:)
Sorry - I had no idea. No wonder you have such an elaborate launch control set-up! :cool:

I'm just having trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of having 50 or 60 rocket fliers show up at a single club launch! :eek: That's like a 3 or 4-year total for my club. Given your location, though, I would imagine that you are able to draw in people from up and down the Eastern seaboard in order to get that kind of attendance.

Just for comparison, we usually set up 2 pads at a typical launch - 3 pads for a particularly well-attended one. I think our club has a total of 6 regular pads in its inventory, plus a tower. We also have a glider launch pad, and someday I'm sure someone is going to actually use it. We also supposedly have a rail somewhere, too, but I don't think that it has been used in years. We usually get 5 to 8 rocket fliers coming to our club launches, and we typically get in 3 to 5 launches per year.

MarkII
 
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Micromeister

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Mark-II:
I recently joined a second club, the Viking Rocket society, near Richmond, VA.
looking at some of the pics from earlier launches they have even larger groups flying during the summer months, they've had to resort to putting out individual tripod estes porta pads to handle the overflow.

Location I think has a lot to do with it, Narhams pulls in a bunch of LPR, MPR sport flyer from all over the Tri-state area MD, Northern VA & Del with DC thrown in.

Viking cover more ground and lots of youth groups, in the southen VA and south flyers.
It's sometimes a Kick and great fun to have such crowds but I sometimes urn for the good old days of 4-8 of us out for a days flying;)

JAL3:
Your rod selection shouldn't necessarily dictate the number or size of your rack & launcher systems. Most any rack system can be set up with alt-azmuth rod holding heads that will handle 1/8", 3/16" and even 1/4" rods easily, changing one for another with the turn of a thumb screw:) My systems also have Slip-over MMX z-bend .049" micro launch rod holders the fit neatly over a standard 1/8" rod without interfering with the use of the 1/8" rod as well.
Mid and High power pads should always be handled as individual Pads anyway with longer or extended leads. We handle is with a splitter box that converts one of our 3 rack 50foot cables into 6 individual pad the can be extended another 50-100feet depending on what power level is needed. I've also set up a 40amp power relay that can be used at anyone of these stations. just mix and match launch/cable connection to the use needed.
Really it's all in how you set up your launch controller that is most important to what and how many launchers your system can handle.

System-1 Main Tote-c1c_2pic Controller Pg_01-06.jpg


cable_01-06.jpg


System-1 Main Tote-e2f_4pic AwayPad leads & stakes Pg_01-06.jpg
 

Micromeister

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Heres a little better look at the alt-atz heads we use on our racks.

these are all made with 1/2" x 1" alum bar and used 3/16" stainless rod attachments. They could just as easly been made from other materials. one of your other club rack systems use all wooden rod holding blocks.

They are designed to limit the angle to 30° from vertical.
our system use 1/8" and 3/16" stainless steel launch rods and 4" x 4" x 16ga Stainless steel flat blast deflectors.

System-1 Rack-2e1-sm_Rod Head_wing nut angle side_05-05-04.jpg


System-1 Rack-2e2-sm_Rod Head_Rod Holes end view_05-05-04.jpg


System-1 Rack-2e4-sm_Rod Head_30°stop .375in Wnut_05-05-04.jpg
 

MarkII

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And I long for the day when I will see two dozen people show up for a launch with rockets to fly. Location is everything, indeed. The Adirondack Region is larger than either the states of Massachusetts, Vermont or New Jersey, with a year-round population of approx. 130,000. AFAIK, the region contains exactly one ( :rolleyes: ) NAR member living within its boundaries. But that's enough OT discussion; back to the thread.

Great thread, BTW - packed with lots of good information. :) I'm learning a lot. Some or all of this could be turned into a sticky thread.

Mark \\.
 
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MarkII

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OK, a few (more or less) on-topic questions:

1a. In the NARHAMS Micromaxx rack, can the launch angle of the individual pads be adjusted, or does that require adjusting the angle of the entire beam? (And do you even need to adjust the MMX launch angle of individual pads on the MMX rack very often - as opposed to angling the entire rack or beam?)

