Electric release for Clark Cable system

Discussion about Compressors, hose, pipes, fittings, launchers, release mechanisms, and launch tubes.
bmwhite
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Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bmwhite »

Thought I would share the cheap electric release I made for a Clark cable tie tauncher. The main part is a "Universal Power Dook Lock Actuator". You can find these rather cheap on eBay. I bought mine for $5.00 with free shipping (U.S.) from the seller 12volt. But there are other sellers as well. These come with most parts you need including a little brass clamp that attaches to the collar. Even though these are made for autos and 12-volt systems they work fine from a standard 9-volt battery. A plus of this system is that you do not need a spring to hold the collar up. The actuator is easily raised to the extended position and will stay there. Then apply 9 volts and it pulls downwards releasing the bottle. The actuators are bi-directional. Depending on how you connect the 9-volt positive and negative it will either extend when powered or retract.

Here is a pic of the kit I bought from eBay:
actuator.jpg
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First, take the metal strip and cut it so there are only three slots. Basically it should just cover the two mounting holes on the actuator. Attach with screws provided but insert a hose clamp in the middle like this photo:
mount.jpg
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Next cut a small notch in your collar and attach the small brass clamp using two of the clamp screws. The eBay kit I bought has this clamp. Other kits do not so look carefully at the item you buy. Here is a pic:
clamp1.jpg
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One other thing I did was to keep the white tip of the actuator from rotating. I found this made the collar more stable. I did this by putting a dab of plastic cement inside the tip so that it no longer rotated when dry. Position the hole so it is parallel with the metal strip (see pic above for alignment).

You can then put the rod that came with the actuator kit through the tip of the actuator and attach to the brass clamp using the third brass screw. Before tightening that screw make sure the collar is aligned and level. Here is how it looks assembled:
assembled.jpg
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You may need to shorten the rod depending on hpw long your launch tube is. Here is mine mounted on my launcher. You will want to make final adjustments to the brass clamp holding the rod once mounted.:
final.jpg
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Now to activate the actuator, wire the two leads to a 9-volt battery with a momentary switch in line. It only takes a quick 9 volts to cause the actuator to retract. Make sure you get the wires right, I used wired nuts while testing. To make my switch I took a small pill bottle and mounted a momentary switch in the lid and ran an old telephone cable out the bottle through a hole. The 9-volt battery fits nicely inside the bottle. Here is a pics:
switch.jpg
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I plan to use this for kids and may even put a second 'kill' on/off switch inline so that they can't accidentally launch it.
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Asupremeflight
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by Asupremeflight »

nIce. i am assuming the actuator is 100% waterproof?
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bmwhite »

According to the description it is waterproof. However I am a little skeptical and would decribe it as moisture-resistant.. The rubber boot on the white tip end seems a little loose and I think water (especailly at 40+ psi) would seep in. Under the boot the plastic actuator arm has a small gap where it enters the housing. Otherwise it seems like it will hold up but I haven't tested with water filled rockets yet, just air-filled. I will probably add a bead of caulk just in case. Works great for $5.00.
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ptx
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by ptx »

Very nice your idea. Thx for sharing.
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Asupremeflight
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by Asupremeflight »

Well the nice thing about building water rockets is you always have plenty of spare bottle parts laying around so you could use a piece of pet to make a splash guard. Problem solved. :D
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U.S. Water Rockets1
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

The actuator comes out of a door of a car, so it has to be water resistant. It is probably not going to survive if you submerge it in a bucket, but it should be fine with spray from a rocket. It probably would work even under water because most motors work under water, but the submerged actuator will probably rust inside and not work later.
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bugwubber
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bugwubber »

Check radioshack for their 6v SLAs. Don't know if it was just my local store but they just sold me two small 6v 4.5ah SLAs for $8...total! I see a field power box already taking shape in my head.
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bmwhite
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bmwhite »

I would like to get some of those for other projects. But really a small 9V transistor battery will probably provide several hundred actuations. These actuators just need voltage for a split second. They are more like servos - apply volatage and they move to their new position. Rempve voltage and they stay put. Now if a kid holds down the button, that wastes energy (mine pulls about 2 amps) so definitely use a momentary switch. But I have probably tested mine 50 times and the battery is still good on a battery tester. I think they could power a couple of actuators also. You could always parallel a couple of batteries if you are concerned.

