RDAS (Rocket Data Acquisition System) FLIGHT COMPUTER
The R-DAS Mini, Compact R-DAS, and the older, now discontinued Classic R-DAS, by AED in the Netherlands, are undoubtedly the most sophisticated pieces of avionics on the market used by non-professional rocketeers. Not only is the R-DAS a full blown recording altimeter/accelerometer, which beeps and flashes out the altitude after the flight, but it also includes 6 analogue inputs, 4 digital inputs, data logging at 200 Hz per channel, and is expandable with output boards for controlling up to 10 output events, as well as real time telemetry via a plug-in telemetry unit, XY accelerometer module, magnetic field module, thermocouple module, GPS module and On Screen video display module. The R-DAS is quite simply, head and shoulders above all the other avionics systems on the market.
- Does everything you are ever likely to want in a piece of rocketry electronics, and then some more on top of that.
- Expandable with extra boards.
- The software is very easy to use.
- Software is available to connect the R-DAS to PCs or PDAs running Windows, Windows CE and PalmOS.
There are very few cons with the R-DAS, and I must admit, the only cons I can see, have more to do with my personal preferences with rocketry avionics, rather than any real cons.
- The 8051 CPU in the Compact R-DAS and Classic R-DAS. I think they should have used a PIC CPU.
- The location of the on/off switch on the R-DAS Classic, and the need to drill a hole in the rocket to flick the switch with a screwdriver or other similar object, is a bit cumbersome in my opinion. It may have been better to also include an extra connection on the board to allow an on-off switch to be wired in and mounted on the airframe, but then again, that way leads down the same path as the IAX-96 with its wiring harness, which from what I have seen, can be cumbersome. The option to wire in a switch is included on the R-DAS Compact.
- The wiring harness on the R-DAS Mini. Personally, I'm not convinced that a wiring harness was a good move, because of the added complexity and fiddling around required.
My previous gripes were answered, when AED produced the Compact R-DAS, which fits in a 38mm diameter airframe, then the Mini R-DAS which fits in a 29mm airframe, and with the availability of the Linux source code for the R-DAS download software. AED are an incredibly helpful and responsive company, and always take onboard any comments from their customers. Really good customer support!
Additional R-DAS Resources
- R-DAS Flight #1
- R-DAS Flight #2
- R-DAS Flight #3
- R-DAS Flight #4
- R-DAS Flight #5
- R-DAS Flight #6
- R-DAS Flight #7
Where to buy the R-DAS?
The R-DAS and its modules can be bought from vendors such as Rocketstore in the UK, and Rebel Rocketry in the Netherlands, both of whom I have used a number of times before, and as a satisfied customer, I can highly recommend. Additionally, Aerocon not only sell all the AED modules for the R-DAS, but also the 3rd party magnetic field sensor module and thermocouple module. The R-DAS and the AED manufactured modules, are also available to buy online direct from the manufacturer at the AED website.
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