Whew, I got ticked off at my 5 controllers the other day!

Discussion in 'Ground Support' started by scadaman29325, Dec 3, 2019.

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  1. Dec 3, 2019 #1

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    Catching up and tripping all over myself.

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    So about 4 months ago I got back into the hobby and took my grandson out for our first launch. The controller didn't work. Went and tried 4 others, non of them worked! I cut the wire off one, got a 9v battery walked across the street and fired one off. It landed on the church roof, slid off the front and I thought it was going to get hung up on the cross. Thankfully it missed the cross and fell onto an overhang and hung on gutter just dangling. I retrieved with an extendo stick.

    Anyways, I'm a seasoned electronics tech and know how these things work. WHY would all 5 not work? So I rechecked them all today. One flashed and went out, probably blew the incandesent bulb, a black controller. One worked but blinked with a jiggle of the controller, the oldest controller, blue). 3 did not work at all, one black and two red. A red one was just manufactured 10 months ago, and the other red, back in 2016. No idea about the black.

    I even tried crossing my fingers and toes and that didn't help. Am I missing something? I want to tear into them, but all are sealed except the blue. I don't want to break them, yet. Is there a good way to get them apart?

    Right now I'm using a 12vSLA with the sacrificed launch wire. I have a button, 4 switches and a disconnect that I'm going to put into a plastic ammo box. It will be a 4 bang controller for the 4 position launch stand I'm building. Still gathering parts.

    Is there any help for me?

    Does anyone have a nice schematic? I've scratched one out, but would be happier with a better version.

    TIA.
     
  2. Dec 3, 2019 #2

    BEC

    BEC

    BEC

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    The sealed ones will work the same as the blue one. On all the newer ones, you ARE holding the key down against the soft rubber “spring”, right? That, and good quality AA cells are really they two keys to making any version of the Electron Beam controller (or its predecessor, the Solar Launch Controller) work well. Newer ones have an LED rather than the incandescent. Other than that (and the spring, which came in sometime in the early 2000s), they’ve been functionally identical since the Electron Beam was introduced in the mid 1980s.
     
  3. Dec 3, 2019 #3

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    Catching up and tripping all over myself.

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    I did read something about holding the key down, but didn't put much stock in it. I thought they had misspoke, but I did try it anyways and it didn't help. I was wanting to open them up and clean/re-spring the contacts. Looks like I'll destroy them just trying to open them up.

    I'll go back and do the double press thing just to make sure, really because I find it unfathomable that 5 controllers didn't work. I know the batteries were good, but I just got a bunch of new ones and will try another fresh set.

    Just blows my mind.

    The black ones have incandescents and the red were LEDs.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Dec 3, 2019 #4

    BEC

    BEC

    BEC

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    I agree that it's pretty unlikely that all five are bad. With the LED-lit ones, of course the cells will also need to be in the right way around.....

    Test them just as the directions say. Clip the clips together, press the key in (against the rubber tubing "spring"). You should get a continuity light. If you don't, press harder (it does take some force). If that doesn't work, check that the cells are installed correctly.

    I doubt you blew the lamp in the black one. I suspect you're just not pressing the key in hard enough on all that require it (which would be all but the blue one and perhaps the black one if it is pre 2008 or so).
     
  5. Dec 3, 2019 #5

    OverTheTop

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  6. Dec 4, 2019 #6

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    Catching up and tripping all over myself.

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    Wow, great looking controller! I have many of the same ideas with my ammo box project. I'm going to brush up on my transistor theory and run the numbers, but that is awesome.

    I'm having one of the same issues you had, wiring to the pad, good connectors and wire capable delivering the current needed for clusters without frying. AND keeping it convenient for setup and transport. Oh yes, and keeping it affordable or in my case, CHEAP! I heard one guy say he spent over $100 on his. Not me.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
  7. Dec 4, 2019 #7

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

    scadaman29325

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    OMG, That red LED is bright! I'll be seeing a red square the rest of the day and could hardly see to put the screw back in!

    And wow, you do have to press the continuity button hard to make contact!

    All 5 work great. I feel embarrassed and foolish. Sorry to bother y'all with my ignorance.

    Thank you for lesson in how to push a button.
     
  8. Dec 4, 2019 #8

    OverTheTop

    OverTheTop

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    Glad you got it sorted.

    Probably need to be that bright to see it on the field under 130000 lux of sunlight ;)
     
  9. Dec 4, 2019 #9

    Zeus-cat

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    Glad you got it to work. That's what counts at the end of the day.
     

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