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UlteriorModem 09-27-2015 03:20 PM

Estes Pro series II launch controller question....
I have been looking at the Estes Pro series II launch controller as an upgrade.

By default it uses 4 C cell batteries but they also mention it accepts alternate power sources.

However it does not go into any detail about what power sources and how. I did see one mention of someone using a LiPo and that makes me curious as I have lots of those and know they can deliver tremendous amounts of current very quickly from a small package and would seemingly be ideal.

Anyhow I searched the web and came up empty.

Anyone know or have some linkage??


Rex R 09-27-2015 03:43 PM

the only launch controller I found by that name uses 6(six) C cells (alkaline). it has a 'JST' socket in the battery compartment for external power(off hand I would suggest a 3s lipo pack if you want to go with that option). the 30' launch wire is IMO a tad short, 40 - 50' would be better. from what I could find via a google search(which led to the rocketry forum) it would appear to be a serviceable unit.

BEC 09-27-2015 03:52 PM

I have two of them. I like 'em.

One of them has an Electrifly 3s LiPoly inside. It works very nicely and has even managed to fire the infamous Copperhead ignters a couple times. As Rex noted there is a two-pin JST socket inside for the alternate power source. Space inside is kind of tight because this alternate power source has to fit between the springs for the C-cells.

Heck - I should just go grab it, take a couple of pics with my iPhone and post 'em here.

Back in a little while......

BEC 09-27-2015 04:24 PM

5 Attachment(s)
OK - here we go.

This particular unit was inadvertently left behind at a launch in eastern Washington and collected several days later after it had been rained on a bit - no issues.

An odd feature is that there are two clips on each of the two leads - essentially a built-in clip whip. The trick is to get one clip from each on the igniter :)

Pictures - exterior with a ruler and an Electron Beam for scale. Then back cover, open with the 3s 1200 mAh LiPoly in it, some details of how that's connected, and a view with the C-cells.

BEC 09-27-2015 04:25 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Only five per post, so here's the C-cell view - note it takes six, not four.

This controller is like a couple of its predecessors in that it takes two hands to fire it. The yellow button on the left is essentially a second arming (after the key is in) and a beeper sounds. You have to hold that one down and press the red one to fire the igniter(s).

UlteriorModem 09-27-2015 05:03 PM

Wow perfect!

I cant thank you enough. Answered every question I had.


BEC 09-27-2015 05:38 PM

You're welcome. I like when I can actually answer a question.

samb 09-28-2015 04:46 PM

$28.39US at Hobbylinc this week.

And Bernard is just being modest. He has (almost) all the answers ! :)

UlteriorModem 09-28-2015 05:07 PM

I know Bernard has a lot of answers Ive been cruising these forums for a while now. The photographs helped a ton and showed me pretty much exactly the setup I want to go with using a 3S 1200mah lipo of which I have about 6 of them and the proper chargers etc.

Thanks for the heads up on the sale but I have one on order already. Ran out and ordered it almost as soon as I saw the info. Only paid about 5 bucks more so....

Has anyone been inside of one of these controllers? Wonder how the continuity check is done. If there is transistors or relays for low current checks or if its basically a big "Electron Beam" type circuit with maybe a resistor and LED?

Oh by the way I notied on Bernard's lipo a date stamp of 06/06? If so you sure got your moneys worth out of that one!!

LeeR 09-28-2015 06:15 PM

I am assuming the PSII launch controller just uses one of a variety of premade piezoelectric buzzers available. I installed in an Electro-Launch for school launches, since the buzzer gets everyone's attention, whereas a continuity light does little for a big group of school kids out on the playground. :)

The buzzer I bought was from Radio Shack (many years ago -- not sure they are still open ...). It is housed in a small round plastic enclosure, with leads protruding from the bottom -- suitable for panel mounting. I ground down the raised area on the controller around the bulb, and epoxied the buzzer in place over the bulb opening. It is wired into the launcher in place of the bulb, soldering each lead to one of the two contacts for the bulb. I do not recall the current draw, but it is pretty low (under 50mA), and is therefore safe for low-current igniters. A Google search shows many piezo buzzers that operate on voltages from about 3V to 15V, and from 10mA to 50mA or so), so there are a lot of buzzers available that are well suited to handling continuity checks safely.

Another mod I made was to ditch the 4 AA batteries inside the controller, and add leads for an external 12V gel cell battery. This controller will fire igniters all day, and was especially handy for group launches. We would typically launch around 100 rockets on the playground each outing. I never worried about the battery power running down.

If I were to make another launcher today, I'd substitute a 3S lipo battery (nominally 11.1VDC) due to their smaller size and lighter weight, but a gel cell battery is a great launch battery for dependable, long-lasting power.

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