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Launch Controllers
#1
If the Estes Astron II launch controller uses a 9v battery and the "E" Launch controller uses 4 x AA batteries (6 volts), why is the "E" launch controller "required" to launch "F" and larger motors?

Just find that curious.

Also, I am looking for a way to get a more reliable "spark" to light off my motors.  Am working on dipping the tips of my ignitors in nitrocellulose (nail polish) and am getting more of a "glow" at the tip than I was before.
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#2
(08-31-2015, 08:46 PM)sanderj Wrote: If the Estes Astron II launch controller uses a 9v battery and the "E" Launch controller uses 4 x AA batteries (6 volts), why is the "E" launch controller "required" to launch "F" and larger motors?

Just find that curious.

Also, I am looking for a way to get a more reliable "spark" to light off my motors.  Am working on dipping the tips of my ignitors in nitrocellulose (nail polish) and am getting more of a "glow" at the tip than I was before.
The E controller has 30 feet of cable (required by the safety code).  Estes' other two controllers, the Electron Beam and the Astron II, have 17 feet.

http://www.firefox-fx.com/rocketry.htm

These guys have all kinds of pyrogens to make your own igniters. Or you could dip standard nichrome igniters to get a little more heat.  I have used the SECPLEL Liquid Element, using 26 ga. twin lead wire. It is a conductive pyrogen so construction is simple. A secondary pyrogen can be used as a 2nd dip for composite motors.  I plan to make some for Estes motors by using plain old nichrome and dipping in the non-conductive pyrogen.
Lee
NAR 55948, L2
In Build: Mars Snooper
Next: upscale Sky Hook (Panavia kitbash)
In Finishing:  Estes Honest John, Red Nova, Super Cobra
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#3
If you want more reliability in your controller, ditch the stupid AA and 9 volt batteries and use a 12 volt car jumper pack, RC car batteries, or other high current capable (high "c" rating, low internal resistance) type batteries... (Generally speaking, mostly rechargeables)...

Stupid AA's and little 9 volts (which are actually a pack of tiny AAAA batteries inside a rectangular casing) simply don't have the reserve capacity ("volume" of electricity) nor the current delivery capability ("c" rating, too much internal resistance) to deliver the power necessary to rapidly heat ignitors reliably, especially multiple ignitors like clusters. Since the new lame-O Estes "starters" have no pyrogen to ignite, they're basically a "glorified glow plug" and therefore need all the current they can possibly want to ensure the motor ignites...

Regardless of type of ignitors you use, the simple and undeniable fact remains that you will get the best results from supplying the ignitors with as much power as they want... So long as you keep it to 12 volts or less, the resistance of the ignitors will throttle the amount of current that flows through the system... The higher the voltage, the more "pressure" there is in the circuit to "force" electric current through the ignitors... And the battery should NOT be the limiting factor in how much power is delivered to the ignitor... The resistance of the ignitor to current flow, converting that power to heat via electrical resistance, is what causes ignition... Thus giving the ignitors all the power they want is the real key to increasing reliability... That means using a battery capable of delivering that power efficiently over and over again without falling off, and lowering resistance in the circuit between the battery and ignitor as much as possible... Ie dunno the stupid dinky bell wire Estes uses in ALL their controllers, even the supposed "E" controller, which uses a longer length of bell wire, making the problem of excessive resistance worse than even the regular "electron beam" controller... Use lamp cord or extension cord to minimize resistance between the battery and controller... Heck I even made copper continuity keys for my old controllers to cut the resistance from the steel keys Estes uses, and eliminate the corrosion of steel keys...

Rebuilding an older Estes controller to make it what it should be isn't hard or very expensive, and you'll have a controller better than 95% of the ones on the market when you're done... One that can handle LPR, MPR, HPR, and clusters with confidence...

Later! OL JR
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