night launches

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rocketsonly

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Hello. I've been thinking about doing a night launch for a long time. What are the different methods of lighting up the rocket?

I've heard of using a BUNCH of LEDs poking through the body tube, but how about having them turned on after a rely is switched from a timer after burnout? I really want to see the flames by themselves at night :) Then a sudden ligh of LEDs after.
 

gerbs4me

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LED's are a good choice, you need a waiver as well if you didn't already know, don't forget launch pics:)
 

rstaff3

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Micromeister is an expert on this subject and will comment I'm sure. You should also check out the night_launch yahoo group.

High intensity LEDs are one of the best choices whether you design them in or buy a commercial light/strobe. Our club actually has a requirement that a motor over a B requires a high intensity LED source, vs. the dimmer options such as light sticks. There are some neat electo-luminescent panels available also. More expensive, but neat.
 

rocketsonly

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Originally posted by gerbs4me
LED's are a good choice, you need a waiver as well if you didn't already know, don't forget launch pics:)
No, I did not know a waiver is required. Where can I find one and who does it go through?

Thanks.
 

rocketsonly

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Originally posted by rstaff3
Micromeister is an expert on this subject and will comment I'm sure. You should also check out the night_launch yahoo group.

High intensity LEDs are one of the best choices whether you design them in or buy a commercial light/strobe. Our club actually has a requirement that a motor over a B requires a high intensity LED source, vs. the dimmer options such as light sticks. There are some neat electo-luminescent panels available also. More expensive, but neat.
Cool. I'll be sure to check out the night_launch yahoo group soon!
 
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Rocketsonly:
LED's and custom strobes are by far the Best source for after burnout Nite Illumination Tracking Equipments (N.I.T.E.) vehicle systems. Dick is correct about anything over B power needing something other then Cylume (Glo-Sticks) I have a few models that fly on B's that just can't be seen until they come down a good bit. If memory serves me our initial FAA required any model flying over 100 feet to have a light source of at least 2000mcd when viewed at 2000 feet. I think this is to give GA pilots enough time to steer around a floating model under chute.

All the needed forms for a Night Launch waiver are posted in the
files section of the Night launch yahoo group. At this moment a waiver IS required for ANY model regardless of weight or motor class to fly between the hours of sunset (when the sun disappears below the VISIBLE horizion) and Sunraise.
We're working with the FAA to extend our Daytime FAA exemption for models under 1lb and 4oz of propellant to Night launches but at the moment ANY and every cylume illuminated Micro-Maxx model flying 30 feet above the launcher, and every other size mod-Roc require a full waiver before after dusk flying is permitted.

You will be amazed at the amount of fire and smoke we don't see during normal launch times, don't worry at all about not being able to see the motor exhaust. You won't be able to see even the strongest Strobe over a C motor ignition at night;) Here's a 2 pic of a Warp-II uppper stange liftoff on a C6-3. This model has 2 12000mcd orange leds, one in the nose and one in the transition, 12 vary dim 6.5 mcd color leds inside the payload section insert with the 3V lithium coin cell and a 5000mce red led on the nosecone tip just for fun. Single or 2 staged you can't miss this model at liftoff:D
 
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Heres a bunch of simple LED plus payloads that can be flown in BT-20 size clear plastic payload sections. Most of the materials can be picked up at your local Radio Shack or ordered on line from several LED and component sources. www.surperbrightleds.com,. and www.lsdiodes.com both have super deals on very high mcd output leds at very reasonable prices. www.nightlaunch.com has some very nice electro-luminescent panels tho a bit heavy for Model rockets and require a 9v battery for power.
Hope this helps....Please get your waiver first.
 
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Or the very latest Nite launch Odd-Roc. " The Ol'e Bat & ball Scream".
The ball has a group of 4- 5000mcd Red Leds the light the ball up bright red, 3mm blue leds and cylume sticks give the transluscent blue polycarbonate fins a misty look after dark, unfortunately a chute problem caused sever damage that will keep this model from Night flying until next years scheduled club night launches.
 

rstaff3

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Like I said, micromeister is the nightmeister too ;)
 

rstaff3

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Yea I was so bummed I didn't stay. How the heck can you lose such a low flying bird within about 10-20 ft of the brush line :confused:

Anyway, a pic is linked in...
 

gerbs4me

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you may not need a waiver, I was told that if launching between sunset and sunrise, you need a waiver, sorry don't know how to get a waiver
 
