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  #41  
Old 08-23-2021, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rraeford
What kind of paint did you use to get the crinkled finish?


The paint is VHT Wrinkle Plus, available at most auto parts stores. Spray on a couple of thick coats and as it dries it wrinkles..cool to watch.
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  #42  
Old 08-23-2021, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnNGA
The paint is VHT Wrinkle Plus, available at most auto parts stores. Spray on a couple of thick coats and as it dries it wrinkles..cool to watch.


Sadly, that is a 'feature' of some other paints, too!

Great job on finding the panel parts and posting them here!


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  #43  
Old 08-26-2021, 10:49 AM
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Default 'Firing Panel' finished

I finally got around to assembling my 2021 version of the Centuri Professional Firing Panel. There are more photo's and info about the EP-612 on Chris Michaels 1/13/2017 blog. https://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com

Photos:
1&2 Assembly, an original 612 (photo credit: ez2cdave). my build, and the trifecta I wanted in 1965.
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Last edited by JohnNGA : 08-26-2021 at 02:44 PM.
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  #44  
Old 08-26-2021, 10:53 AM
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Wow, you sure nailed it! Great job on running down these parts and putting it all together. This firing panel has been obsolete from Centuri since about 1975...46 years! Your 'new' assembly looks just like my original only 'new' looking!

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  #45  
Old 08-26-2021, 11:46 AM
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Did you fly the Hustler on an original Centuri 29mm BP F97 Mini-Max engine ??
THAT would be far more impressive...
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  #46  
Old 08-26-2021, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnNGA
I finally got around to assembling my 2021 version of the Centuri Professional Firing Panel. There are more photo's and info about the EP-612 on Chris Michaels 1/13/2017 blog. https://modelrocketbuilding.blogspot.com

Photos:
1&2 Assembly, an original 612 (photo credit: ez2cdave). my build, and the trifecta I dearly wanted in 1965.
Really nice work, John!
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  #47  
Old 09-14-2021, 04:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
Since the pandemic started our club started using, for our outreach launches, Estes controllers and pads in a "misfire alley" setup.

I thought it would be cool to make heavier-duty panels for the launches, and remembered this thread.

YIKES. The prices on the parts is astonishing! I was thinking of making six or seven (five "live," one spare, one for myself) units. The cost looks prohibitive.

I guess I could put together something with 20' extension cords, using the plugs and receptacles as safety keys and maybe some kind of lamp and button in a chunk of PVC pipe with end caps.

* * *
Has anyone looked into what it would take to replace the incandescent bulb with a nice bright LED? What size resistor would be necessary?


I replaced all the light bulbs in my old Estes controllers with LED's decades ago. I used resistors salvaged out of old VCR's and stuff, desolder them and then solder them onto one of the legs of the LED. If you want to make it easy on yourself, just get "LED indicators" which are designed to run on 12 volt automotive systems, and have a built-in resistor to protect the diode semiconductor bridge. Or you can calculate the resistance needed by using the old "Ohm's Law" which is V= I/R which is volts= amps/resistance (volts= amps/ohms) and of course using simple algebra to get the different values. Google can get you more explanatory results.

What I did was remove the bulbs, drill the Estes controller for two LED's... one is wired directly across the battery terminals and lights up whenever the battery is connected-- this shows a "good connection" at the battery (I ditched the stupid lousy AA batteries and the old "Polaroid flat battery" in my old "Pola-pulse" battery controller and installed lamp cord with a pair of battery charger clips to connect directly to a car battery or car battery jumper pack for launches-- no more dead/weak stupid AA or high priced impossible to get Polaroid batteries!) so if the charger clips have a good connection to the car battery, the "batt" LED is lit up at all times. Then another LED/resistor is soldered in with wire and connected up between the contacts where the old "continuity" bulb would have been. It only lights up when the key is inserted IF the microclips have good contact with the ignitor and the ignitor has a good circuit (not a broken element/connection).

Here's some pics and wiring diagrams to help you out. It's easy enough to convert regular Estes controllers (or make your own with momentary switches and hand-made contacts, and use a bit of Romex wire for a safety key-- I made my own out of copper house wiring straightened out and then one end bent around in a circle and soldered to itself to make a loop handle for the key, which will replace the old steel Estes keys which can get corroded or make poor contact, with much more conductive and less prone to corroding copper keys that will make better contact and pass more current than a steel key). Just get a few scraps of copper house wiring, remove the conductors from the sheath and strip off the insulator plastic and find the right diameter pieces that will fit in the holes in the Estes controllers, straight them with pliers and bend one end around with pliers into a loop and solder it to itself to close the loop to tie it off to a string or whatever.

