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Rocket Balloon Concept

All non-spudgun related discussion goes here such as projects, theories, serious questions, etc. All "off-topic" posts (aka useless posting, determined by moderators) will be removed.
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Unread postAuthor: MRR » Sun Jul 26, 2009 9:43 am

We are talking about small rockets with very little diameter.
A prefilled balloon wouldn't even contain enough gas to lift itself, besides that it would take to much space.
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Unread postAuthor: spudtyrrant » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:08 am

uhh why not use a small flare with some kind of gravity activated hammer mechanism they have some really small ones that last quite a long time plus there cheap it wouldn't weigh that much either
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Unread postAuthor: skyjive » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:33 am

Maybe a balloon isn't the right solution- in addition to the severe difficulties of finding a payload-efficient fill system, consider that if the rocket is deep in corn or something that seems to be your problem the rather wimpy balloon won't be able to deploy anyway.

What about a very long, thin, light telescoping rod that is spring-loaded to extend on impact, maybe with a flag or something at the end? Maybe wouldn't work, just a thought. Or release colored smoke on impact, marking position that way?
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:55 am

skyjive wrote:Maybe a balloon isn't the right solution- in addition to the severe difficulties of finding a payload-efficient fill system, consider that if the rocket is deep in corn or something that seems to be your problem the rather wimpy balloon won't be able to deploy anyway.

What about a very long, thin, light telescoping rod that is spring-loaded to extend on impact, maybe with a flag or something at the end? Maybe wouldn't work, just a thought. Or release colored smoke on impact, marking position that way?


Another solution is the one used to locate RC gliders. A loud beeper. You see the direction it comes down and head that away. When close you can hear it.

They are light, very small, and use little power. Check the sound samples on the page. Turn down the speakers first.
http://www.skykingrcproducts.com/accessories/lostmodel/lost_rc_model_alarm.html

Without an RC control, these are a good substitute. http://www.keyringer.com/
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:37 am

If you want to be proper hi-tech you can get mini GPS beacons on eBay for not that much money.

Image

Some of them are as little as 70 bucks
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Unread postAuthor: Ragnarok » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:45 am

Technician1002 wrote:A loud beeper. You see the direction it comes down and head that away. When close you can hear it.

Sound is my suggestion - much less bother than balloons.
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:00 pm

jackssmirkingrevenge wrote:If you want to be proper hi-tech you can get mini GPS beacons on eBay for not that much money.

Image

Some of them are as little as 70 bucks


The problem with those is they require a service contract.. You most likely will need an internet connection to use the map to see where the tracker is located. It might not be able to report to a cell phone where it is.

It uses the GSM/GPRS network and requires a SIM card and service plan. Price not listed.. Guess what that means.. It is a brick until you empty the wallet.

They don't list the price for the service contract. I doubt you can add it as an extra phone on your existing phone family plan. Expect another $30 - $80/month to use it. It is designed to spy on your employees or teen driver, wayward spouse, to see if they stopped at a girlfriends house on the way to a service call, shopping, school, or delivery. As such, the service is priced for business, not hobby.

Ah ha.. found a service plan online..


Tracking plans start at:
$29.95 per month for 15 pings
$59.95 per month for 720 pings


Another plan;
Tracking plans start at:
15 Minute Updates $35.95/Month, you get a location every 15 minutes
5 Minute Updates $59.95/Month
2 Minute Updates $69.95/Month
1 Minute Updates $79.95/Month



Just how much do you want to spend a month to find a toy rocket?
http://www.surveillance-equip.com/pet.gps.html

70 bucks for the unit doesn't count the yearly service plan. They seem to run well over $300/year.

Update! Some units on this page do not use a contract or the cell system. They are local area only.. No subscription fees.. :D
http://www.gps-practice-and-fun.com/gps-pet-tracking.html
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Unread postAuthor: D_Hall » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:02 pm

Another vote for sound as being the way to go.


Yet another option, however....

Use a very long streamer for recovery. Like maybe 50' long. The rocket may be hard to find, but I doubt the streamer will be. Advantage? Dirt cheap and butt simple to implement.
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Unread postAuthor: jonnyboy » Sun Jul 26, 2009 1:14 pm

D_Hall wrote:Another vote for sound as being the way to go.


Yet another option, however....

Use a very long streamer for recovery. Like maybe 50' long. The rocket may be hard to find, but I doubt the streamer will be. Advantage? Dirt cheap and butt simple to implement.


