AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

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AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by jctcba »

ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Some time ago (quite a long time), I consulted how to use the MPU6050 sensor for the purpose of measuring accelerations and movements, in this post: [Local Link Removed for Guests].

At that time I received generous guidance and help.

However, it is a duty of loyalty to assume one's own mistakes.

At the time of making that query, I was not clear about the full enviroment of ANNEX RDS, and I did not understand that the ESP8266 was different from the ESP32, and the programming environments were also somewhat different.

Having learned a bit more about the environment, I have to say that the work and development done on ANNEX RDS is truly colossal.

As I said when making that query, my technical capabilities are quite limited, I only had the memories of what back in the 80s-90s I programmed in the BASIC of computers such as SPECTRUM and TIMEX SINCLAIR 2068 (I still have the latter one), and later in D-BASE III. All of this is long gone...

When my brother told me that he was developing on a very accessible platform and explained to me about these ESP platforms, it seemed to me that to develop my on-board computer for my rockets, it might be feasible.

At first I tried to learn some of the languages currently in use like Python, but it was really difficult, slow and I didn't see any progress.

Against all the advice and predictions of those who told me that it did not exist, I decided to find out if there was any work that would implement my old BASIC language on this ESP platform.

With great joy I discovered the ANNEX RDS environment, and started working with it. Slowly because like all hobby activities, we can only give a limited amount of time to that.

Today I think the least I can say is that ANNEX RDS is light years ahead of the rest of the development concepts on these ESP platforms.

It is an environment that with a minimum initial requirement, allows people like me (with little or no preparation) to achieve development unthinkable in other environments, and at a speed of development completely unattainable in those other environments, unless they are known in depth beforehand.

Once I advanced a little in the knowledge of the particularities of the ANNEX RDS environment, I have been able to implement a project that in my opinion is very satisfactory, and that would have been impossible otherwise.

Using an ESP32 (instead of the original ESP8266) I am implementing an on-board computer that can control the entire flight system, from ramp emplacement to landing detection.

First of all, once it is turned on, it will perform a check of the functions and the modules that it has coupled.

Through an OLED screen, it will inform the execution status of the program.

Using a BMP280 module it senses temperature and altitude, and using an MPU6050 it records position and vertical acceleration.

After the initial check, although it has determined the absolute altitude with respect to sea level, it sets the "initial" or "relative" altitude to the ground as the zero level, and is in a state of waiting to detect takeoff.

When detecting -by comparison with the previous reading- that the vehicle has ascended more than 50 meters, it starts a loop where it records both the altitude data and the acceleration and position data on the "x" and "y" axes.

By comparing with the previous reading, the system detects the apogee of the vector (maximum point of height reached) when the previous reading of the BMP280 is higher than the last one recorded.

At that moment, it controls the ejection of a primary parachute by activating a first relay that fires a pyrotechnic charge. Then it continues sensing the descent until, upon reaching the predetermined height in the program -for example 200 meters- it deploys the main parachute system.

Finally, and after taking ten altitude readings that do not differ more than three meters from each other, it detects the landing and stops the system.

All this implementation does not take a total of more than ten days of programming and testing, done by an individual like me, with very elementary knowledge of the BASIC language.

The speed and flexibility of implementation that ANNEX RDS allows, added to the transparency of the language, which makes it really user friendly, is impossible to achieve in environments like Python, Java or C.

With this environment, any ordinary person who is interested in developing applications on ESP has in his hands a true "Swiss army knife" capable of allowing him to implement systems whose limits are only given by the resources we have available and the willingness to take time to understand and manage the environment.

Really, I can't find a way expressive enough to thank the development of this environment.

I think that this work should be given much more publicity, because many people like me, who like to develop our own applications and systems, would have a free way for it. For those of us who live in "difficult" countries (to put it elegantly) like Argentina, it is a true treasure.

I apologize if my post seems too effusive, but I really understand that it is the least I can do to repay the effort put in.

In future posts I will try to upload data and images of the state of development, in case they could be useful to someone, or at least as a demonstration of the unique power, versatility and ease that the ANNEX RDS environment allows.

If I had the possibility to rate it, on a scale of 1 to 10 I would give it a 15. Truly, THANK YOU SO MUCH, Francesco.
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by cicciocb »

Thanks Juan,
your message is very appreciated, in general I do not receive any feedback and is important for me to know that what I'm doing is useful for other people.
Unfortunately annex is very little known, but I see that the list of people connecting to the forum keeps growing and so I think it has managed to find his little niche in a category of people who played with the basic in their youth.
I hope that Annex will continue to be a great support for your projects, the list of the supported modules / sensors is still growing and the functionalities too.