1b. NARHAMS: Also, in the squeeze-type rod holder, is it necessary to loosen the nut that clamps the rod in order to adjust the launch angle, or can the angle be adjusted without unclamping the rod?

2. For anyone, now: In multiple rack and pad set-ups, including those that include high power pads, are all pads powered by the same power supply (battery or bank of batteries) or is there a separate power source for, say, the HPR pads?

3. Power supply: do any clubs use one battery, 2 batteries or do you have a small bank of them? What types of batteries do different clubs use?

TIA.

MarkII
 
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georgegassaway

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Your rod selection shouldn't necessarily dictate the number or size of your rack & launcher systems. Most any rack system can be set up with alt-azmuth rod holding heads that will handle 1/8", 3/16" and even 1/4" rods easily, changing one for another with the turn of a thumb screw
Sort of what we also do for the BRB racks. They are set up so that pads 1-4 can use 1/8&#8221; to 3/16&#8221; rods, and pad 5 can use 1/8&#8221; to a 1/4&#8221; rod. We usually set up with four 1/8&#8221; rods and a 3/16&#8221;, occasionally going to 1/4&#8221; if needed.

Or sometimes we use the racks with all 1/8&#8221; rods when we are doing a non-club launch, for a school or scouts, or something like that where kids have built their own models and want to fly them. Like all Chrome-Domes, and so forth.

Another factor for our club launches, is that we also allow other fliers to use their own launch systems and pads. So this is why we do not have a huge demand for 3/16&#8221; or 1/4&#8221; rods, as usually the people who need larger rods tend to have their own launch equipment with those rods.

So, in a sense we are flying a combined misfire alley and centralized launch control at the club launches. Sometimes it is more like we are doing mostly misfire alley with lots of individual pads and controls, with the club racks as secondary launchers. And sometimes the club racks are used for most of the flying, it really depends a lot on the turnout and who is among the turnout (lots of regular fliers with their own pads, or lots of newbies or scouts or such with few or no pads). This is also why sometimes in photos only one rack may be seen to be set up, since either there are not a whole lot of fliers that day, or a lot of those attending do have their own pads, so one rack is enough. When we are doing school or scout launches, we almost always do both racks so we can fly ten fast and load ten fast (the rack cables are long enough we could load 5 and fly 5, but usually in those situations it is more practical to load 10 and fly 10. At club launches with a lot of fliers we will load 5 and fly 5 with regarding the racks, or load both racks when HPR flying is armed).

Oh, yeah, that was another thing was a consideration about the club equipment. Not just club launches. But when we do go to a school or other places to fly, whether models that students and scouts built, or do to a demo with our own models. The heavier the launch gear is, and the more of it that exists, the more of a hassle it is to carry it to the launch location. Sometimes to places you cannot drive that close to, having to carry it a long distance. So again it is nice to have the two racks in one box that is easily carried. The launch panel , deflectors, HPR Junction box and HPR launch leads all fit inside of a file folder box. The launch cables go on two reels, one reel for the two rack cables, and one reel for the HPR cable. Then the 12V car battery.

Oh, also a compact portable PA system we usually use. It can run on 120V, or internal batteries (8 D Cells), but we run it off a 12V Gel Cell (indeed the #1 criteria was to be able to run on 12V, previously someone had donated to the club big PA that needed 120v, and that was just not practical). Link to the compact portable PA (by Nady) here:

https://www.dak.com/reviews/3010sto...ch&Srh=wa120&gclid=CJ6468Xz3JgCFQpgswodmQ9ncw

We have it set up with a patch cable to input the earphone jack of an FRS radio to the AUX input, so we can use any FRS radio with that PA (we have the FRS radios set with both channel and privacy code and have not yet had anyone outside of the launch accidentally talk on it). It is not &#8220;hear and understand it at 1000 feet&#8221; loud, but is plenty good for our needs, and the needs of school and scout type launches. It costs around $100. Patch cord, 12V cord, and FRS radios not included (actually it does come with a wireless microphone, but we like using the FRS radios since more than one person can use them, especially useful for the misfire alley style).

