I haven't done much more than open the box yet, but here are some
The box is huge, mostly air. The camera doesn't appear that vulnerable,
so I don't know why it's in such a big box, unless it's for shelf space
(instead of hang-tag space) since it's far more expensive. Contains
lower tube assembly with fins and coupler, upper tube, camera/nose cone,
parachute, shock cord, USB cable, CD, and instructions.
The rocket is designed to use D12-3 and D12-5 only. Haven't done any
simulations to see if it would work with C11's. It would probably work
okay with single-use Aerotech E motors, but the plastic fin can is one
of those that has the 'screw on' back, so RMS motors won'ts work.
Further, they glue the thrust ring in (no engine hook), so you're unable
to fit the Estes 'E' engines in place.
The camera itself is very lightweight, and according to the
specifications is sized for a BT-60 tube. Based on the other comments
I'm making here, I'd definitely put it on another BT-60 rocket (or roll
your own), instead of just flying it stock.
The only 'assembly' involves using plastic cement to glue the upper body
tube to the plastic coupler, and putting the usual Estes paper shock
cord mount in the tube. You must also attache the parachute. The good
news: it's a ripstop nylon chute, and they've put an eyelet on the top
of the nose cone to allow attachment at the tip, so that you can get
video of the ground during descent. The bad news: the eyelet is part of
the molded plastic of the 'nose', and I can see it breaking off pretty
quickly. Further, to attach it this way, you must supply your OWN 12"
braided cord to connect the parachute to the camera nose.
The camera does NOT use flash memory, it appears to be entirely RAM
based. They warn out that turning the unit off will erase your picture
-- thus, you'd better have a laptop handy out in the field if you plan
on downloading your video. The camera has an on/off slide switch, and a
push button. Pushing the push button starts the green LED blinking for
15 seconds, after which it starts recording for 30 seconds. LEDs then
turn off to save power (which is one AAA battery).
I don't know what will happen if you push the button a second time
during the sequence, hopefully it won't do anything (otherwise, I can
see the ejection shock resetting an awful lot of videos). I'll
Opinion so far -- I'll probably launch it once or twice 'stock' just for
the heck of it, but the basic rocket is a piece of #@*. Using plastic
glue on paper tubes/plastic couplers is a sure-fire way to have things
fail, as the glue never seems to hold too terribly long for those
materials. And what would it have taken to simply put the thrust ring
in for an 'E' engine, and then supply a spacer for D-E use? And
finally, I would imagine that most folks would want to launch it in the
'camera down' position, so would it really have been that difficult to
add the 12" of braided cord to the kit? After all, for the kind of
money they're asking for it, these are trivial details.
The camera itself seems fairly well thought out (despite the lack of
flash or expandibility), but I'll reserve judgement until actually using
it. One of the first things I'll have to do is to find a better BT-60
rocket to fly it on.
17 years ago