Audio controlled model rocket launch controller

Thread Starter

Cub_Scout_Dad

Joined Sep 28, 2018
9
I am new to the forum site. I just came across it today.

Many years ago I came across an audio controlled model rocket launch controller schematics. I made a breadboard of the design but it did not work. I do not have the knowledge to make corrections to the diagram.

Several years ago I was helped with this by an electrical engineer student. He was able to find a critical missing circuit item. He got it working but had to take the part from the recorder circuit and out it in the playback unit. Before I could make a fully operational launch controller the circuit lost the recording. I have since lost his contact information.

If I upload the original schematics and pictures of the devices would someone be able to help me figure it out?
 

Thread Starter

Cub_Scout_Dad

Joined Sep 28, 2018
9
It took me a while to find the schematics for the system. I could not find the book I got it out of or the photocopies I made of them. I did remember the book mentioned it was from Popular Electronics. It took me some time but I found a copy of it on line. I have attached the schematics (On page one and two of the article). I have also included the pictures of what I have. I don't remember everything about this project as it was 7 years ago I started this. But I will try to answer any question you have.

Thanks for any help anyone can give.
Stephen
 

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Thread Starter

Cub_Scout_Dad

Joined Sep 28, 2018
9
The idea behind this project is add a fun element to the model rockets my kids are doing for Scouts and 4H. I want to use the last 11 seconds of the Apollo 11 launch as the recording that proceeds the launch. I would like to add a continuity light and second recording playback for "background noise" when setting up the rocket that is mission control going through the various system checks prior to the launch. Now that I am a Den Leader for my Son's Cub Scout Den, I want to generate interest in the Scouts' to try new things.
 

oz93666

Joined Sep 7, 2010
737
An " audio controlled model rocket launch controller" ??? this implies circuitry which will launch the rocket (switch a current into the igniter) when sound intensity reaches a certain level ..

These are already available , put "clap switch" in eBay search ... people use them for switching lights on and off by making a loud noise .. the sensitivity is usually adjustable ... if you are using a recording you could have a loud noise or tone at the end of the countdown.

clap switch $2 inc postage ..can buy ready made or in kit form.
 

Ylli

Joined Nov 13, 2015
1,053
As published this would violate the Model Rocket Safety Code, ( https://www.nar.org/safety-information/model-rocket-safety-code/ ) which could nullify any insurance that might be in effect. You need to be able to 'safe' the unit with a removable interlock. That can be as simple as a phono jack with a removable, shorted phono plug. Put it in series with the leads going to the igniter. The flyer should be able to remove the key and take it along when loading the rocket on the pad - feeling confident the controller can't accidentally launch the model. Then make that switch shown in series with the igniter a momentary contact push button. The person doing the launching would need to hold it down either for the entire countdown or press it just as the count gets to zero. Removing the finger would abort the launch in case that is required - such as when the wind blows the model over aiming it directly at the spectators, or some kid runs into the launch area.

Have fun, be safe, and keep the insurance in effect.
 

Thread Starter

Cub_Scout_Dad

Joined Sep 28, 2018
9
This system launches when the recording ends. We tested it with an LED when it was initially put together and it lit when the recording ended. The full design that I am planning will have a 3 position key switch to move from SAFE (off), SYSTEM (Continuity Check), ARMED (system hot ready for launch). Once in the ARMED position I was thinking of having a LAUNCH button to push that would have an EMERGENCY STOP that would kill power to the entire system. I probably should have mentioned the final plans for the system. I wanted a KEYED SWITCH for safety that would allow the person setting up the system to have the key with them and they system not be usable until they put the key in to it. This allows for safe setup of the rocket without worry about someone messing with the controls. In the next day or so I will make a quick sketch of the launch panel that I am thinking of. The unit will look more like a console and not a hand held unit.
 

Thread Starter

Cub_Scout_Dad

Joined Sep 28, 2018
9
Here is the cover plate for the launch console.
The 3 position key switch allows the launch commander to operate the system. The key removable key allows for the system to be completely safe when then launch commander is not at the console.

Position 1 SAFE: No current through the system, rocket cannot be launched even if the buttons are pushed. In this position the key is removable.
Position 2 SYSTEM: sends a small current through the system to verify continuity. This position will send the current through the green LED labeled "SYSTEM READY". The Green LED will light if there is continuity in the system. This verifies to the launch commander that the system is set up correctly and ready for launch.
Position 3 ARMED: This positions runs power to the system and the Red "ARMED" LED. When the launch commander presses the "LAUNCH" button it starts the launch sequence. When the recording ends the system send power through the circuit to launch the rocket.

The "ABORT" button is a safety disconnect for power to the system. When this is pushed it disconnects the power to the system until it is reset.
 

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Thread Starter

Cub_Scout_Dad

Joined Sep 28, 2018
9
Looking at the regs, I could add two more N/O buttons to the set up. Change the Launch button to "COUNT DOWN" This would start the recording and trigger an LED to signify the end of the recording. The additional two buttons would put power to the system and fire the rocket, one on each side of the control panel so that there is not a chance of hitting one button and igniting the rocket.
 
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