This AVR Atmega16-based rocket controller is designed to be used in water rockets (or any other type of rocket for that matter). The rocket controller allows the rocket’s performance to be logged (altitude, accelerations), and provides control of the parachute deployment system. Altitude is measured using a pressure sensor device. While acceleration is measured using three accelerometers – one for each axis (X, Y and Z). The controller has a dual color LED and beeper to indicate the rocket status. The beeper also assists finding a rocket lost in bush.
The user interface to the controller is an IrDA link from a Palm PDA. No special PDA application is necessary – instead the standard memo application is used, with commands beamed to the controller, and responses and data beamed back to the PDA.
“The deployment system uses muscle-wire to activate a small catch. This catch releases the nose-cone from the rocket, allowing the parachute underneath to be released. The high current necessary for muscle-wire is provided from a super-cap which must be charged from an external power source before the flight”, said Clayton Gumbrell, the project designer.