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Brad is building this pretty rad GPS/accelerometer tracking device to measure the performance of his model rockets. The telemetry data will also be used to help recover the rocket. His current version uses an ADXL330 accelerometer (also found in the Wii nunchuck), a long-range xBee transmitter, and a PIC 18F microcontroller.


I particularly like the way the surface-mount-only accelerometer chip is mounted.
Update: The chip is mounted in a slotted header, or alternately a DIP component carrier. Thanks!



    1. Matt Mets says:

      Cool, thanks!

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Cool! Too bad they aren’t going to stock them anymore :-(

      1. iamgeekhearmeroar says:

        These are also called forked headers. Aries Electronics is one of the manufacturers who makes them.

        1. Simon says:

          I remember using headers like that back in the 80s to plug into the analog joystick port on the main board of my Apple 2e for a robot I built!

    2. japroach says:

      Did you just link to a $32 dip header? LOL

      oh mill-max.. (not to mention digikey for marking it up 2x).

      1. Matt Mets says:

        Yep, at that price I guess it is much cheaper just to buy some SMD breakoutboards and solder the thing up properly!

  1. Jim says:

    The ADXL330 is only rated for 3g. I think the builder is going to need to switch to a higher rated accelerometer, such as the ADXL278 (78g). Also, I would recommend coating all those solder joints with something such as epoxy. The initial take-off is going to rip those wires off of the solder pads.

    1. Matt Mets says:

      These are excellent suggestions. The author mentions that the 3g accelerometers are for testing, and will be replaced by a higher g version for the actual flights. Encasing the joints in epoxy sounds like an interesting idea, I wonder how the whole thing would stand up to the vibrations incurred in flight!