# New to the site.

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#### TRip066

##### Member
TRF Supporter
Good evening all, I’m brand new to the forum. A lot of great information.
I do have a question of course. I remember growing up with my father, making and firing off rockets in San Diego. I took 20 years off, but I have recently started up again, after the passing of my father. I have 3 boys now and hope to pass on the hobby to them. After a dozen or so rockets made over the past 6 months. Ok I’ve decided to step up my game to the ESTES pro series 2 “doorknob”. A bit ambitious lol.
So I have the rocket, the F16-6 engines my question is do I need to order the Pro series 2 controller? Or is that a scheme to upgrade unnecessarily?
Thanks again.

Tom

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
Welcome back! You didn't tell us which controller setup you're currently using But if it's a standard 4xAA unit, if the cord is long enough for a safe distance you should be fine.

#### Antares JS

##### Well-Known Member
So I have the rocket, the F16-6 engines my question is do I need to order the Pro series 2 controller? Or is that a scheme to upgrade unnecessarily?
You may not necessarily need it if you already have a controller with 30' of cable, but the Pro Series II controller is not a "scheme." It's a really nice controller because it can deliver more power to your igniter, giving more reliable ignition, and also can light clusters. I just use it with 6 C batteries, but it also has a connector for a LiPo battery if you want to use one.

You may not need it right away, but if you are serious about the hobby and plan to fly a lot, I recommend getting it eventually.

#### Blast it Tom!

##### Well-Known Dweeb
TRF Supporter
Welcome! I'm sorry about you dad's passing; he'd so enjoy this! I don't know how old your 3 sons are (And I'm old enough to remember the TV show!), but because I have grandkids, I went ahead and made a battery box/launch controller station. It has a 12v lawn tractor battery in it, an ignition switch as a safety lockout/continuity/firing ready, a big, red LAUNCH! button, continuity check LED's for up to 3 motors, "Firing switch armed" LED, and a bunch of graphics all over it! Just one pic for now...

And here's my favorite launch picture - by this time my granddaughter was so taken it with it all that she's holding her hands pointed over over her head - she is a rocket!

I've only had two launches since starting up again last year, so I'm a BAR (Born-Again Rocketeer) as well. My oldest son (at right) made that launch pad some 30 years ago at least.

So again, welcome, enjoy the forum - there are a load of extremely capable and helpful rocketeers around here - one could say that the internet works well here!

#### K'Tesh

##### OpenRocket Chuck Norris
TRF Supporter
Looks like someone beat me to the answer... So, I'll say "Welcome!" and "Please share pics!"

Pointy Side Up!!!

#### samb

Good evening all, I’m brand new to the forum. A lot of great information.
I do have a question of course. I remember growing up with my father, making and firing off rockets in San Diego. I took 20 years off, but I have recently started up again, after the passing of my father. I have 3 boys now and hope to pass on the hobby to them. After a dozen or so rockets made over the past 6 months. Ok I’ve decided to step up my game to the ESTES pro series 2 “doorknob”. A bit ambitious lol.
So I have the rocket, the F16-6 engines my question is do I need to order the Pro series 2 controller? Or is that a scheme to upgrade unnecessarily?
Thanks again.

Tom
Welcome to the party Tom. The issue is with safe launching distances specified in the model rocket safety code : Model-Rocket-Safety-Code.pdf (nar.org)
Most (all ?) Estes starter sets give you the 15 ft controller which is the distance recommended for A-D power. The distance doubles at E impulse and higher. Really the only clue you get is in the Doorknob instructions that has a picture on the back page of a launcher set up and the 30 ft measurement labeled.

9720_Doorknob_8pg_Inst_2-20 (estesrockets.com)

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
So I have the rocket, the F16-6 engines my question is do I need to order the Pro series 2 controller?
The Estes "E" controller will give you the minimum requirements: 30 ft. of cable, 6 volts of power.
But for only slightly more the PS II controller will give you the required 30 ft., 9 volts of power and the option of hooking up an alternative power source like a 12 volt auto battery.
You will also need a robust launch pad for the heavier rockets.. One that can accomodate a 3/16" or 1/4" rod.
Of course if you're handy with tools and electrical you can fabricate your own controller and launch pad.
When (not if) you decide to move up to 29mm composite propellant motors then you might want a controller with a12 volt power source. Some igniters for composite motors require 12 volts to fire.
Have fun and welcome to the forum.