- George Gassaway
 
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Micromeister

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One of the items I hadn't addressed earlier was communictations,
Each of Narhams 3 different Club launch systems has it's own 12v PA and speakers. We've discovered with that many flyer and additional non-flying spectators it's absolutely essential that everyone on the field Hear and Know what is going on.

I own my own PA and speakers used with the Satelite system as well as the Micro 6 pad rack.
A PA is just the best way to get everyone at your demo or public launches to be aware of what's about to fly.

Mark:
Narhams doesn't own the Micro Maxx rack, thats another of my personal pieces of Launch equipment. it's mounted on a tilting HD camercorder tripod, I've discovered over time if your gonna tilt one ya might as will tilt them all wiht micros, and this 36" rack make it easy to do as a unit. The individual pads do not have seperate alt-atz adjustments.

System 4's wooden rack has been taken out of active service for awhile needing some work in the very old controller.
the squeeze type rod holder is adjustable without loosening the rod and they still work very well about a 1/4turn of the wing nut allows up-down swivel adjustment without really releasing the rod.

Powers supplies:
Our club uses two HD wet cell RV type batteries on system-1 or two or more HD Gel-Cells. one for the PA the other handles all the pads.

We also use 26amp/hr Gel-Cells at our away pad relays.
 

cwbullet

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Those are nice pads. I have thought about upgrading our clubs pads. I like the build in wiring and continuity checker.
 

JPVegh

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It's all appreciated. I'm still trying to decide what I want to put together.

What I'm shooting for is:

1: rack (4) of MMX
2: rack (4) of 1/8" rods
3: rack (4) of 1/8" rods
4: rack (4) of 3/16" rods
5: rack (4) of 1/4" rods
6: connections for individual (8) pads
7: connections for relay to HPR clusters

That's the idea, anyway.

Some hardware (chassis, switch covers) is bought and committed. Much more is in flux as I try to make up my mind and decide what will work best.

Meanwhile, the current club rack is starting to get a little wobbly and cantakerous and has moved up on the priority list.
Gee John, I think we're gonna need a bigger hat!
 

bobkrech

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One common feature that I notice about all of the photos that have been posted is something that could be called "pad inflation." Or perhaps it could be "pad one-upmanship." In some photos, it looks like pads have sprouted up in the fields like dandelions. Is there some reason why any club would need to set up so many pads for a launch? I count 10, even 15 pads in some of the pictures that have been posted in this thread. Do any of your clubs actually use more than a handful of them during the entire launch? Why do you set so many up? :confused:

Mark \\.
We consider anything less than 300 launches a slow day.

At CMASS we don't use racks. Instead we have a circle of 11 low and mid-power "Spad pads", and 3 high power pads located between 150' and 250' out from the circle. This allows us to constantly cycle through the pads without having to wait for racked to be loaded.

By spacing the low/mid-power pads 15 feet apart on a 30' radius, you can fire low-power (micromax to D) rockets on adjacent pads without waiting for the next pad to be loaded because you have the required 15' separation distance. For midpower rockets (E-G), you have to check to make sure the adjacent pads are clear, but you can always fire the other low power pads until the required 30' separation is available.

All pads can accommodate 1/8", 3/16" or 1/4" rods, but the default setup is pads 1-4 and 9-11 with 1/8" rods, pads 5 & 8 with 3/16" rods and pads 6 & 7 with have 1/4" rods, and pads 5-8 have relay boxes for clusters.

The high power pads are separated from the low power pads by more the required 100' or 200' separation distances for L1 and J rockets so they can be loaded and launched independently when they are ready.

The range setup works smoothly for launch rates to 100 per hour.

Bob
 
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