Having recently purchased a starter kit for an Alpha III Model Rocket I was unfortunately underwhelmed with the controller supplied in the kit. The main issue for me being the standard 9volt battery not producing enough power to the igniter to effectively light the engine and launch the rocket. The supplied controller is otherwise a good design (maybe a little flimsy) with the removable safety key which is great feature especially when children are around the launch area. The other problem is, well if your anything like me you will have no trouble losing that particular safety key. Instead of a removable key i opted for a dual action toggle switch and removable launch leads for safety.
My answer to the main issue was to build a more robust unit and beef up the power delivery. I was able to produce the following controller for around $35 including the Li-Po battery. Most of my supplies were purchased at my local Jaycar but I'm sure you could lower the costs buy purchasing online.

Step 1: Collect Your Materials

All materials are shown in first photo except for the Zippy Compact 850mah Battery and panel mount fuse assembly which were added after my first version failed to impress with a standard 9volt battery.

Required Materials

- project box/ adaptable box

- toggle switch

- carbon missile style toggle cover

- red LED momentary push button

- battery (please check above link for the Zippy compact battery used)

- panel mount fuse holder

- 5amp glass fuse (added for short circuit protection with the inclusion of the LiPo battery)

- panel mount banana sockets (red & black - optional)

- 1mm flex building wire

- right angled spade lugs

- heat shrink (tape could also be used)

- twin cable such as speaker wire with banana plugs at one end and alligator clips at the launch pad end

Tools Required

- pliers for cable stripping and crimping lugs

- battery drill

- 13mm drill bit

- 6mm drill bit

- 20mm holesaw

- gas torch (if heatshrink is used)

- soldering iron & solder

<p>That looks cool, what are you using to ignite the firework please?</p>
<p>Thanks Heyup, the ignitors i am using atm are the standard ESTES igniters found here http://www.estesrockets.com/rockets/engines/flight-supplies/002302-model-rocket-starters. If your purchase ESTES rocket engines they are also supplied in the pack.</p>
<p>Great instructable, easy to follow and with good pictures, i like it!</p>
<p>Thanks Toby for your encouragement, I'm glad you enjoyed it</p>
<p>Nice, neat package. I especially like the battery. When I built mine, they didn't exist, so I have heavy leads to clamp to an external battery. Here's an alternative for the banana plug and dedicated fire wire. I like to stand way back, not as much for safety as to get a better view of the launch and flight. It also gets the kids well away from the launch pad, as they really like to fire the rocket. I use a standard AC extension cord for the connection. At the controller, use a short length of cord with a female replacement cord end. At the launch pad, a short pigtail with a male plug and a couple small alligator clips makes the final connection. Then just grab your 25 or 50 foot outdoor cord when you head for the range, and you're all set.</p>
<p>Thanks for your feedback and ideas. A better view is always good, those rockets get out of sight really quick.</p>
<p>I have an idea for an improvement. Include a speaker and digital readout. When you push the button, the counter starts counting backwards with an audio voice counting 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, Ignition (with some Apollo rocket noises), 2, 1, liftoff (rocket launches).</p>
<p>Thanks, that's a great idea. I actually looked into installing an audio file countdown but I wasn't able to fit it into the slimline project box I went with.</p>
<p>nice thanks</p>
<p>For a cheap, removable, easily replaced key (removable = impossible for someone to accidentally launch while you're at the pad), wire an ordinary wall socket in place of the safety switch. Use a plug from an old extension cord as the key; twist together the wires from the plug to short the plug. Not as pretty as your solution but it works.</p><p>Nice instructable, neat execution!</p>

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