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Gerbs:
All the forms needed are in the files section of the Night Launch Yahoo group. The process isnt' difficult but it is time consuming, I have not tried to get a waiver for an individual flyer, but have been involved with the process for our club since the very early 90's. You must file your paperwork with your regional FAA office. AT this moment as I mentioned before, NO model rocket may be flown between sunset and sunraise without a full waiver. We are working with the FAA to change this protion of FAR-101.1 to extend the 1 lb LOWt, 4oz of propellant Daytime exemption to night launch operations. This is a LONG process which i'm told may take as long as 4 or 5 years:( That ball is rolling and we'll see if FAA will go along with our reasoning. They are also following the on going NAR/BATF issue. I've been told it isn't helping our cause:( The long and short of it is for now...if you'd like to maybe have the opprotunity to legally fly "Model Rockets" at or near dark, we need to collectively fly within the rules NOW. That is to fly at sanctioned Night llaunches with full waivers. This might mean joining a MR club or going to another groups night launch. My contact in FAA has been very agreeable to the proposals made, helping with wording and taking the lead in presenting the extended exemption to the other agancies. only time will tell but I'm hopeful sometime in the near future we'll be able to fly Model (and Micro) Rockets after dark without the need for FAA oversight.
Until then even my Micro-Maxx NITE equipped models must be Waivered to fly after sunset:(
 

Karl

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I had my Electronic lesson today in school, and was messing around with ideas that I could use for night launch stuff . Next week , Ill get all my work done real fast & have a full lesson of playing with ideas that I coungerd up today. I plan on using a PP3 battery in the payload of a rocket with 4 LED's in line with each fin , so 16 in total . 8 green , 8 red. They will either sit in the payload or have them deploy like the parachute ( Or a Pratt Hobbies Micro Beacon for that matter). If they deploy with the parachute , I will use a small netting ' cage ' to hold everything together so nothing detaches during decent.

Another Idea was to have them deploy , but not attached to the booster of the rocket but to the payload , and for the small cage to have its on parachute/streamer. Using a small peice of Kevlar , I plan on the 'cage' to float about the whole rocket , maybe using a small peizo buzzer also.

Does a normal C or D motor have enough power to lift the weight of the rocket , motor & PP3 9v battery? Or do you have to use a cluster?
Karl
 
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Originally posted by Karl
I had my Electronic lesson today in school, and was messing around with ideas that I could use for night launch stuff . Next week , Ill get all my work done real fast & have a full lesson of playing with ideas that I coungerd up today. I plan on using a PP3 battery in the payload of a rocket with 4 LED's in line with each fin , so 16 in total . 8 green , 8 red. They will either sit in the payload or have them deploy like the parachute ( Or a Pratt Hobbies Micro Beacon for that matter). If they deploy with the parachute , I will use a small netting ' cage ' to hold everything together so nothing detaches during decent.

>>>>>Karl: you don't need that much power, especially for LEDs, depending on the color? all of my multi LED payloads run on a single volt lithium coin cell, one is powering 43 12,000 to 500mcd various color Leds in an Upscale 4 D12 clustered Nova Payloader.
I have a 24 led illuminated UFO powered by the same 3v lith. bat. I've been using the same batteries in several of my model for 3 or more years flights. Over the past 3 years I think I've converted every thing I have from 9v to AAA or N cells to all fly with the super light weight 3V lithium coin cells, they are simply the best power supply for LED illuminated Nite vehicles.

Another Idea was to have them deploy , but not attached to the booster of the rocket but to the payload , and for the small cage to have its on parachute/streamer. Using a small peice of Kevlar , I plan on the 'cage' to float about the whole rocket , maybe using a small peizo buzzer also.

>>>>Karl I can't stress this enough..Your model needs to have POSITIVE visual lighting for the entire flight. That means your payload or at least some of the LEDs MUST be mounted in such a way that they are visible during powered flght. Why you might ask... If your model suffers a deployment failure or strips the chute or snaps the shock cord ...you really want some light on the body so the folks can get out of the way. SATEFY FIRST especially at night! It's fine to ADD additional Up lights to illuminate the chute or stuff to dangle below the body but the main parts need to have good visible illumination for the entire flight. Building light weight units that can be lifted by B, C and D motors isn't difficult at all, you can even stage models and have positive illumination on each stage without resorting to the dreaded cylume (glo) sticks. I've posted ton's of pics of systems, payloads and model over the past year or so I'm sure if you do a search on Night flights you'll come up with lot of ideas.

