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club multiple launcher - useful features?

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surdumil

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Last year, I successfully helped to form a local rocketry club. We've been fortunate that a local hobby shop has been helping us (and several other organizations in town) by lending us their multiple launcher for our launches.

From the start, we've wanted to build our own launch controller. I like high-reliability, high-safety, and simplicity. Therefore, I like the notions of manual operation, mechanical switches, direct connections, and both visual and audio continuity and status indicators, simple circuitry, and low cost.

Another club founder likes high automation, high gadgetry, and impressive functionality. He likes the ideas of automatic countdown, lots of LEDs, programmable sequencing, and complex circuitry, and expect high cost.

So, here's the big question to those of you who have experience with club launches and multiple launchers:

- What multiple launch controller features do you find are absolutely essential.
- What features do you find that you would rather not be without?
- What features are practically useful?
- What features just aren't worthwhile?
- What features should be avoided at all costs?

Here are a few features that I'm talking about
- automated countdown (with or without beeps or voice synthesis)
- relay outputs to the ignitor leads
- FET outputs to the ignitor leads
- continuity indication
- safety key
- ignitor lead resistance measurement
- automatic launch sequencing
- audible or visual reminder to remove the safety key
- keyswitch safety key
- phono plug safety key
- hunk of metal between two plates safety key
- small size
- light weight
- military-style connectors to ignitor leads
- directly wired-in ignitor leads
- connector block for ignitor leads
- connections to local mini weather-station
 

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