66% or better

Wireless fireworks controller includes several safety features

fireworks-controller

[Craig Turner] wrote in to tell us about the wireless fireworks controller he just finished building. It has eight total channels and offers the kind of safety features we like to see when working with explosives.

The image above details the launcher side of the project. The project box houses an Arduino which is powered by a 9V battery. To enable this base station the key lying on top of the project box must be inserted and turned to the on position. To the left is the 12V battery which is used to supply the igniters via a set of eight relays. In the demo video after the break [Craig] is using nichrome wire to demonstrate, but we’ve even see projects that actually burn up resistors to light the fireworks.

The system uses RF12 wireless modules to communicate with the control panel. That also has an Arduino, along with a number pad. After switching on the power the operator must enter a PIN code before the system will allow any of the fireworks to be launched.

[Read more...]

Reminder: SpaceX launch tomorrow. Watch it live!

There isn’t a hacker out there that isn’t interested at least a little bit in the prospect of building a mission specific rocket to explode someone off the face of the planet… without killing them. We got a tiny taste of what is coming when they let us watch their engine test a few weeks ago. Tomorrow, May 19th, they are going to broadcast a launch live! You can watch it on their site beginning at 1:15 AM pacific. For some additional insight, you can also read the tweets of [Elon Musk], the founder of spaceX during the event.

Take a few minutes and enjoy the video below that discusses the program and some of the engineering obstacles they’ve had to overcome.

[via BoingBoing]

[Read more...]

Profit-less space program launches in one week

The Copenhagen Suborbitals are now within one week of their first launch. We looked in on the non-profit and non-secretive space program back in March but we had no idea the group had a frickin’ submarine at their disposal. What you see above is the rocket on its floating launch platform. The submarine will haul it out into the Baltic Sea for launch. There’s not much room in the craft for an astronaut but it will be a horrifying an exhilarating flight. According to the spacecraft page the human payload will be in a half-sitting, half-standing position looking up through an acrylic nose dome. This first launch will not be manned, but once they get through the tests this will be one crazy ride.

Missile Command on iPhone with real missiles

[Jeff] and his team completed this iPhone controlled rocket launcher as part of their final project at Georgia Tech. Two servos provide the rotation referenced by an onboard electronic compass, and elevation control for launch. These are interfaced with an eBox 2300 using a few Phidgets boards.

Check out the launch video below. It’s too bad that they went with a commercial solution for servo control rather than building it themselves (especially considering it is an embedded systems class). But it is a nice build none the less. Now they need to add some imaging equipment to the rockets and they’ll be in business.

[Read more...]

Microcontroller-powered missile launch controller

[Josef Jahn] has posted a detailed guide on building a microcontroller-based launch box. Constructed from an Atmel ATMega168 and powered by a 12V rechargable lead gel battery, the launch box is fully portable and includes a number of safety features. Going the extra mile on what could essentially be a simple push button launcher, he added three safety switches, a sixty second after-launch timer and a beautiful (not to mention rare) PLED display complete with dramatic status messages. Check out a video of the launcher in action after the break.

[Read more...]