I recently found a great LED supplier with Wonderful (Cheap) prices on HI-Output HI mcd LEDs. www.lsdiodes.com has 5 to 9k mcd red, green, orange, amber, UV, blue and white 5mm and 5mm led or as little as .45ea. they even have a tri color flashing 2 lead 5mm for 2.00 that has to be seen to be believed. most run in the 1.8 to 2.6volt range except the UV, blue and Whites which are usually 3volt. all work well at 20mA current, so the 3 volt lithiums have plenty of juice for the flights.
Hope this helps.
 

Karl

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Thanks for that Micro!

Do you use some sort of switch to turn the LED's on and off? Or do you simply just keep the negative connection attached to the - on the battery and the positive cable detached? So when you want them on , you just tape the positive cable onto the onto the battery?Im going to try and convert my Quest Big Rage into a model with LED's in ect.I made a small module last summer that once a switch was closed on the circuit bored , a red & green LED would flash in a sequence. I can't seem to find it though :(
Ahh Glow Sticks! I picked up a pack of the ' Earing ' Ones last month , them must be like 6mm in dia and 1" / 1cm long . I just need to find a MMX or 13mm rocket with a clear payload to fly them in!

Karl
 
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Karl:
A switch is another "weak link" in Hi-G flying circuits. They and your battery holders must be situated with care to prevent acceleration and/or decelleration from turning off your NITE system. As time has passed I've converted most power supplies to Coin cells in one of 3 styles coin cell holders. Allied Electronics is one of my favorite sources for these items. www.alliedelec.com will get you to their web site. They always shipped quickly and have what I've been looking for:D Here are some of the allied stock numbers on the 20mm cell I use in models BT-50 and up.
Best holder for surface mounting or suspension modes #839-1061 holds one cell (2016,2025 or 2032) while #839-1062 will hold 2 cells (6Volts) either are about 1.21ea. a little pricey but the HD holder spring and flush solder lugs make them worth the price.
the standard PC board holder #839-0103 will work fine you'll just have to nip off the pins after soldering..they'll run about .89ea. the other find is a Cheap-O holder #839-0113 compact Thru-Hole holder.. I recently orders a package but haven't recieved them yet. The package is 6.86, the page says per 100 but I think that's a misprint which should read as a pk/10. Still not a bad deal.
Batteries: Sayno was the least expensive
#774-0109 (CR2016) 80mAh, #774-0111 (CR2025) 160mAh, and 774-0113 (CR2032) 220mAh are all 20mm and .60 each. I've been very pleased with the 2032's life even being a tiny bit thicker (3.2mm).
One of the nice things about these holders is all you have to do is invert or remove the battery, I store them year to year this way. NO ill effects.
If your putting the battery in a difficult to access location, than a switch can be used I prefer to use a simple slide switch mounted horizontally to the vehicles flight path. Try to pick swithces with stiff sliding resistance. The ones that must be pushed in slightly to slide then lock back into the next position are best. Becuase we're running such low voltage and mA current I've used RS wire wrapping wire or smaller 30gage copper for the actual wiring to reduce unnecessary weight.
Pick your resistors to deliver the minimum voltage required @ 20mA to get the longest run times out of the batteries, this will reduce the mcd output somewhat but shouldn't hurt if your useing High output LED's to start with.
One more sorta switch idea for ya. a 0-80 brass screw can be used to hold a tiny 1/8" wide or less by whatever length is needed piece of brass flat stock to form a lock down "Contact Switch" on the side of a bodytube or nosecone. Simply coil a short section of circuit wire exiting the body or cone and CA in place as one point of contact. File off or sand the ca from the top of the wire so the brass strip make contact when swiveled into position and the screw snugged down. I've epoxied a 0-80 nut inside the tube or cone on several small to medium models then soldered the other lead to the nut completing the circuit.


If your looking for Glo-Sticks Or anything Glo related try www.glostickfactory.com You'll be amazed at the "Stuff" they have at pretty good prices;) also try to only use glo sitcks as "accents" or in models powered by B motors and below.
As for micro payloads I use a lot of Pratt 10.5mm styrene nose cones and McMasterCarr #2044T42 .40" ID - .456"OD clear polyethylene mailing tubes. I'm sure if you look around the house you can come up with some of this packaging material. The tube your X-Acto knife came in is this size;) This Micro Warp-II payload section is a piece of X-Acto knife tube with a Pratt cone:)
Hope this helps
 
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