ALTDuino stands for Altimeter Arduino and is based on the Arduino hardware/software plattform.
The goal is to build a homemade altimeter specifically for model rockets that features low weight and must fit in an Estes BT-20 body tube (18mm dia).It must also be able to record a complete flight profil and have dual deployment recovery capabilities.
Also, since I do not have the possibility of making my own PCB's all items need to be available on the market and at low cost.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I wrote the "ALTDuino Data Analyser" program to setup and optimize the firmware parameters for my ALTDuino altimeter.
The "ALTDuino Unit Interface" is used to setup the ALTDuino and plot the recorded flight to screen. The above example is a simulated flight done by hand motion.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
My Estes Icarus ready for launch.
The Icarus and it's payload after the flight with the ALTDuino blinking out the recorded altitude (apogee).
The above graph shows the result of the successful logged flight. Apogee occurred at a little over 108 meters while the simulated drogue ejection was triggered at apox. 106 meters.
Friday, July 27, 2012
The rocket pictured before launch. On the left my ALTDuino and on the right an Adrel Altimeter.
Unfortunately the flight started out in a disaster but with an extremely lucky outcome. While the rocket was under full thrust the ejection charge prematurely set off. Due to the high forces the payload contents (ALTDuino and Adrel Altimeter) broke free and were scattered all over the erea!
After a thorough search I was very very lucky to find both altimeters in the fields! The nose cone is still missing but I will look for it later.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
The "Altimax!" powered by a homemade rocket motor (class H) ready for takeoff.
The flight was almost perfect. Main chute deployment failed due to the parachute having got stuck inside the body tube.
Above is the profil of the flight logged by my ALTDuino.
As you can imagine I was ecstatic after loading the data on to my laptop and seeing the beautiful flight presented on the screen. Everything went perfectly and to add to my delight, my ALTDuino and Louis's Altmax Simply measured the exact same altitude of 361 meters! The Adrel measured 366 meters. I'm a very happy camper to say the least.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Because the high powered flight test was such a success I proceeded in the next step by adding a dual MOSFET device to the ALTDuino. It will take care of apogee and main chute recovery duties.
A dual MOSFET switch plus two 10k smd resisters were soldered onto a small PCB. That intern was placed over the EEPROM chip to make for a compact a size as possible.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
The ALTDuino UI now supports velocity data ploted as graph.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Project ALTDuino can now be found under it's own domain - www.ALTDuino.de.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Liftoff was perfect with the powered flight being straight as an arrow and the rocket only landing several meters from the launch pad.
The only problem occurred when the second parachute got tangled at deployment and didn't open. The ALTDuino ejected the main parachute making this test flight a complete success.
Again another beautiful flight profil was captured by the ALTDuino.
Because of todays successful test I felt it was time to protect the ALTDuino with shrink tubing. The finished ALTDuino as pictured above weighs 4.9 grams. The dimensions are 40mm x 18mm x 10mm. The altimeter has leads for 2 pyro charges and 1 lead for connecting to an external mounted LED.
Friday, August 10, 2012
And that is exactly what happened! After liftoff the Mongoose rose to a height of just under 72 meters (236 feet) with the first deployment charge occuring just after apogee.
The rocket then tumbled down until it had reached 40 meters (131 feet) where the second charge occurred deploying the main parachute.
Some 8 seconds later the Estes Mongoose with it's valuable payload had safely returned back to earth.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
As with the flight from Friday everything went as it was suppose to. Drogue ejection went off just after apogee and main chute deployment at 40 meters (131 feet).
The only unfortunate event was that the parachute got tangled in the shroud lines and never could open. However there was no damage to the rocket or the electronics.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
It occurred to me having made 2 flights that it would be a nice feature to overlap the graphs in the ALTDuino UI program so they could be compared. This will be my next program update.
Monday, August 13, 2012
The flight went very well. Separation of the rocket at apogee was spot on which indicates the improved modifications to the firmware worked as hoped.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
The ALTDuino UI tool now has a "Compare" function making it possible to display and compare 2 flight profils.