#### prfesser

A simple launch controller is pretty easy to build. Check out some of the links in this thread:

Instead of AA or D cells, a 12V gel-type cell from a big-box store (check in the lighting department) will last a lifetime of ignition. It isn't nearly as heavy as a car or tractor battery, it can power dozens of launches, and can be recharged. At the same store, 16-ga duplex ("lamp cord") wire is inexpensive and will have lower resistance---passes more current--- than the thin wire in some launch controllers.

A flea market that carries tools often carries packages of alligator clips as well.

Best -- Terry

#### Budro0

##### Well-Known Member
To the prfesser's point, I use one of these in my controller. And a slightly larger one (5ah) for my relay system. The first one fits in a 4x6" project box for my homemade controller - pretty small for 12v power imo

#### TRip066

##### Member
TRF Supporter
Welcome! I'm sorry about you dad's passing; he'd so enjoy this! I don't know how old your 3 sons are (And I'm old enough to remember the TV show!), but because I have grandkids, I went ahead and made a battery box/launch controller station. It has a 12v lawn tractor battery in it, an ignition switch as a safety lockout/continuity/firing ready, a big, red LAUNCH! button, continuity check LED's for up to 3 motors, "Firing switch armed" LED, and a bunch of graphics all over it! Just one pic for now...
View attachment 454404
And here's my favorite launch picture - by this time my granddaughter was so taken it with it all that she's holding her hands pointed over over her head - she is a rocket!
View attachment 454405

I've only had two launches since starting up again last year, so I'm a BAR (Born-Again Rocketeer) as well. My oldest son (at right) made that launch pad some 30 years ago at least.

So again, welcome, enjoy the forum - there are a load of extremely capable and helpful rocketeers around here - one could say that the internet works well here!
Thank you so much for your response. I love that controller. Very inventive. Great picture of your family. I have the Red Stone as well. Fun build.
My boys are 18,14, and 12. My youngest is the only one who is really into it. He loves it.
Thanks so much for all the info. I’ll post some pics for sure.

#### TRip066

##### Member
TRF Supporter
The Estes "E" controller will give you the minimum requirements: 30 ft. of cable, 6 volts of power.
But for only slightly more the PS II controller will give you the required 30 ft., 9 volts of power and the option of hooking up an alternative power source like a 12 volt auto battery.
You will also need a robust launch pad for the heavier rockets.. One that can accomodate a 3/16" or 1/4" rod.
Of course if you're handy with tools and electrical you can fabricate your own controller and launch pad.
When (not if) you decide to move up to 29mm composite propellant motors then you might want a controller with a12 volt power source. Some igniters for composite motors require 12 volts to fire.
Have fun and welcome to the forum.
Thank you so much for the info.

#### boatgeek

##### Well-Known Member
If you build the Doorknob, consider getting a couple of single use composite motors. The F42 (blue flame) and F27 (red flame) from Aerotech are great candidates. The noise and flame might bring your 18yo and 14yo into the fold.

#### TRip066

##### Member
TRF Supporter
If you build the Doorknob, consider getting a couple of single use composite motors. The F42 (blue flame) and F27 (red flame) from Aerotech are great candidates. The noise and flame might bring your 18yo and 14yo into the fold.
awesome. I will. I like the F42 option. Thank you. Yeah I want them to have interest without forcing them.
I appreciate it.
I’ll post picks

#### TRip066

##### Member
TRF Supporter
awesome. I will. I like the F42 option. Thank you. Yeah I want them to have interest without forcing them.
I appreciate it.
I’ll post picks
which one do you think is best?

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#### boatgeek

##### Well-Known Member
which one do you think is best?
I haven't flown a Doorknob, but I'd guess the 4 second delay. You might want to enter the specs in Thrustcurve for a quick check. Lots of people use OpenRocket for simulations along the same line, but it takes a little more effort to build a model. There are probably lots of people on the Mid Power forum who can point you to the right delay as well.

#### TRip066

##### Member
TRF Supporter
Welcome back! You didn't tell us which controller setup you're currently using But if it's a standard 4xAA unit, if the cord is long enough for a safe distance you should be fine.
Im using the "run of the mill" red estes controller.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
Im using the "run of the mill" red estes controller.
Probably want the longer leads then as others have mentioned above.

