[F-FT] Initial Estes Oracle comments

I haven't done much more than open the box yet, but here are some
initial comments...
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
experiment later.
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.
David Erbas-White
Reply to
David Erbas-White
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come fall we hopefully wll have d20-4 from quest, and then the stock rocket might come in handy.
is it possible to use a metal screw eye to replace the plastic eyelet?
you would think for $80 estes could have made it a little bit more "hardy"....
I still say estes ought to hold a movie contest.....
hopefully estes still has enough common business sense(?) to monitor rmr for feedback ...
they sure listened to customer feedback on TRF on the extra clay weight for the SS1....
shockie B)
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Additional comment: the CD is placed 'loose' inside of the plastic packaging -- no protective sleeve whatsoever. Mine is very scratched, will have to see if the computer can read it.
David Erbas-White
Reply to
David Erbas-White
That seems to be a trend in packaging *any* product nowadays. The concept of 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' has been sacrificed in favour of imposing, 'Gosh-Wow' appearances. :-(
Reply to
Len Lekx
Minor apology in order -- don't know what I was thinking when I first looked at the unit, but the nose cone (front) connection is sturdier than I thought.
On the other hand, so far I can't get it to connect properly on my laptop computer (I get an error that it can't initialize the camera when I try and run the enclosed application). Still working.
David Erbas-White
Reply to
David Erbas-White
Ended up having to re-boot and re-install things, now it appears to work correctly. It may or may not be related to the software itself, it appears as though 'Windows Update' was mucking about with my computer as I was trying to install the software (without, of course, telling me it was doing so).
The camera downloaded the video file fairly straightforwardly, and the 30 second video ends up being an 80MB AVI file.
David Erbas-White
Reply to
David Erbas-White
Oh cripes,
I had a link to a pen cam that was just released that stored a pretty good length of video. Only problem it was awkward to mount. Have a video downloaded of it flying in a rocket and one of those hand tossed gliders. Pretty long video. I remember is cost $149.00 and was just released at some giant electronics show. Da_n I was going to get one but decided to wait and lost the link. Oh well, still have the cool vids. I think it stored more than the Oracle.
Kurt Savegnago
Reply to
got a link to the test video?
of course we will be expecting to see static shots of the wall or floor and maybe the cable it was hooked up to
Reply to
tater schuld
Is there a disclaimer stating "Hard drive not included" ? ; )
formatting link

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I always wonder how a camera with an 8MB chip can generate an 80MB file. Something sure gets fat in the process.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
I think that was Chris Taylor. You can probably find his post in the Google archives.
Reply to
Roy Green
I wonder where they got the idea for that? ;)
Reply to
From Jerry, of course!!!
David Erbas-White
Reply to
David Erbas-White
Basically they do this to prevent theft... or at least to make it harder than a thin little bag. Almost like how some big retailers put calling cards in HUGE platic cases
Reply to
Countdown Hobbies
The software didn't work for me right after I installed it. I rebooted and reinstalled it and it then worked.
My firewall and anti-spyware software both signalled alarms when I installed the software, but I'm sure both were false alarms. It's the first time, however, I've seen both programs pop up warnings at the same time.
-- Roger
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