Launch controllers

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rcode

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I currently use Estes beam controller but looking to launch a cluster of 3 "D" motors and was thinking of upgrading to the Estes "E-controller" . Is there any actual difference in power since they both use 4-AA batteries? This is my first cluster, and when I tried a test fire on three igniters, with my beam controller, they took a bit to light and I would hate for one to misfire. So basically, do I need to upgrade my launch controller and which suggestions can anybody give me?
 

AfterBurners

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I think there are better choices out there. I have the AT launch controller...works good. There's some assembly if you do decide to buy it.
 

Bat-mite

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No difference in power. All Estes motors A thru E use the same igniters. E-controller gives you 30' of cord and thicker insulation.

Consider the PSII controller.
 

RocketFeller

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I just bought two of the Estes PSII launch controllers ($23.59 at Belleville Hobby) and they seem to be a much better product than the Electron Beam controllers. They use six C batteries, have two switches, have an audible alarm, and can even be hooked up to a Lipo battery as an option.
 

Daddyisabar

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When flying clusters you need lots of juice. Never skimp on battery, controller, connectors or igniters. Two BP motors is fairly easy. Then going to three is a big step since they need to at the same time and a delayed start can be very bad depending on your build. Do not use slow burning Estes Starters.
 

Daddyisabar

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Daddyisabar

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Better yet, go to a club and use their system. Meet guys with clustering experience then go for 4-5-6-7-8. . .
 

qquake2k

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Why not make your own simple controller and use it with a 12v gel cell battery or car jump starter?
 

Micromeister

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Just so you know! Any of Estes hand held controllers can be fairly easily convered to an external 12Volt Battery drop with either a 12V bulb or LED w/ resisitor to handle 12volt continuity.

I've been converting Estes and Quest controllers for Decades, Once converted they can and do handle BP clusters up to 5- D12 motors using a 12V - 26amp Gel-Cell battery. 3- D12's easily with a cheap 12Volt - 7amp/hr Gel-Cell that usually sell for under 17.00 at most RC shops.

ElectronBeam 12V Conversion-pg-1_12-28-16.jpg


ElectronBeam 12V Conversion-pg-2_12-28-16.jpg


ElectronBeam 12V Conversion-pg-3_12-28-16.jpg


ElectronBeam 12V Conversion-pg-4_12-28-16.jpg


Quest Pistol Grip controller-d-sm_3pic page_10-04-08.JPG
 

sl98

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Just so you know! Any of Estes hand held controllers can be fairly easily convered to an external 12Volt Battery drop with either a 12V bulb or LED w/ resisitor to handle 12volt continuity.

I've been converting Estes and Quest controllers for Decades, Once converted they can and do handle BP clusters up to 5- D12 motors using a 12V - 26amp Gel-Cell battery. 3- D12's easily with a cheap 12Volt - 7amp/hr Gel-Cell that usually sell for under 17.00 at most RC shops.
+1 (although I haven't been doing this for decades). Works great.
 

Woody's Workshop

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I made my own from a 25' extension cord.
Small battery clips like jumper cables on one end, micro clips off a controller on the other.
Broke one wire 5' from the battery end and put in a door bell push button.
No key or light, just take off the Pos. battery clip after firing.
But I fly alone, so I can get away with stuff like that.
 

Micromeister

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I currently use Estes beam controller but looking to launch a cluster of 3 "D" motors and was thinking of upgrading to the Estes "E-controller" . Is there any actual difference in power since they both use 4-AA batteries? This is my first cluster, and when I tried a test fire on three igniters, with my beam controller, they took a bit to light and I would hate for one to misfire. So basically, do I need to upgrade my launch controller and which suggestions can anybody give me?
rcode:
In post #11 I showed how to convert your Estes Hand Held controller for use with any 12V external Battery. But neglected to add the "Range Box Relay" instructions for RELIABLE cluster ignitions. One can usually get away with a standard Controller with 30ft of 16/2 stranded copper lamp cord to light 2 and sometimes 3 motor cluster. That said the most reliable way to launch 2-12 BP motor clusters is with the Addition of a "RELAY Ignition system" added to your 12V controller.
A relay system moves the Battery from the controller side of the circuit to the Launcher Side, making the voltage/amprage delivery distance much shorter meaning All those amps hit the Igniters almost instantly. A relay also makes the controller a simple switch activating the relay coil. So the Hand Held continuity lamp is no longer needed as the continuity lamp will be at the launcher.
Been using Relay Ignition systems with all my 2-15motor clustered models for decades with near 100% ignition since the switch in the late 1970's. If memory serves I've had only 13 non-lit motors from more then 2300 clustered launches including 3 motors that were intentionally installed without igniters durning flight testing.
I believe strongly that Relay Ignition is not A way to reliably launch clustered model rocket, it is the ONLY reliable way to do so.
Hope this "range box relay" Plan help in your cluster launching moving forward.

Range Box Relay-e_3pic system view_09-16-05.jpg


View attachment RangeBox Relay-a2c_Rev Drawing & Wiring_01-31-96 Rev.06-23-10.pdf

View attachment Cluster Wiring Diagrams-2c_Dwg(Revised)_09-17-12.pdf
 
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