Have a good day.
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by Electroguard »

So you probably remember Jettex pellets and fuses then!
Well done you for implementing so much useful rocketry in one program in such a short time.
Enthusiasm for Annex needs no apology, and is rocket fuel for CiccioCB to reach ever greater heights.
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by PeterN »

I can fully support Juan's comments.
In some projects I also published, a phrase often used was: "For fast prototyping I used Annex32, a very versatile BASIC interpreter for ESP32 based SoCs."
For example, I am still very excited about how little BASIC code was needed to visualize the data from the LD2410 radar sensor ( https://www.elektormagazine.com/labs/hu ... -detection )

And now Annex even seems to find its way into the stratosphere :D
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by jctcba »

It's late in the night here (22:20 hs), but I don't wanto to let your comments unresponded...
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by jctcba »

[Local Link Removed for Guests] wrote: [Local Link Removed for Guests]Mon Jul 24, 2023 7:27 pm Thanks Juan,
your message is very appreciated, in general I do not receive any feedback and is important for me to know that what I'm doing is useful for other people.
Unfortunately annex is very little known, but I see that the list of people connecting to the forum keeps growing and so I think it has managed to find his little niche in a category of people who played with the basic in their youth.
I hope that Annex will continue to be a great support for your projects, the list of the supported modules / sensors is still growing and the functionalities too.

Have a good day.
Can't believe people is so selfish to not give feedback! I'm telling my friends rocketeers over this TERRIFIC resource for developing on-board systems for our vectors.

I also think that those who are new to BASIC (or never have used it) should take a moment to study this ANNEX environment.

I am convinced that for those who are not prejudiced (like some people I know who believe that if it is not C, Python, JAVA or Assembler it is not a worthwhile language) ANNEX is an invaluable platform to develop applications with minimal demands for neophytes!

The ease of programming and immediately seeing results is unmatched, and the generous feature of being very user friendly will surely make it more and more popular.

Those of us who are ANNEX users have to spread it and make it known. I'm on that task. Thanks again, Francesco.
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by jctcba »

[Local Link Removed for Guests] wrote: [Local Link Removed for Guests]Mon Jul 24, 2023 7:37 pm So you probably remember Jettex pellets and fuses then!
Well done you for implementing so much useful rocketry in one program in such a short time.
Enthusiasm for Annex needs no apology, and is rocket fuel for CiccioCB to reach ever greater heights.
Electroguard, I don't know Jettex until you mentioned here...

I searched the term on Wikipedia and I think that here (Argentina) never came that product... Pity... It looks really nice!

Following your excellent word-game, my implementing is been possible only because -as Newton once said- I standed over the shoulders of a giant.

I hope ANNEX to be a small step for a man, but... a giant leap for all who will know it!
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by jctcba »

[Local Link Removed for Guests] wrote: [Local Link Removed for Guests]Mon Jul 24, 2023 7:55 pm ... And now Annex even seems to find its way into the stratosphere :D
Peter, I hope soon be ready to test the implementation in flying.
I'm far from strathosphere yet, but If sometime I reach the strathosphere with one vector, it surely be thanks in great part to ANNEX!!!

I may be slow in advancing, but, as my italian Granny used to say: "Piano, piano, chi va piano, va siccuro e va lontano..." (In a very free translation: easy, easy, who goes easy, go safe and far away).

Thanks!
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by jctcba »

Hi all!

It's been a while since my last report. I apologize, but I can't move forward very quickly due to my time constraints, as I already mentioned.

However, I do not want it to be understood that I have abandoned my project, that is why I share with you a video of the operational test of the first part of the system:



The ESP32 starts running the program by introducing itself and announcing its development platform: AnnexBASIC by AnnexRDS (I hope the quote is correct, otherwise I would appreciate corrections).

Then it verifies the operation of the BMP280 sensor and then presents its readings:

"Absl. Alt. XXX m.o.s.l.": is the absolute altitude of the altimeter above sea level, and is stored as a program constant: "alt_lugar".

The altitude of the rocket with respect to the ground surface is stored in the constant "alt_rampa", which is obtained by subtracting the absolute altitude from itself and adding 1.

"VECTOR alt:" is the altitude of the rocket with respect to the ground surface, it is obtained by subtracting the absolute altitude from that same value, and adding 1. It is stored in the variable "alt_vector" since this value will change as the rocket ascend.

"Temperature:" is the temperature of the location read by the BMP280 and expressed in degrees Celsius.

The system then waits for takeoff detection. This detection is carried out:

1) storing in the variable "alt_vuelo" the sum of the vector altitude (alt_vector) plus the actual absolute altitude reading detected by the BMP280. This establishes the altitude of the vector at each moment.
2) comparing "alt_vuelo" with the sum of "ramp_alt" plus 50.

If the value of "alt_vuelo" is greater than the sum of "ramp_alt"+50, it means that the vector has risen more than 50 m. in relation to the ramp, which is why it has taken off.

I have reached this point...

The program should then go into a continuous loop where it compares the altitude at each moment with the previous altitude reading. If the previous altitude reading is HIGHER than the actual altitude, it goes into a checking loop, and if it detects descent -ten readings where the previous altitude is greater than the altitude sensed in real time- it determines that it has reached apogee. and the downward slide has begun.

At that moment the system must activate the event "vector separation into two parts", and when it reach the altitude pre-determined in the program (for example 200 m) it will activate the parachute system.

In the video you can see the functionality of the program so far.

This viedo shows the first accelerometer working:



I will continue to work and share my work, which is obviously nowhere near the quality of the rest of what I see on the forum, but it demonstrates how versatile, powerful and accessible the AnnexRDS suite is!!

Kind regards!!
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Re: AMATEUR ROCKETRY ON-BOARD COMPUTER - PROGRESS REPORT

Post by Electroguard »

The OLED display suggests there may have been some parachute mishaps!
Is an interesting project, thanks for sharing.
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