Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Real-time model rocket telemetry

My latest project involves wireless transmission of data from an Arduino-compatible micro-controller called a JeeNode. My first application was transmitting acceleration and pressure data from a water-powered rocket so that I can determine altitude and speed.

The first launch, done at the minimal pressure of 40 psi went 150 feet and reached 140 mph! The second launch also transmitted flawlessly, right up until it hit the roof of the house, knocking the batteries out.

The batteries were bent, and the holder destroyed, but remarkably the electronics still work. In addition to transmitting data, I'm saving it on board using non-volatile memory so it isn't lost in such an even, but it still didn't capture the final deceleration!
Someone did all the math, which is quite a bit more involved than for a regular model rocket, and put a simulator on line. This is very similar to what I do at work, analyze simulation data! I'm amazed at the initial acceleration and speed. There is a lot of energy being transferred rather quickly (~0.3 seconds)! Now I can optimize the flight parameters (up the pressure), and see what altitudes we can reach. Well, maybe I should work on the landings first.


Neil said...

This is awesome. What standard and frequency are you using for transmitting data?

Eldon and Janeil Olsen said...

We're thinking of doing this at the family reunion--also have a class on pizza making by Michael B. and one on self defense by Jonathan. What do you think?