It's also easy to convert Estes controllers to send WAY more power to the launch pad, for quicker ignitions and less resistance or failed launches. I remove all the dinky "bell wire" that Estes uses in their controllers with much heavier gauge/current carrying capacity "electric cord" which you can get in bulk or just get cheap twin-lead indoor extension cords and cut them up for cord. Strip the ends and solder or attach to the internal contacts of the Estes controllers where the dinky bell wire is connected up. Tie a knot in the cord for strain relief just inside the controller, and cut or drill a hole in the end of the controller for the leads to come out
and you have a good controller then. One set of leads can go to an external battery, and another set for the launch clips. What I started doing was getting some of those cheap extension cord end repair plugs and installing them on the controllers. With those, it's easy to use REGULAR OUTDOOR EXTENSION CORDS to run the leads anywhere you want-- for instance, you could run numbered extension cords from each pad to the RSO table at the launch, and he would physically plug his end into the main launch battery (car jumper battery pack works EXCELLENT for this) which would enable only one pad at a time-- just plug in the pad about to launch into the extension cord end with a pair of battery charger clamps or cigarette lighter plug (I'd use the battery charger clamps as they can pass more current with less resistance) to plug into the battery or jumper clamps on the pack, to send power to each pad in turn. The Estes controllers (or homemade equivalents) are equipped with external battery cords using a regular lamp cord plug-in (two prong- which can be salvaged off old extension cords, or old broken appliances-- just cut the cord off the old appliance at the appliance for a handy cord!) which will plug into the end of the extension power supply cord coming from the RSO table. The LED indicator will show when the system has power applied to that controller via the "PWR" LED which lights up whenever power is applied to the controller. Another lamp cord lead with a cheap female repair plug (which can be bought very cheap, or salvaged from old extension cords) is wired up inside the controller where the original microclip bell wire leads were attached, with a knot for strain relief inside the case and coming out a hold drilled or melted or carved into the case, can then be used to send the power to the pad and ignitor. With a female repair plug on the lamp cord lead-outs, a regular extension cord of whatever appropriate length can be strung out to the launch pad for that launch cell and used to send power from the controller to the rocket motor ignitors. The extension cord is plugged into the controller female end, and a "clip whip" or short piece of old appliance cord or extension cord with a male end is plugged into it, the wires separated, and a pair of microclips is soldered onto the ends of the stripped wires, which is connected up to the rocket. The key is inserted and the "ARM" (continuity) LED lights up, showing a good connection between the launch controller and the ignitor clips and that the ignitor itself is passing a light current for continuity and ready to launch. Press the button and off she goes. The RSO would then unplug that extension cord from his master battery and plug in the next pad's extension cord, enabling the next cell to launch. Each cord can easily be labeled at each end with tags or even painters tape or write on them with a Sharpie marker.

After the launch, each extension cord is unplugged from the system and rolled up and stored, all the extension cords from the controllers to the pads are rolled up and stored (separately in a box or bag so they don't get mixed up, or just label two for each launch cell and it's all good) and the clip whips are plugged directly into the lead out of each controller so they stay with it in storage. The power supply clip whip (plugged into the car battery jumper pack or connected to a vehicle at the launch) can be plugged into the power supply lead out on one of the controllers so it's handy for the next launch as well, and all the cords and controllers stored in a box for use at the next launch. Car battery jumper packs are also easily charged by plugging them directly into a car cigarette lighter plug in a vehicle so it's charged and handy for the next launch, and does double-duty boosting off cars if someone's dome lights kill their car battery during the launch (which I've done for a guy at a launch before!) or in the owner's vehicle during the winter or whatever when batteries tend to get weak and fail.

Here's some diagrams and pics to help you out. If you need more information, just post here or PM me... OL J R
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  #48  
Old 09-14-2021, 04:11 PM
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Forgot to add, IF you don't want to have to enable each pad in sequence from the RSO table, you can always just plug a regular power strip bar into the charger clip/female end clip whip plugged into your car battery jumper pack (or wired to someone's car battery directly) and then plug all the cords running out to the individual pads from there. If you are enabling each pad in turn from the RSO table, then it's easy enough to get a piece of 2x4 or something and run a pair of screws into it a few inches apart, one pair for each pad, with numbers written in sharpie marker on the board, and each of the cords slid down between the screws. With the screws far enough apart to allow the cord to easily slide up and out from between them, but close enough together that the cord end can't pass between, it would operate much like an old "telephone switchboard" setup where the operator had to pull the wire out and physically make the connection herself to make the phone call. Would keep everything neat and organized that way without cords "running away from you". Just plug in each one in turn to the main power supply battery.