#### messedupryan

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
but it also has a connector for a LiPo battery if you want to use one.
wow... TIL

That is tucked in there rather nicely.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
The Estes PSII controller is very nice and versatile for the price. It comes with 30' of wire, dual alligator clips, 6C batteries natively or a JST connector for hooking up a LiPo (or other battery type.)

My complaints with it are:
• It's kind of an ugly chunk of gray plastic
• I don't like that the battery compartment screws screw into plastic posts.
But overall, for 30-ish dollars on sale, it does what most people would need.

#### caveduck

##### semi old rocketeer
Hi Tom and welcome back to that chat forum with a rocket problem! You didn't say if you were still in San Diego, but if so, it would be great to see you at our local launches. Right now we can only operate out at the Holtville Airport high power site, but we're hoping that the city will let us start flying LPR at Fiesta Island again sometime this summer.

Anyway, no matter where you are, happy flying!

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
awesome. I will. I like the F42 option. Thank you. Yeah I want them to have interest without forcing them.
I appreciate it.
I’ll post picks
B
Im using the "run of the mill" red estes controller.
I don't think it will delivered enough AMPs for an Composite motor, You need PS II, Aerotech or any other controller that can accommodate a larger battery. APCP motors need more power than black powder motors tom ignite..

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
Skimping on controller battery power is a pointless economization. If you're going to be flying composites, get a better controller.

#### dhbarr

##### Amateur Professional
I don't think it will delivered enough AMPs for an Composite motor, You need PS II, Aerotech or any other controller that can accommodate a larger battery. APCP motors need more power than black powder motors tom ignite..
Skimping on controller battery power is a pointless economization. If you're going to be flying composites, get a better controller.
While I don't disagree that a gruntier controller could be an upgrade, standard Estes controllers with 4x good fresh AA's will launch, e.g. 29/40-120 with ease. You can always slot 14500's if you want to crank it way up; or glom onto any reasonably healthy external 12v battery with a short patch.

#### kuririn

##### BARGeezer
TRF Supporter
While I don't disagree that a gruntier controller could be an upgrade, standard Estes controllers with 4x good fresh AA's will launch, e.g. 29/40-120 with ease. You can always slot 14500's if you want to crank it way up; or glom onto any reasonably healthy external 12v battery with a short patch.
Depends on the igniter also. Some of the copperheads are still around and they require 12 volts to fire.
Also you would have to Macgyver an external lead to the cheapo Estes controllers to hook up an external battery.
Easy for some people, not so much for others.

#### neil_w

##### Yum yum rockety goodness
TRF Supporter
While I don't disagree that a gruntier controller could be an upgrade, standard Estes controllers with 4x good fresh AA's will launch, e.g. 29/40-120 with ease. You can always slot 14500's if you want to crank it way up; or glom onto any reasonably healthy external 12v battery with a short patch.
Well it's also nice to have the 30' heavier gauge wire included as well. As Kuririn notes above, you can always Macgyver things to work, but a $30 one-time investment seems worthwhile if you're going to be firing$20 motors with any regularity.

I'm still intrigued by the idea of the 9V Lithium rechargeables. I don't know how many launches one of them could handle in one session, but it'd be super easy to have a few of them charged and ready to go for a launch. I'm almost tempted to try wiring an adapter for my PSII controller just to test. But then, I almost never launch on my own anyway; my PSII controller sits largely unused.

##### I don't do spirals
TRF Supporter
Launch controller in a bag - 12V motorcycle battery lights ANYTHING

#### jrap330

TRF Supporter

##### I don't do spirals
TRF Supporter
Tractor/Mower Battery? Looks like 14 gauge wiring?? No safety key? Ingenious and very portable
It's kind of a "reverse safety key" if you will. Red light on bag is also a siren - if there is any power anywhere, light is flashing and it is screaming a beeper out at you. You know to turn everything off before hooking up, there is no question.

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
While I don't disagree that a gruntier controller could be an upgrade, standard Estes controllers with 4x good fresh AA's will launch, e.g. 29/40-120 with ease. You can always slot 14500's if you want to crank it way up; or glom onto any reasonably healthy external 12v battery with a short patch.
Have you ignited an APCP with 4 Sam's. I always heard you could not.

#### jrap330

##### Retired Engineer, NAR # 76940
TRF Supporter
Have you ignited an APCP with 4 Sam's. I always heard you could not.
4 AA s batteries, damn spell check.