Estes Max Trax Altimeter Question

Yesterday on a lark I picked up a Max Trax to play around with the altimeter it has. After a cursatory looking over it seems not a
barometric type, so I guess it's a type like a bottom of the line G-Wiz, of which I know nothing of note about. Amongst other things I'm out to see if I can fly the thing higher than it wants to read. Does the altimeter have a practical limit? If so, what? Not surprising there was flat zero useful information packed in the instructions.
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Zathras of the Great Machine wrote:

The only thing it is, is a ballistic timer. They calculated the rate that it falls and when ejected it counts. When it hits the ground, it stops counting and displays the altitude. Change the size of the streamer and you mess it up.
It starts counting when it is ejected so if it doesn't deploy at apogee, the altitude displayed is that altitude it was ejected from not max altitude.
Really just a toy for kids.
Kurt Savegnago
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Kurt wrote:

Well, now I know how they managed to make it so cheap....re, inexpensive. In all that's not a bad system "for kids", and given the one idea I had for it, that'd be a perfect application. Which would be designing a "real rocket" for kids that had it's own "on-board electronics", just like us "big kids" :-) And if'n ya can't have childish fun, it's stopped being a hobby....
Thanks for the info!
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zathras:
here are some links with max trax info:
http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid 986&highlight=max+trax
http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid 028&highlight=max+trax
http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid 386&highlight=max+trax
HTH shockie B)

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shockwaveriderz wrote:

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid 986&highlight=max+trax

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid 028&highlight=max+trax

http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid 386&highlight=max+trax

Useful stuff if I decide to fiddle with the inards someday, thanks alot!!
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The "Max Trax" is an altimeter, the same way my stopwatch is an odometer, if I have my eyes closed and can't see the car's speedometer.
I guess how fast I'm going, then use the stopwatch to tick off the distance, based on that guess.
Now my guess at the speed could be wildly inaccurate, in the same way the Max Trax probably is. Variations in the chute opening speed, how well it opens, whether or not the shroud lines get tangled, and the effect of thermals will all introduce randomness in the descent speed.
In other words, the Max Trax is merely a toy pretending to be an altimeter.
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Vince wrote:

It's not that bad, and is based on some good quality research. The device is supposed to recover separately from the rest of the rocket. It's descent rate is higher (faster) than the rocket under parachute and is largely immune to thermals.
Stine wrote about a similar means of calculating altitude in his Handbook. He described a "standard streamer" (a penny taped to a 1"x12" streamer) used to measure altitude. This streamer falls at a consistent rate of 18 feet per second. See the chapter on "Altitude Determination" (chapter 17 in the 6th Edition) in the Handbook of Model Rocketry.
--
Steve Humphrey
(replace "spambait" with "merlinus" to respond directly to me)
  Click to see the full signature.
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Vince wrote:

Aaaahhhh,
It descends on a streamer away from the rocket body so that stuff you talk of above doesn't hold. What matters is the time in flight when it is ejected from the rocket. It doesn't remain attached to the rocket body. they you have to find the thing.
Kurt Savegnago
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Hi,
one thing interesting related to the Max Trax is that a ping pong ball can be timed to find out how high a rocket ejected as well.
paint it orange ;-)
lookup the info if interested, I first saw it in a centuri teachers guide.
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where on the package does it say "altimeter"?
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