First via the "COMXX" or "Load" button you import the main flight profil. Then the "Compare" button is shown where a second flight profil can be imported into the UI (green graphs).
Monday, August 20, 2012
In the above graphs you can see one flight with a perfect rocket launch sequence. The first pyro charge went off at apogee and the second pyro charge went off at 40 meters with the parachute deploying bringing the rocket and it's cargo safely back to earth.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
As you may notice in the below picture I was forced to modify the ALTDuino:
I therefore had to look for a simple solution to resolve the issue. The problem was solved by adding an electrolytic capacitor and a resister to the circuit.
However, I did come run across a major error on my part. I was looking for a pin on the pro mini where I could grab direct voltage (+) from the lipo. I came across a pin called "RAW" and as it turned out it was what I was looking for. Since my lipo is hooked up to the same pins as with the FTDI board (VCC + GND) I measured VCC and RAW to be sure I had the correct pin. To my surprise this was not the case and then it hit me. To verify my fear I quickly checked the schematics of the Sparkfun Pro Mini which confirmed my big mistake. On the Sparkfun "raw" is the input (+) coming directly from the battery. This can be between 3.3V up to 12V whereas "VCC" input gets 3.3V only which bypasses the onboard voltage regulator. I then realized when using an external power source I had been powering my ALTDuino with unregulated voltage, in my case a fully charged lipo (4.10V)! Suffice to say I was extremely lucky that the components tolerated this and I was more than fortunate that my flight tests had worked under the conditions. In a nutshell I have to say I had more luck than sense!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I finished the electronic bay for the ALTDuino one day before leaving for the States in preparation of Freedom Launch 2012 in South Carolina, USA.
I built another altimeter and call it "ALTDuino Logger". I designed this altimeter version for logging purposes only.
Friday, August 31, 2012
I'm in the USA right now and just finished the Estes Mongoose which is ready to be launched at Freedom Launch 2012 in South Carolina, USA.
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Flight #14 - 1 Sept. 2012
Here an onboard video of the complete flight:
For those interested, I'm using a key chain camera #16 HD with 120 degree lense taped to the rocket. The camera can be purchased on ebay. It's a fantastic little device!
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
At the Freedom Launch 2012 event in South Carolina I had the privilage of accompanying Jon on his level 3 certification attempt. I had asked Jon if my ALTDuino Logger could be aboard his rocket for the flight. He agreed.
The ALTDuino Logger performed perfectly.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
While on vacation in the USA I ordered Sparkfun's new Pro Micro - 3.3V/8MHz development board based on the ATmega32U4. This will be the next evolution and will be called ALTDuino II.
The main advantages of this board compared to the Pro Mini is that you do not need an external FTDI board to connect to the computer. It will also make my life a bit easier concerning USB recognition status when communicating with the ALTDuino DA and UI programs.
However converting the present firmware to this board will be a bit more intense than I had thought and hoped. Another little challenge I guess :-)
Monday, September 24, 2012
Flight #18 - 23 Sept. 2012
The test flight took place in the morning under cold, cloudy and very damp conditions.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Flight #19 - 30 Sept. 2012
As you look at the status LED you can observe that the thrust cutoff sequence was detected correctly.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Flight #21 - 3 Oct. 2012
In accordance with the changes to the ALTDuino firmware it was necessary to add the changes to the Unit Interface (UI) as well.
The first thing was to incorporate the engine Thrust/Non-Thrust phases into the program. Also the red line (thrust) in the graph now ends at the point of engine cut-off and the yellow line taking over until the point of the first ejection charge is reached.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Flight #22 - 6 Oct. 2012
The flight profile was perfect and everything worked as it was suppose to.
I am now building an appropriate booster stage with recovery capabilities and will use the Estes Mongoose as sustainer for the next test phases.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Flight #23 - 13 Oct. 2012
Saturday, October 27, 2012
I have been doing some more work on the UI. New features include a zoom function by clicking the mouse on the graph. This will show a 3 second time frame at sample resolution.
