The Cluster Buster

Brief Description:

A 12 volt relay box used to light clustered igniters.  The system utilizes an auxiliary battery, 12 volt car type, in combination with a launch control.  It is capable of firing 1 to as many as eight of our standard igniters, please note I stopped testing at eight, it may fire more.  These include our Super Fat Boys, Fat Boys, Slim Gems and Twiggy igniters.  Use of the Cluster Buster with other brands of igniters may vary.  Ground testing is always the best and safest bet.


Step: Task:
Your Cluster Buster and auxiliary battery need to be at the pad you plan on using.  See photo.
On one end of the Cluster Buster you will see a heavy set of wires, these have the large Red and Black battery clamps.  Attach these to your auxiliary battery.  Observe polarity, red on the positive terminal and black on the negative terminal.



The auxiliary battery needs to be a car type battery.  Mine is an Everstart I purchased from Wal-Mart for about $35.00.  It is rated at 540 cranking amps and 450 cold cranking amps.  Use a similar or stronger battery.

Look at the top of the Cluster Buster.  If the red LED labeled Aux Power is on your battery is hooked up properly.  If it is not on, you either have a dead battery or you have polarity reversed.
Now you need to hook up the trigger.  Attach the launch control leads up to the two leads labeled “Trigger”.  This is the same procedure you would use to hook the launch control leads up to your igniter.  The only difference is you will be clipping the launch control leads up to the Cluster Busters “Trigger” leads instead.  Ask the LCO to push his launch button.  If you hear a clicking noise coming from The Cluster Buster, everything is in good shape.
Now you are ready to hook up your Igniter(s).
In this simulation the rocket will be flying on three SU Aerotech  G-40’s.
Use the Cluster busters continuity check to test each of the three igniters.  Do this one igniter at a time.  Hook the igniters to the Igniter Clips and press the Continuity Check button.  This is the black button located on top of the Cluster Buster.  If the green continuity check LED glows when you push the button the igniter has continuity.  If it does not, the igniter is bad, dispose of the bad igniter and replace.
Insert the igniters into the rocket motors as required.
Separate the leads and twist one wire form each igniter together.  Do the same for the other three leads.  Your igniters need to be hooked up in parallel.
Hook the Cluster Busters Igniter leads up to your igniters.
You are now ready to launch.
Back off and turn the launch over to the LCO.
When he finishes his count down and presses his launch button the Cluster Buster takes over.  The launch control trips the firing trigger and directs all current from the auxiliary battery to your igniters.  The end result is a successful Clustered flight.
Use the Cluster buster a few times and you will be an expert.  It’s very simple to hook up and use.
Good Luck!  Be sure to let me know how my products perform for you.

Here is a photo of my 3 X 29mm rocket shortly after lift off.  I was able to light three Aerotech G-40’s at once.  The rocket weighs in a little over two pounds.  Estimated altitude was about 3000 feet.  All three motors came up at once.  The Cluster Buster can be purchased on line here.

Bench testing movie.  You can view the bench testing movie here.  I show bench tests using our standard 12 volt igniters.  In clusters of two, four six then eight igniters.

The Cluster Buster was designed to work with QuickBurst igniters.  Other brands of igniters may have different results.  Be sure to ground test before you bet your bird.

Clustering tips:

  1. Be sure to ground test, I can’t emphasize this enough.
  2. Bunch your leads together and tape them to the side of your rocket.  Masking tape is fine.
  3. Coil several added feet of igniter lead at the base of the rocket.  This will give you a little more time to get all motors going.
  4. Simulate your flight using Wrasp or any other flight simulation program.  Know the predicted altitude before you fly.  The LCO will need this information recorded on his flight card.
  5. Simulate your rockets design using one of the many design programs available.  I suggest VCP or equal.  VCP is freeware and can be found here.   Design your clustered flight to fly safely if only one motor lights.
  6. Fly safe.  Join TRA or NAR.  Become a certified rocketeer.
  7. Learn and practice the safety codes.


The Cluster Buster can also be used as a Launch Control.  I have been able to close the trigger circuit using 50 feet of telephone wire and a 9 volt alkaline battery.  Longer distances have not been tested but are a possibility.   I believe the trigger circuit can be closed using most any launch control.  Very little current is required to operate the trigger.

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