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Old 02-14-2010, 03:52 PM
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BEC BEC is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Auburn, Washington
Posts: 3,259
Default Eagle Tree Systems altitude sensor as rocket altimeter

Eagle Tree Systems is a leader in on board logging tools for RC airplanes, boats and cars for some time. I've been using their microPower onboard logger in my electric airplanes for awhile. They have an array of add-on sensors for things like GPS location, temperatures, servo current, and also airspeed and altitude.

Their most recent airspeed and altitude sensors can also function as peak-reading units in standalone mode and have a single digit LED display to tell you after a flight what the max altitude or airspeed was. Generally they get plugged into an RC receiver for power but there are other ways to do that.

Just yesterday I used the combination of the altitude sensor (first one at this link ) and Winged Shadow Systems' battery board (here ) as a peak-reading rocket altimeter. I packaged both in a short section of PST-50 tubing, provided a few small holes to allow the inside of the tube to see static air pressure, and put it on top of an Estes HiJinks RTF.

This combo is heavier than the Winged Shadow Systems How High SP but exchanges the single blinking LED for altitude readout for a single digit LED display that flashes the numbers in sequence - no counting required. I'm going to look into using a single tiny lipoly cell to reduce the weight. And, of course, I could remove the lead that is used to attach the sensor to the data logger if I were to dedicate this particular one just to standalone operation to save weight and bulk. I may do that.

But first I need fly it as is some more to get a feel for how well it works. Yesterday I got three flights. The two A-impulse flights returned lower-than-expected altitudes (94 and 71 feet) for the liftoff mass but the B-impulse flight value (365 feet) was very plausible. These judgments are based on flying a How High SP in the same payload section but on a Rascal RTF. But it was raining lightly at the time...and the one other A-impulse reference flight I made (on an Alpha III) also seemed not to go as high as I'd expect.

Anyway - pictures: Shown are the altitude sensor and the battery board connected to one another and the display lit, what it looks like all packed into the payload section and one of the payload section on the rocket.

FYI - The sensor and the battery board together weight 0.46 ounce. The rocket as shown weighs 1.76 ounces with no wadding or motor installed.
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