Arduino based rocket telemetry unit with 2.4Ghz downlink and eeprom storage

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I love launching model rockets, especially in the summer, but the lack of feedback on speed, altitude makes the launch less enjoyable.

I am setting out to build a lightweight, battery powered telemetry module for my model rockets. The goal of this project is to collect as much data from my rocket launches. My inspiration for this project comes from here:
This project set out to do what I wanted but the only problem is that the code is not open source and the developer does not want to share it. I want to create an open source solution, my code is already online from day one.

Current Hardware:

  • Arduino Nano atmega328p board
  • BMP108 - Baro Sesnor
  • 3 Axis Acceleromiter
  • 2.4GHz UART tx/rx

I have implemented my own protocol similar to how GPS communicates via serial to ensure that data reliability and readability. Currently I can get the altitude, temperature and max altitude using the live downlink and I have tested the downlink in my M1 launch to a max altitude of 150m. I have also implemented a function that will save the highest recorded altitude value to the internal eeprom of the arduino.

My current code is downloadable from here:

  • 1 × Arduino Nano atmega328p board
  • 1 × BMP108 - Baro Sesnor
  • 1 × 3 Axis Acceleromiter
  • 1 × 2.4GHz UART tx/rx

  • Going higher

    vcazan06/14/2015 at 14:13 0 comments

    It has been a few weeks since my last project log, so I thought I would share with you some updates to this project.

    Since my initial launch, I launched another 3 rockets and gathered more data using my new protocol. This proved to be successful and has inspired me to create an interface for displaying this data after the launch. I will take my inspiration once again from the AltDuino project that does a wonderful job of displaying all data in one easy to read view:

    Another update is that I purchased a much larger rocket to go higher in altitude. I will try and maintain the weight of the sensor unit the same though to ensure maximum altitude can be achieved the first launch.

    As for the electronics, I made a mistake when purchasing EEPROMs and bought the 2kb version instead of the 256kb version. These new ones have finally arrived and I will be saving all the data that has been transmitted to the external EEPROM as well to ensure that if data loss occurs during launch I can retrieve it after landing.

    Another feature I am debating is an auto launch command that would ignite the fuse with a serial command sequence. I also wanted to have a way to verify ignition has occur ed so I purchased a tiny mic that will measure sound. It is very loud when the motor launches so I will be able to "confirm" launch with that sensor and my baro. This may or may not be legal so I will double check to make sure.

    There would be a ground based launch station with a 12v boost that would take a signal from the arduino to launch, but I will need a way to unteather at least two wires from the rocket and launch station when launch occurs, so I am still working out this.

    I plan on launching the larger rocket within the next week or so and I will post pictures and data when I do.

  • Firmware Updates v0.2

    vcazan05/10/2015 at 22:59 0 comments

    After the success I had yesterday with my data link and flight sensor I really wanted to spend some time reworking the code.

    I developed a simple yet effective communication protocol much like GPS units use with a XOR checksum at the end to verify data.

    Here is a picture of the debug screen now after the update:

  • Launch Day M1

    vcazan05/10/2015 at 02:58 0 comments

    Today was launch day for our M1 rocket. We had three successful fights and had a live data link the entire time. On our last launch the nose cone became disconnected from the chute and free fell back to earth but stayed on and transmitted data the entire time.

    I will do a complete writeup of the results tomorrow and I have pushed the code we used for this test on github here:

    Flight 1: 119m

    Flight 2: 155m

    Flight 3: 110m

    Here is a quick graph I generated during the test and a few pictures from today.

View all 3 project logs

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Glen Arrowsmith wrote 09/12/2022 at 13:56 point

Nice project. I've got a similar one with water rockets that I'll post soon. I wish you had posted more details. 

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EngineerAllen wrote 02/01/2017 at 22:40 point

this must be old

its all about bmp280 now

even bmp180 a few years ago..

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ActualDragon wrote 11/14/2016 at 00:55 point

kind of sounds like anti-rocket to me

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Kaloyan Tenchov wrote 01/31/2016 at 19:57 point

I really like your project and the results that you have achieved.

Would you please, share more details on the hardware?

More specifically:

- what battery are you using to power the 5V Arduino Nano?

- why not using Arduino Pro Mini that has a 3.3V variant and power everything with a 3.3V Li-Po battery?

- what is the "2.4GHz UART tx/rx" module that you are using?

- you do not seem to be using a "3 Axis Acceleromiter" at the moment. Is this correct?

A schematic would be nice.


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Charles Lakins wrote 05/10/2015 at 04:39 point

Great Work Man!

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