To have a traditional dual-deploy high power rocket, you must have a flight computer. This flight computer has a built-in altimeter and programmable logic to fire pyrotechnic charges. To do my Tripoli Level 2 certification flight, I wanted to use a flight computer to get practice for my Level 3 attempt. After reading reviews online I decided on the StratoLoggerCF built by PerfectFlite which I purchased from Apogee Components. I have been very happy with this computer and have flown it on numerous flights. So, without further ado here is my ode to the PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF.
Ode to the PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF
As you can see in the picture, this flight computer is tiny. I was able to fit the StratoLoggerCF into a 54-millimeter electronics bay on my MAC Performance Scorpion. It has all the basics of a rocket flight computer. There are terminals for a power switch, battery, and 2 pyrotechnic channels. There is a socket for an optional data cable. Finally, it has a push button switch to program the altimeter to presets at the launch site.
The included documentation is outstanding. Not only does it explain how to use the PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF, it also has some very nice instructions on calculating static pressure sampling ports. These ports are needed to allow the change in air pressure as the rocket ascends to be measured by the StratoLoggerCF. The documentation also discusses the use of shear pins, what electronic matches to use, ejection charges, and ground testing.
The operation of the StratoLoggerCF is standard. On power up, the StratoLoggerCF will report its status by a series of audible beeps.
Start Up Sequence Report Beeps
- Any abnormal conditions on the previous flight
- The current flight preset
- The altitude of the main parachute deployment for the current flight
- The previous flight’s apogee altitude
- The battery voltage.
After this startup sequence, it produces a series of tones that indicate the continuity status of the pyrotechnic changes. This sequence will repeat until launch or the StratoLoggerCF is turned off.
If you buy the separate data cable (DT4U), you can configure the flight computer and download/view flight data. The flight computer comes with nine (9) preset flight profiles. You can select one of these profiles with the software or you can use the push button on the board to select one.
Try to use the same USB port when connecting the data cable to your StratoLoggerCF. The reason for this is that the software uses a comm port to communicate with the flight computer. If you change USB ports, the comm port may have changed. You then must determine what the new comm port is. By using the same USB port for the data cable, you don’t have to worry about that. On my laptop, it can take the software up to a couple of minutes to determine the new comm port.
Any of the preset flight profiles can be edited with the software via the data cable to whatever requirements are needed. On my Tripoli Level 3 certification flight, I changed one of the presets to fire the drogue ejection charge two (2) seconds after apogee. I did this because the PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF was my backup electronics system of the flight behind my Altus Metrum TeleMega.
The PerfectFlite StratoLoggerCF is a great, low cost rocket flight computer. Here are some of the things it does:
- Manages drogue and main parachute deployment
- Records data for each flight
- Reports its status and previous flight data
Here are some of the things it does not do:
- There is no telemetry downlink (Amateur Radio)
- It only has two pyrotechnic channels