I like the streamer idea, even after the rocket hits the ground say in a corn field the extra 45' or so of streamer will just rest on top of the corn.
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Unread postAuthor: Lentamentalisk » Sun Jul 26, 2009 2:00 pm

Interesting options you guys have mentioned.
As for GPS, one of the better options is the GPS trackers for hunting dogs, such as this one: http://www.gundogsupply.com/garmin-astro.html The issue is both cost, and size. GPS locaters often don't fit in tubes less than about 3" in diameter
A loud beeper is great, once you get within 300' or so of your rocket, but if you are up wind, you can forget about it entirely. They are very handy in conjuncture with a GPS, which can get you close, but doesn't help the last 30'
At night, there is always the high power LED strobe lights, which are always lots of fun...
I love the solar balloon concept, but like inonickname mentioned, if it were to inflate high up, I may never see the rocket again, as it would have to be a fairly large balloon to be able to support itself (warm air has not very much buoyancy.)
That gave me another idea. Why not have a tiny battery powered air pump, or even fan, that will fill up a large black plastic garbage bag? It wouldn't have to be a particularly fast pump, it would just need to eventually get it full. Then it wouldn't be inflated while falling, and it could be controlled by some fairly simple electronics.
I also like the concept of an unfolding structure of some sort, that holds up a flag. It could be constructed to pop out in a tetrahedral shape, so that every way it lands is upright. The legs could be sprung to unfold when it gets pushed out of the body tube, way up at apogee. In fact, the 4 flags might be all thats needed for streamer/parachute/whatever.
When it comes to long streamers, you do have a point. Especially if they are made of mylar or similar reflective material, if it is long enough, it will twist and turn about, and glint the hell out of everything, making it pretty easy to find.

Thanks for all the ideas!
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Unread postAuthor: DinerKid » Sun Jul 26, 2009 3:35 pm

D_Hall wrote:Another vote for sound as being the way to go.


Yet another option, however....

Use a very long streamer for recovery. Like maybe 50' long. The rocket may be hard to find, but I doubt the streamer will be. Advantage? Dirt cheap and butt simple to implement.


i believe some simple rockets already use streamers as a recovery system instead of a parachute the streamers slow it down instead. i think they are only like 5-6' long though to keep weight low.
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Unread postAuthor: Lentamentalisk » Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:15 pm

@dinerkid:That is what I mentioned above... Yes, many of the lighter rockets use streamers for several reasons. First off, they can't get fouled up like parachutes do, so there is less risk. Second, they are not as prone to drifting with the wind like parachutes do. Third, the lighter rockets have less mass, and so need less upward force to slow them down. Also, the smaller they are, the more proportionally strong they are.

You guys are right, it is probably far from practical, but it would still be pretty awesome, so I want to see if I can figure it out.

Another idea I had, for the windier areas, with tall grass, is using a parafoil kite such as this (but much smaller):
Image
note that is not me, just a photo I found...
the grass would "stake" the rocket down, so the kite could fly, and it should open up on its own on the way down. Totally impractical, but pretty damn awesome if it were to work...

Chances are if I ever get around to it I will just use a giant streamer and one of those 120db personal alarms.
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Unread postAuthor: inonickname » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:49 pm

Another thing on the smoke; you could just find the average time it takes for a rocket to hit the earth after the engine has stopped producing thrust, then run a (slow) fuse which is timed to a certain length, which ignites a smoke mix (just KNO3/Suc would do, perhaps with a dye).

Sound would be easier to implement, even a key findey thing.
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Unread postAuthor: Lentamentalisk » Sun Jul 26, 2009 6:58 pm

Though I like that idea, it is fairly illegal, and very much against the NAR launching code, which makes it illegal to have any sort of flammable/explosive payload, asides from the ejection charges. It also brings up the issue of grass fires, which would be all bad...
However, you could probably pretty easily find your rocket by the huge plume of smoke and roaring flames that it starts... :twisted:
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Unread postAuthor: Insomniac » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:00 pm

I thought of smoke mix, but you might find problems with legality and safety. The nice thing about rocket engines is that by the time the parachute is out the engine is extinguished, with no fuel left over. By attaching what could be interprited as an incedinary charge to the rocket you risk legal issues as well as safety problems. The smoke charge could in theory ignite grass if it was badly designed/damaged during flight, and you could end up having the smoke itself cause problems. Suppose the rocket was to land near a highway and start spewing smoke out into the road, you could cause some problems to say the least.

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