R-DAS (Rocket Data Acquisition System) Flight Computer
PROS AND CONS
- Does everything you are ever likely to want in a piece of rocketry electronics, and then some more on top of that.
- Expandable with extra boards, such as igniter boards, telemetry modules and GPS modules.
- The Windows 95/98 software is very easy to use.
- Provides an audible and visual indication of peak altitude before the data has been downloaded.
- The onboard software is upgradeable.
- The manual is extremely detailed, whilst still managing to be easy to understand.
- Easy to add extra functionality for payloads via the expansion socket.
- The onboard buzzer/speaker is sufficiently loud to hear it from the ground when the R-DAS is installed high up in the payload bay of a 14 foot tall rocket!
There are very few cons with the R-DAS, and I must admit, the only cons I can see, have more to do with my personal preferences with rocketry avionics, rather than any real cons.
- The 8051 CPU. I think a PIC CPU should have been used since this would have possibly enabled the the circuit board to have been slimmer - personally, I'd have used a PIC 16F84 and a bank of EEPROMs, but then again, that is personal preference, I suppose.
- The location of the on/off switch on the R-DAS, and the need to drill a hole in the rocket to flick the switch with a screwdriver or other similar object, is a bit cumbersome in my opinion. It may have been better to also include an extra connection on the board to allow an on-off switch to be plugged in and mounted on the airframe, but then again, that way leads down the same path as the IAX-96 with its wiring harness, which from what I have seen, can be cumbersome.
- Size - it would have been awesome if it had been slim enough to fit in a 38mm diameter tube, but then again, maybe that would be expecting a bit too much !
- Software - I wish there were versions of the software for Linux, as well as a link to a Palmpilot, like the ALTACC. Not all of us are Windows lovers, and with Windows CE not having caught on, I think a Palmpilot version of the software would have been exceedingly useful.