Tracking Powder

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rabidsheeep

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Not sure if this is the right place for it...

Ive heard of people using tracking powder for higher flights, and im just wondering what the stuff is, and where i can get some... Is it expensive?

thanks

--sheeepy
 
I use chalk line chalk. It comes in a container like a ketchup (or is it catsup) squeeze dispencer.

It comes in blue, red and for even more money they have a new flourescent orange!

Get it at the hardware, Lowe's, Home Depot, in the tools/measuring department.

It's messy stuff, just remember to tape the cap on the container when you leave it in your range box...would not be pretty if it spilled in there!

sandman:D
 
Make a paper cup out of some Estes recovery wadding, stuff it into the end of the body tube then fill it up with powder and but onther piece of wadding on top.

I put the chute on top of the powder but I guess it doesn't really matter.

sandman
 
So does it really help that much? I've never really had much trouble seeing the white smoke, but I've also never shot anything above about 1500 feet.
 
It's gotta be better than nothing...I've lost sight of my Weasel and Arreaux on G35's before ejection and was lucky to find them. It would've been nice to have a better visual cue when deployment is close to 3000'. Once I've got eyeballs on it, things usually turn out okay.
 
I used it a few times. You do need a good amount, at least I did. Between the mess in and outside of the rocket, I gave it up and squinted more.

I think everybody should try it at least once.
 
Tracking powders are a very interesting subject, One color doesn't fit all sky conditions. I think one of the A divisoners did a Naram R&D report on Sky contidtions/ color a couple years ago.

In any color the pigment DOES pass light allowing the Color to be seen below. Chalk line chalk is a good source, comes in blue, red, and flourescent orange. Dry pentra color is also a good "pigment" source.
Over the years I've learned one can really reduce the added weight of the Tracking powder by cutting the Chalk or Tempra color 50/50 with Talc Baby powder. This cuts the weight by over 1/3rd without effecting the cloud density. very good for those super light weight altitude. models. Here's a pic of some the the colors and bottles used to Squirt it into ON TOP OF your recovery system. PS All tracking powderes make a mess inside the model but wipe off cleanly from a Glossy painted exterior body. Most Will stain cloths:(
Hope this helps.
 
I used about 1/2 of a cup of tracking powder in a minimum diameter rocket I flew on a G25-15 SU motor (I needed the extra weight anyway).

Cool flight with over a 7 sec burn!

It simmed to about 6,300' and all I saw was a teeny tiny itsy bitsy red cloud waaaaaaay up in the sky...

That's ok...the motor cost me $16 and the rocket was less than $1 to build.

No...never saw it again even with a 10' long streamer.

sandman
 
When we were kids, we used tempera paint dry powder for tracking. We weren't rich, it was free, it worked.

I used to load it over the wadding, to help protect the chute. Sandman's paper cup suggestion may help get it out of the rocket. As I remember, if you use it, you will have a mess no matter what you do.

The color we used was best described as black. We were given a couple bottles of old left-over paint powder that a teacher didn't want anymore, and we mixed it all together and then divvied it up. It came out a pretty dark color, and showed up fairly well in the sky.

Chalk-line chalk is a very good suggestion, it is much more readily available (at least, to me) these days, and it doesn't cost that much.

Micromister's suggestion to reduce the weight is a very good one, I wish I had know about it way back when. We just used about an ounce of powder-----it was a gamble on going 'un-tracked' (and scoreless) on a slightly higher flight, or going a bit lower and having a much better chance at a successful track. Who knows what's best? I sure don't
 
I also just use cheap Talk from the corner shop! Works perfect with blue skys! And im sure it helps the 'chute not to melt aswell! I use a small RC Car fuel bottle just like this one.
It can get messy but instead of having a 'rotten egg' smell inside your rockets , it leaves a more of a sweet smell lol!

EDIT:
Just a small idea, for hollow nosecones , with the little hole on top of the shoulder , pour some in that , so when its coming down , maybe it will come out? And would concrete powder work ? My dad has around 10 bags of this stuff lying around , despite it being grey.
 
I've used it in larger, high power rockets when ground tracking was used to determine altitude in the 1990-1992 time frame. 1 lb. is clearly visible at 20,000 feet and 5 lb took 30 minutes to disperse at 25,000 feet. Both were red chalk just dumped into the rocket between the wadding and chute. 5 lb. is just under 1/2 gallon.
 
