I've built and used a homemade rail launcher (my lvl1 cert) but now I'm looking for plans online for a home made controller. I've seen a few at rocketreviews.com but while I have some experience soldering (mainly battery connections for my R/C stuff) I dont have any experience dealing with schematics. I'm hoping theres some plans online with pictures etc to aid me. Also, what about pre-made systems ? I havent been able to find much.
Basically I want to be able to use it for clusters (Estes D&E) but mostly for mid-power & L1 stuff. Thanks for your help !
For a simple launch controller to meet your requirements, everything you need is at Radioshack. Get yourself a project enclosure, (mine measures 8" x
6" x 3" deep) a key switch, pushbutton momentary switch, and some 7.2V batterpack connectors. Mount the switches in the project enclosure in any order that you like. Take a 7.2V batteryback and mount it in the bottom on the enclosure. (I just mounted mine with some hot glue) Wire as shown. (please excuse my terrible ASCII art) You'll want a good length of wire out to the launch pad, so plan for that too. The 7.2V volt setup will fire 3 motor Estes clusters reliably everytime.
If you don't want to hassle with building one, visit your nearest Hobbytown USA and pick up an Estes Pro Series Launch Controller. I've heard that they are pretty good, but don't have any personal experience with using one. They are pricey too. (50+ dollars)
My Scratch Built controller. All parts from Radio Shack. For 2 pads, one of which has 6 rods. 12-14.4V system (depends on batteries used).Continuity Check via light. Power I/O key. Capable of drag race launches. See The Rocketry Forum Thread below. Schematic included.