Estes Altimeter found

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Kirk G, Mar 18, 2016.

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  1. Mar 18, 2016 #1

    Kirk G

    Kirk G

    Kirk G

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    OK, so I found a small nook in a flea market set up with all kinds of Estes Rocketry "stuff" including RTF, E2X, and Skill Level 1-5 rockets, motors, launch pad, controller, shock cords and more. It was un-manned (meaning, no attendant clerk, but a generic check out register at the front of the flea market building) so I couldn't ask any questions.

    One of the things that caught my eye, besides packs of D12-0 boosters and a package of igniters,was an Estes Altimeter. I've never had one so close before my eyes. It looks to be a digital read-out, and is run by a small battery which is packaged on the back-side of the blister pack.

    Does anyone have any experience with these things? How reliable are they?

    For $40, I am concerned that I might loose it in a rocket. How good a price is that, anyway?

    Should I consider this for low power, or my Comanche-3 launch?

    Advice please...
     
  2. Mar 18, 2016 #2

    McKailas Dad

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    Assuming you're still at the flea market, I'm guessing you want a fast answer. I've never owned one, but reading the reviews here, they're not as accurate or reliable as say the Jolly Logic altimeters. I think you can get the AltimeterOne for under $40, brand new.
     
  3. Mar 18, 2016 #3

    rharshberger

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    For less money and better performance get a Stratologger Firefly, they dont have a lcd screen, but the have a much better reputation. The Estes altimeters can be flaky if not used just right.
     
  4. Mar 18, 2016 #4

    BEC

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    $40 is not a flea market price for an Estes Altimeter - it's full retail. And that little battery is a really odd one that is hard to find a replacement for at any reasonable price.

    I've flown lots of altimeters singly and in groups to compare performance. I disagree with Jeff that the Estes Altimeter is really less accurate than others. However it IS less likely to actually give you a reading at all (the "flakiness" that Rich alludes to).

    I concur with both of their recommendations.

    If you want/need something to fly in a model without a payload section and/or you want the digital readout (and storage of multiple flights' data aboard the device), a Jolly Logic AltimeterOne is a more reliable, lighter, US-made altimeter which has a rechargeable lithium polymer cell inside. No replacements required over time. They are a little more expensive ($49.95) but much more likely to give you good data. A number of rocketry vendors sell it, jonrocket.com or Apogee for example.

    If you do have a payload section or you want to do a little improvising to protect the unit - and you don't mind only one flights' worth of data being retained by the device, the PerfectFlite Firefly is the best bang for the buck. It's tiny, very light, and inexpensive ($25 or so). It runs on a single replaceable lithium coin cell - which is MUCH easier to find than the 6V battery the Estes Altimeter uses. There's no digital readout - you have to count flashes of an LED to get the data. They can be had direct from the maker's online store (perfectflitedirect.com) or Apogee. There may be others that have it as well.



    ("Stratologger" is another product by PerfectFlite)
     
  5. Mar 18, 2016 #5

    rharshberger

    rharshberger

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    Err, yep Perfectflite is the maker of the Firefly, oops!
     
  6. Mar 18, 2016 #6

    michigander

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    flea market $20.00 max and I would leave there at that , as others have posted put the $40.00 into jolly logic there is a huge difference
     
  7. Mar 18, 2016 #7

    Kirk G

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    Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear on this.

    The flea market has a permanent set-up. All the booths inside are permanent vendor displays. The guy and the device aren't going anywhere.

    The Estes Altimeter appears to be brand new, in the package and priced at $39.95 for full retail.

    The desire on my part is simply that I've never had one before, but before I shell out $40 (a substantial outlay for me these days), I wanted to know what I could do with it. I have no program or APP to plug the data into, so I suppose I could just count the flashes and remember what heights each flight reached.

    But I hear your recommendations to spend $50 for a "Stratologger"...
     
  8. Mar 18, 2016 #8

    mbecks

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    I have one and have yet to get an accurate reading with it. Possibly I'm doing something wrong so I will keep trying.
     
  9. Mar 18, 2016 #9

    BEC

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    No computer required for any of the recommended devices (or the Estes one).

    Spend the extra ten on on AltimeterOne, or spend the same fifty bucks and get two FireFlys from perfectflitedirect.com. They appear to be in stock at the moment (which is not always the case).


    mbecks - BIG static vents. The Estes Altimeter seems to need to see a very quick elevation change to "detect" a launch. Sadly there is no one at Estes (or at the Chinese supplier anymore) who knows what the launch detect criteria are, so no one knows how to fix it..... outsourcing at its finest.
     
  10. Mar 19, 2016 #10

    Kirk G

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    Is the FireFly or the AltimeterOne or the Stratologer an electronics kit, that you have to assemble?
     
  11. Mar 20, 2016 #11

    rharshberger

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    No, the only kits currently out there are the Eggtimer products iirc. The Jolly Logic Altimeter One (they also have a Two and Three) is similar in format to the Estes Altimeter only leaps and bounds better. The Perfectflite Firefly is a max altitude and speed only small altimeter, and the Perfectflight Stratologger is a multi-flight data logging dual deployment altimeter.

    PerfectFlites website: http://www.perfectflite.com/altimeters.html

    Jolly Logics website: https://www.jollylogic.com/
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  12. Mar 20, 2016 #12

    mikec

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    The Estes altimeter is $28.39 at Hobbylinc. I've had a couple and they worked fine, but I've heard of others having problems, so poor QC may be an issue.

    The Firefly is a fine device, I'm sure, but not as robust as the Estes, which you can just attach to a shock cord.
     

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