I have also added the feature to read and write configuration settings between the ALTDuino and the UI. For example it is now possible to easily set the altitude for main deployment.
Monday, November 12, 2012
I have written a setup window so that the altimeter can now be conveniently configured from within the UI.
The following options have been implemented:
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
More options were added to the pyro configuration settings:
It is now possible to select a delay time for Apogee and Main deployment. Options are from 0 to 5 seconds with 1 second increments.
Delayed sustainer ignition is now selectable by choosing a prefered velocity value. Options are 25 - 1000 meters/second at 25 m/s increments or 82 - 3280 feet/second at 82 ft/s increments.
If the delay is set to "Max" then sustainer ignition will occur at maximum flight velocity upon booster thrust end.
Playing around with these new delay options should prove very interesting and fun.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
I've changed the altitude read out from apogee to maximum recorded altitude. This change was needed because of the new delay option in the firmware.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
The Estes Mongoose has been a fantastic altimeter carrier throughout this project! Either as single or multi stage it has performed flawlessly.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
I have now placed decals on the rocket and have updated my post from Sunday, December 16, 2012 with an updated picture to show the result.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
I have been playing around with a liquid display. My intention is for it to be used at the field to readout additional information concerning setup and flight status figures.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Flight #25 - 12 Jan. 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Flight #26 - 19 Jan. 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Flight #27 - 10 Feb. 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Flight #28 - 24 Feb. 2013
Outside temperature was -1.5° Celsius (29.3° Fahrenheit). The flight was straight and the rocket landed in soft snow just a couple of meters from the launch pad.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Flight #29 - 3 Mar. 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
Flight #31 - 1 Apr. 2013
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Flight #32 - 5 May 2013
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Flight #34 - 8 May 2013
|Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 - 22:00 CET|
Awesome piece of tech, and I want one! Here, take my hard earned cash, TAKE IT.
Thanks and I'd love to take your money but I'm afraid nothing is for sale. Sorry.
|Wednesday, October 24th, 2012 - 22:03 CET|
I wrote some simple code for apogee detection for my own dual altimeter and I will be quite happy to share it with you if you send me your email.
I am still waitting for the Arduino board that I have ordered but the code compile and the idea should be there.
I have added my email address at the bottom of this web site.
|Monday, October 08th, 2012 - 23:16 CET|
I got myself an Arduino board and a pressure Sensor (BMP085) and I was wondering if you could share your code so that I have something to play with.
Obviousely this will have to be modified because I am using a different pressure sensor but I think that your code could be a good starting point.
Boris, thanks for stopping by.
I don't have any plans on releasing any of my codes in the foreseeable future.
|Thursday, September 27th, 2012 - 22:37 CET|
How did you calculate the velocity?
Did you use any filtering (moving average, kalman filter, etc.)?
The velocity is measured from each sample by using the Kalman filtered altitude readings. It's a bit crude and will need improvements and tweaks but it serves my purposes well for now.
|Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 - 21:00 CET|
thanks for the links, the example code was new to me.
Well, I will try to port it to the arduino...(not an easy task for me but I will try)
The spi seems to be quite nice... ! ;-)
|Monday, August 27th, 2012 - 13:23 CET|
I found your homepage through the arduino forum...
Your resolution using the MS5611 is great!
Would you mind giving more details about your sample rate and the code used to interface the MS5611 ?
Mike, here are 2 links:
Data sheet: link...
Example code: link...
I am using OSR=4096 for the resolution at a sample rate of 20 measurements per second.
|Saturday, August 11th, 2012 - 22:40 CET|
Leo, Wow very nice job. I just started messing around with ARDUINO stuff. I have a lot to learn. Electronic payloads in rockets are what I love messing with. Right now messing around flying the Telemetrum and Telemini. Would love to learn how to design my own some day. Doug
Thanks Doug! The Arduino is a great plattform to learn and make stuff like this.
|Saturday, August 11th, 2012 - 16:31 CET|
The comment section is now open
This web site is maintained by Leo Nutz © Copyright 2012-2013.