Saturday, June 25, 2011

Affordable Water Rocket Servo Parachute Recovery System

U.S. Water Rockets is pleased to offer to the Water Rocket Community this groundbreaking design for  a servo operated parachute deploy Water Rocket recovery system!

One of the most challenging aspects of water rocketry is the design and operation of a reliable recovery system. Once you have mastered a working design that works every time, a whole new world of experiments opens up for you. You can fly altimeters and cameras without fear of breakage, or you can launch other experimental payloads or sensors nobody has even considered.  You may even choose to use the system to compete more effectively in egg-lofting or flight duration challenges, or perhaps even use it to qualify for a WRA2 World Record!

If you are new to Water Rocketry, please see our Water Rocket Construction Tutorials.

No matter your requirements, a reliable system that is affordable and easy to build has proved to be a hurdle that many people are frustrated by. We at U.S. Water Rockets felt that it was time to tackle this daunting problem with innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. We came up with a solution that we believe everyone can use!

Due to the enormous support and encouragement we have received from our friends and outstanding members of the community, we have released our idea as a FREE firmware package and schematic diagram which anybody can use to create a recovery system like the one shown below. 
U.S. Water Rockets officially announces the release of their free parachute servo timer deploy system software. The free ServoChron(tm) software download for the $4.30 Texas Instruments MSP430 LaunchPad board turns it into a servo controller anyone can use.
Often referred to by the generic term 'flight controller', the free ServoChron(tm) software creates a launch triggered delay servo timer for staging or recovery mechanisms. The operator controls enable very simple programming of this servo timer. 2 buttons and 3 LEDs are used to configure and program all functions. The built-in USB firmware updater allows for future free software enhancements to be downloaded with no special hardware.

To create the ServoChron(tm), you only need the MSP430 Launchpad, a Servo Motor, a LiPo battery, and a switch to detect launch. We have a tutorial on how to make an ultra lightweight launch detect switch.

To see the ServoChron(tm) in operation, please view the following video:

To download the MSP430 Firmware file for your own ServoChron(tm) servo deploy system, and the complete instructions for construction, operating and programming instructions are provided in the following link:
Water Rocket Servo Timer Deploy Assembly, Programming, and Operation Manual