Bugwubber, I saw your launcher and thought you could use these instead of your block and tackle. You could probably put two actuators to get a good straight pull. The guy I bought mine from sells a two-pack for about $10. Note you would not need your springs anymore. These do a good job holding the launcher in the armed position without them. They only travel 7/8ths of an inch so you might need a small lever mechanism.
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bugwubber »

bmwhite wrote:I would like to get some of those for other projects. But really a small 9V transistor battery will probably provide several hundred actuations. These actuators just need voltage for a split second. They are more like servos - apply volatage and they move to their new position. Rempve voltage and they stay put. Now if a kid holds down the button, that wastes energy (mine pulls about 2 amps) so definitely use a momentary switch. But I have probably tested mine 50 times and the battery is still good on a battery tester. I think they could power a couple of actuators also. You could always parallel a couple of batteries if you are concerned.

Bugwubber, I saw your launcher and thought you could use these instead of your block and tackle. You could probably put two actuators to get a good straight pull. The guy I bought mine from sells a two-pack for about $10. Note you would not need your springs anymore. These do a good job holding the launcher in the armed position without them. They only travel 7/8ths of an inch so you might need a small lever mechanism.
Oh trust me, I've been thinking about this. My release bar has 1" cutouts
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youwhatwhat
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by youwhatwhat »

Una Magifica IDEA, gracias
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U.S. Water Rockets1
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by U.S. Water Rockets1 »

bmwhite wrote:I would like to get some of those for other projects. But really a small 9V transistor battery will probably provide several hundred actuations. These actuators just need voltage for a split second. They are more like servos - apply volatage and they move to their new position. Rempve voltage and they stay put. Now if a kid holds down the button, that wastes energy (mine pulls about 2 amps) so definitely use a momentary switch. But I have probably tested mine 50 times and the battery is still good on a battery tester. I think they could power a couple of actuators also. You could always parallel a couple of batteries if you are concerned.

Bugwubber, I saw your launcher and thought you could use these instead of your block and tackle. You could probably put two actuators to get a good straight pull. The guy I bought mine from sells a two-pack for about $10. Note you would not need your springs anymore. These do a good job holding the launcher in the armed position without them. They only travel 7/8ths of an inch so you might need a small lever mechanism.
It's easy to forget how much power that you can get from a simple 9V battery. They are cheap and plentiful, and you can get them everywhere. If you are worried about the kids wasting power, you can wire them up with a limit switch that disables the "down" button when the release has moved far enough. This is what is usually used to stop the power windows in a car from running the motors when the windows are at the limits.
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bmwhite
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bmwhite »

Update: Tested my electric actuator system today with water and it worked great. We launched about 25 times and each one was perfect. Also, there was no problem with water splashing on the actuator in a bad way. Just wiped it off when I got back home. Here is a video of one of the launches:
[youtube][/youtube]
bmwhite
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bmwhite »

Well apparantly I don't know how to embed youtube links or I am not allowed. Here is an old fashined url:
[youtube][/youtube]
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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bugwubber »

Saw the video- love the fact that there's no pulling on the launcher. The [youtube] button in the editor disappears on all of my mobile devices. Can only see and use it when I'm on my desktop. Haven't had success just typing in the tag either.

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Re: Electric release for Clark Cable system

Post by bugwubber »

bmwhite wrote:Well apparantly I don't know how to embed youtube links or I am not allowed. Here is an old fashined url:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr52AQUc1-M
You need to drop the s from https to get that to work
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