Brief: Editor's Note: This is the actual building experience from the Scratch Model Rocket Locator. Construction: Finishing: Construction Rating: 4 out of 5 Flight: Recovery: Flight Rating: 4 out of 5 Summary: Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Plans for a small electronic rocket location device using a buzzer and LED's.
There really are no instructions provided, but if you have built any electronic projects before (and even if you haven't), this will be a snap. The plans show a list of components (all available at Radio Shack and listed by RS part number) that can be had for under $15. There is an included circuit schematic and a parts layout graphic, and that's about all. Like I said, there aren't any instructions for this locator as it it a pretty basic circuit. Construction was straight- forward based on the parts layout. You pretty much drop the components through the perf board and solder them in place according to the graphic. One important thing to note is that the flat side of the LED's is negative and should face the bottom of the board based on the picture. Once the components are secured, complete the circuit with some light gauge wire and slip in your batteries. If all is well you should be greeted by a loud buzz from the Piezo button and 2 flashing LED's. A good light duty soldering iron, wire cutters and some light wire are all the extra tools I needed.
No special finishing is required. You may want to protect the underside of the circuit-board to prevent damage.
I attached the locator to the shock cord of my Estes Athena test bed. I slipped in the batteries and quickly slid the locator into the BT. It fit great with room to spare. I used an A8-3 to make sure the rocket wouldn't fly out of site and let it rip. Ejection was fine and the chute deployed normally (I was worried about tangles). As I approached the rocket I could hear the buzzing of the Piezo clearly from about 10ft away. I wish I had something like this when I was launching rockets next to cornfields!
Pos: A good loud buzzer would make retrieval from crops, high grass or trees a snap. Con: I was still a little worried about tangling the the chute on ejection. It hasn't happened yet and I think a quick hit with masking tape across the back and a hit with sandpaper to smooth the edges and corners would help. I don't think this would be as much a problem on larger rockets.
As a 1st or 2nd electronic project this is a good one. The instructions a minimal, but easily figured out. This locator is very simple to build and operate and does exactly what the plans say it will.
Editor's Note: This is the actual building experience from the Scratch Model Rocket Locator.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
Flight Rating: 4 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5