Starting MAX62630FTHR build

This is my first blog post documenting the build for the MAX62630FTHR #MakeWithMaxim context. I have, since I was a child, wanted to shoot a telemetry package up on an Estes rocket but never gotten around to it until now. Now I get to share this with a new generation of children and get the benefit of technology like MEMs sensors and digital radio.


The goal is to shoot a sensor package in the nose cone of an Estes "Executioner" rocket powered by an E9 rocket engine. The system will store real-time data to a Micro-SD card and also radio GPS coordinates via a LoRa radio to a base station to assist in rocket recovery (*). It is comprised of the following subsystems.
  1. Maxim MAX62630FTHR: CPU, accelerometer collecting acceleration and gyroscopic data, power management and data storage.
  2. Adafruit RFM95W 900 MHz LoRa Featherwing: Radio communication - command and telemetry
  3. Adafruit GPS Featherwing: Location and altitude
  4. Adafuit MAX31865 and PT100 temperature sensor: Fast responding temperature
  5. Adafruit ALSPT19 Light Sensor: Rocket rotation (mimicking early rocket telemetry transmitters)
  6. 500 mAh 3.7V Li-Ion battery
I plan to mount these on a 3D printed frame located in the bottom of the nose cone. I am a little concerned how the rocket will perform with the added weight...

The ground station will consist of another LoRa radio interfaced to a laptop through a PJRC Teensy-LC controller. Data analysis will include mapping of GPS data and plotting GPS altitude, acceleration, temperature and light data.

Work so far includes.
  • Loading test code onto the MAX62630 and acquiring various libraries for GPS, LoRa, and temperature sensing.
  • Testing the GPS receiver in various orientations to verify it can work when the nose cone is pointing down or on the ground
  • Custom parts for Scheme-it
Next up: rocket build and 3D frame design

(*): LOL...while losing Estes rockets is a long-standing tradition and the promise of a GPS location upon landing would be a welcome benefit from hours of searching, I suspect between the additional weight of my rocket, and its size, we'll be able to watch it for the entire flight. Still, it will be interesting to see how the GPS system and radio perform.

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