Originally posted by shockwaveriderz
anybody considered using electronics, ie a small xexon strobe as a recovery beacon ?

I'm more than considering. I'm working on a few alternate designs. Xenon might be OK. I'm leaning towards high lumin LEDs.

You should see an unfinished Apogee PNC-56A light up at night. Should be easily trackable over a mile high.
 
Originally posted by DynaSoar
I'm more than considering. I'm working on a few alternate designs. Xenon might be OK. I'm leaning towards high lumin LEDs.

You should see an unfinished Apogee PNC-56A light up at night. Should be easily trackable over a mile high.

Dyna:
For night flying Hi intensity LED's are Great! Our club has been holding yearly FAA waivered night launches since 1990. but be warned...We've lost a number of below 2500 ft flight models with Xenon strobes. Seems the white strobe, blends very nicely on a clear starry night with those backgound stars and moon:( If you catch the blink your usually ok..
Unless you live WAY out in the desert somewhere it is unlikely you'll ever get clearance to fly at night above 3500feet. at least not on the east coast:( Our standard 4000' AGL max altitiude is restricted to 2500feet after sunset. could you possibly pic up the light from some of the 12000 or higher mcd output LED's a mile away..possibly but your chances of keep it tracked to touch down would be very slim...again assuming your NOT out in the middle of the desert somewhere;)
If your flying in the Connecticut area you'll be filing your waiver with the FAA eastern regional hub at JFK Airport in New York like we do. It's isn't that difficult but will require about a month lead time. Theres another Yahoo group set up for Night launch folks, that has copies of the paperwork in it's files section. Try this link
https://groups.yahoo.com/group/night_launch/

Super bright LED's in Red, Orange, Yellow and blue have proved very effective on models as small as micro-Maxx powered models, Estes New X-Ray with the BT20 clear payload section and magenta plastic nose. to as large as BT-80 3X up scale NovaPayloader and a 5-D12 converted NCR Brighthawk. We did a thread on Night launch models awhile back I'm sure a search will bring up all the Pics.
Heres a page on what i've been doing with Pratt hobbies BT-50 size yellow styrene nosecones. you can actually change the color day/night with some fo the Superbright LED's.
But back to the thread, day time use of Xenon strobes has proved very unreliable for tracking. Tracking powders seem to do the best job during daytime flights at altitude.
12,000 feet took 5lbs... seem very excessive. I've gotten great clouds at 2100feet with as little as 1/2oz. depending on the powder color and sky conditions. You guys might be suprised to hear that on bright sunny puffy cloud days, 50/50 Yellow/talc mixtures have proven to be the most "trackable" combination. Followed by flourescent red chalk line chalk/ talc mixtures. Funny what the eye picks up and what is doesn't.
 
Originally posted by Karl
I also just use cheap Talk from the corner shop! Works perfect with blue skys! And im sure it helps the 'chute not to melt aswell! I use a small RC Car fuel bottle just like this one.
It can get messy but instead of having a 'rotten egg' smell inside your rockets , it leaves a more of a sweet smell lol!

EDIT:
Just a small idea, for hollow nosecones , with the little hole on top of the shoulder , pour some in that , so when its coming down , maybe it will come out? And would concrete powder work ? My dad has around 10 bags of this stuff lying around , despite it being grey.

Hello Karl and other rocket trackers,

I have tried Talc powder for the first time today for tracking my Magnum Opus. It worked perfectly, even after my rocket flew into the base of a cumuluscloud. Even then I saw a greyish puf in the cloudbase. When my rocket came out of the cloud, it left a trail of powder in the sky. I think that I would have lost track of my rocket without it, great! I used a fair amount of powder so it remained vissible for some time.
I lost a Magnum Opus before so I didn't want to lose another one. Therefore I also painted that rocket overall fluorescent red:cool:

Greetings,

Robin Trap
Den Helder, Holland
 
oh, i also used this on my AT mustang... didn't really expect to not see it compeltly cause it was on an F20 but i did see the puff

i had to rip a few decals off cause they had this red glow :p

i used a swiffer glove to remove alot of the chalk, it worked pretty good

lleme see if i can get a picture of the inside, its a wonderful shade of red :D
 
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