I also included a diagram of an "away cell" system I designed that would use a Ford starter relay and battery jumper pack located AT THE PAD for maximum power delivery directly to HPR ignitors or large cluster ignition setups. The Estes controller would merely work to operate the Ford starter relay (or any other suitable high-amp relay, which are common in automobiles today and can be gotten at any auto supply or online).

The only other thing is, REMEMBER TO KEEP THE POLARITY RIGHT when wiring in LED's or LED indicators... LED's are light emitting diodes, and as diodes only allow current to pass in one direction, so wired up backwards they won't light up AT ALL. Unless of course you buy some LED's or LED indicators that are made with "two way" bridges, usually LED's of this type will light up one color when it has one polarity and another color if the polarity is reversed. I don't know offhand if they make LED indicators that do that or not. If the polarity is wrong, flip the leads to it, or reverse the wires on the battery jumper pack, car battery, or whatever to get the power supply the correct polarity.

Later! OL J R
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  #49  
Old 09-14-2021, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefanj
Since the pandemic started our club started using, for our outreach launches, Estes controllers and pads in a "misfire alley" setup.

I thought it would be cool to make heavier-duty panels for the launches, and remembered this thread.

YIKES. The prices on the parts is astonishing! I was thinking of making six or seven (five "live," one spare, one for myself) units. The cost looks prohibitive.

I guess I could put together something with 20' extension cords, using the plugs and receptacles as safety keys and maybe some kind of lamp and button in a chunk of PVC pipe with end caps.

* * *
Has anyone looked into what it would take to replace the incandescent bulb with a nice bright LED? What size resistor would be necessary?


Yeah some PVC pipe could make easy to build controllers... just need some lamp cords for leadouts, one male to plug into the power supply from the battery jumper pack or car battery clip whip, and a female plug for the launch ignitor extension cord to plug into going out to the pad. All you really need is a momentary push button switch. Drill end caps for the PVC pipe and do the wiring inside to the switch, install the switch in the pipe cap on one end and tie a knot in the cords for strain relief and run them out a hole drilled in the cap over the other end, before you install the electric plugs or wiring to the switch, either way. You could even incorporate LED indicators or just glue LED's into holes drilled in the pipe or cap and labeled for "power" and "arm" (battery connected and continuity, respectively) if you so chose...

Safety keys are the hard part... technically speaking the rule book says a safety key must be TOTALLY REMOVABLE to disable the circuit when it's not inserted, so a momentary switch won't suffice because it cannot be removed. A key switch or turn switch could be, but those get expensive and not easy to make on your own or cheap. Hence why the Estes controllers use a pair of close-fitting contacts attached inside the controller which are "bridged" by a steel "safety key" when it is inserted through a hole in the front face of the controller. You could do something similar with screws or something I suppose, with a hole on the front into which a copper launch key made from house wiring "Romex" wire could be inserted, but it might be problematic. I suppose that a momentary switch mounted INTERNALLY which could ONLY be activated by pressing in a "key" from the outside through a hole could technically work, since it would serve the same function and would "fail safe" (circuit normally open) when the switch is released. The key for that could basically be anything, plastic, wood, or metal, that would fit in the hole and depress the switch. Two flexible metal contacts pressed together by an inserted "key" would work as well-- just have to MAKE SURE they actually spring back apart to open the circuit when the key is "removed". That's why Estes uses the key to physically bridge a gap in the circuit-- spring pressure on the contacts only is necessary to make sure they connect electrically to the key itself when inserted, but otherwise the contacts are completely spaced apart sufficiently to break the circuit unless the key is inserted. Estes started putting "O-rings" on their keys to act as a "spring" to REQUIRE the person launching to push the key in physically to complete the circuit for launch-- if they release pressure, the O-ring unsqueezes and pulls the key up enough to break the circuit between contacts...

Later! OL J R
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  #50  
Old Yesterday, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEC
I have used LED lamps that fit in launch controllers for many different “make it Q2G2 safe” projects in the past 11 years by getting lamps from here: https://www.pinballlife.com/led-lighting.html

I too have used Pinball Life as a source for LED bulbs for upgrading some of my launch controllers. The bulbs are self-contained, bright and pop easily into place.
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