Its finished!

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Sep 23, 2004
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Second launch pad switch soldered up and tested, made up some labels, and just waiting to get the last set of binding posts. Just need to field test.

For my first real electronics project I'm real happy with the way it turned out. As mentioned before, at some point, I'll change out the keyswitch and get a heavier duty momentaty launch switch, but for now I'll deal with what I have.
2 things:

1) post parts list (not including solder :D )

2) try out and let us know how it goes...beta testing

I have been following along, and it looks great! I have the exact same enclosure I would like to make a launch control from, and a smaller version I am concidering converting for maybe a hybrid fill station.
Yeah I will, I think I'll err on the side of caution and reverse the two:

Field test it first to make sure their are no glitches, then I'll post the parts list. Just have to carve out some time on a weekedn to do it.

I like it! Looks a bit like mine except that I only control two pads and I don't have a meter. I have learned a bit about soldering along the way. I still don't think my method of soldering resistors to stranded wire is the best, but it works. So far, I've tested it several times using several of the 50 or so extra Estes ignitors I have and it works great.

Question: What did you use to make the labels? I have seen the "label makers" but I really don't want to invest in one of those for this lone project. I also thought about using clear mailing labels and cutting them out. Any other ideas?

Mine was done with a label maker. I originally was considering making a template in a paint program and printing it out onto an adhesive clear decal type 'paper'. I had designed a logo for my imaginary company that would produce them, but decided against going through that goofy route. My wife however had gotten a label maker so figured what the heck. This took all of 5 minutes, and they look OK, plus if they get messed up, they're easy enough to remake.

I suspect that if it's going to 'fall down' anyplace it will probably we a skectchy solder joint somewhere, as that is not my strong suit. Hell, I didn't even know how to design a circuit a month ago, so I'm tickled that it works at all. Thanks for the comments, I appreciate the feedback.
Not going down the goofy route? What fun is that? I already had my "company" name picked out........Call me goofy! I've been called a lot worse!:)
OK OK...

Here it is.

Anyway, theres still room on the controller for it. :D
Lugnut are those, those fine looking water-proof boxes that most of us sent off for? I have two sitting her ready to be made into launch controlers. How did you find cutting the ali front plate?
Good Job!
Yeah they are. The aluminum was pretty soft so it wasn't to difficult to cut if you have a metal blade recip saw. Cutting around the mounting holes for the panel meter was the toughest part. I had to end up making it an octogon type opening, drilling a large hole near the line joins so I could reposition the saw blade for the next cut.

The key switch was a 3/4" hole, and I didnt have a 3/4" bit so there was quite a bit of filing involved on that one.

A quick word about setting up the cuts and drills. What I ended up doing was making a template in Microsoft Paint equal to the dimensions of the metal top plate, changed the units to inches so I could make sure everything was where I wanted it. Using the coordinates, I made sure all the holes were where they were supposed to be and lined up (made cross hairs in circles). Then I printed it out, taped it in place over the alum plate then hammered a steel centering punch through the paper onto the cross hairs of each hole before drilling. That simplified things a great deal and took all the guess work out of alignment.
Hey Lugnut, I like the logo. Looks real professional. Mine was/is going to be a little more "casual" looking. I only have a pencil sketch of it right now.

As for cutting the aluminum, I agree that it is pretty soft. I don't have a recip. saw, so I went the drill and dremel route to get the approximate sized and shaped holes. Then I switched to filing for the final touches. For the most part, the holes don't have to look that great as the edges are hidden by the switch/etc.

My opinion: Have some fun.....Stick the logo on. We're all kinda living part of a dream anyway. Might as well put the details in the dream too!
Field tested it today for the first time. About a half dozen launches, on two separate pads. The controller performed flawlessly. Ignition occured in about 1/4 to 1/2 second after hitting the loud button each and every time. I couldn't be happier with this it. :D

I'll try to get a parts list and a schematic together sometime and repost it here (parts list first).
For anyone interested, heres the template for the top panel I made in MS Paint. Print out, cut it down and tape to the face plate, and use a center punch to start your drill indentations
You made that template in MS Paint?!?!?!?

I tip my hat to you sir. It looks like an AutoCad drawing.
If a hammers the only tool in your box, sometimes you have to figure out how to make it work for the task at hand. :D
OK near as I can assure, here was the parts used (or equivilent)
PacTec PT-10 enclosure (these are the ones folks got for free from that other thread)

Panel Meter 0-15VDC RadioShack Catalog #: 22-410 (mine wasn't from RS, but this is almost identical)

Red LED RS Cat# 276-068A

2.2k Ohm resistor RS Cat#271-1325 (5 pack)

12 VDC Piezo Buzzer (5mA) RS Cat#273-060

SPST Momentary Pushbutton Switches (2 pack Red/Black) RS Cat# 275-609 (see notes on desirability to switch out to higher Amp rated switch, so far so good for me, no clusters or drag races yet)

Toggle Switch Assortment 3 pack (2 spst/1 dpdt) RS Cat#275-322 (I used the DPDT one on the battery test switch)

SPST Toggle Siwtch 2 pack RS Cat# 275-602 (need one more spst switch for third launch pad)

Insulated Binding Posts 5/16" mount RS Cat#274-662 (for power connection)

Insulated Binding Post with banana jacks 4 pack RS Cat 274-661 (you need a total of 3 'sets' of these, so either buy 2 packs or one single additional set)

Banana Plugs (red/black) RS Cat#274-721 (3 packs)

Micro 1 1/8" Smooth Clips 10 pack for ignitor connections

Also required is 90' of speaker wire (3 x30') for the controller to pad wire sets, plus another 6 feet of heavier guage wire and heavy duty clips for your battery to controller connection.
If anyone is going to build this and can't figure out the wiring from my pic, let me know and I'll try to work up a schematic for it.

I had a good time figuring out basic DC circuits in building it, which is just as much the reason for building it as having a nice oaunch controller. I'm glad I did it rather than buying an off the shelf one.

Next up, a 3 pad launch stand. Need to go find a Lowes for one of those aluminum saw horses.:D