Friday, January 13, 2017

Centuri Professional Firing Panel

This is the launch controller I wanted back in the early 1970s.
The Centuri Professional Firing Panel - CLICK HERE

It had an aluminum case, a safety key that turned and a red arming light. This wasn't just a "controller", it was a FIRING PANEL!
But . . . at $14.95, I could buy a few rockets and engines. It wasn't a necessity, I already had working Centuri and Estes controllers.

These pictures were posted on the Yahoo! Old Rockets group by ez2cdave. Thanks Dave!
From the outside the controller looks simple and sturdy. You can see the black "crackle" finish on the aluminum case. 

Opened up, there's not much there. For $14.95 I was expecting more! These were probably assembled by hand, one at a time.

On the left of the brown cord is a strain relief knot inside the casing.

ez2cdave also posted the first page of the Centuri instructions.


  1. With the aluminum boxes you showed awhile back this would be easy to replicate. Once upon a time you could get "black krinkle" paint at automotive parts stores" It was popular for painting valve covers. Now that red jewel light might be tough to find.

  2. Brings back memories of my first Centuri launch pad and controller. It was a plastic button set in a small rectangular wooden block with a brown fiberboard or melamine face plate. No safety key or continuity light. The pad was a square wooden block with a hole for the launch rod and an angled deflector strip. There were holes for bolts and wing nuts for the clips and leads. It came with an asbestos pad that you were supposed to glue to the block. Every time you launched small pieces of asbestos fiber would get kicked up by the exhaust. When I think of all the kids nationwide that were exposed to those asbestos fibers---SHUDDER---.

    1. Hi BAR,
      I had one of those but never used it - it was the Centuri LIA-50 -

  3. Chris - do you happen to know of the dimensions of the Centuri Firing Panel?

    1. Hi Moontana,
      The Centuri catalog page says it was 5 1/2" X 3" X 1 1/2"-

  4. I do remember looking through the component section at the local Radio Shack store thinking how cool it would be to construct something like this. Nowadays I'd probably consider using LED rather than light bulb. Some parts that could be useful in such a build.
    Back in the early 1980s thought I thought it could be neat to implement some form of microcomputer control (but that was a pipe dream since computers were at least a hundred of dollars back then). Nowadays there are single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi Zero (which goes for about $5) - small enough that could fit in a payload bay of a model rocket.

    1. Hi Naoto,
      I've done some "project box" things before but the boxes were plastic, not the same as a metal box.
      I've played around with the idea of a home made controller but then I'd have to tote a larger battery. That's when I realize the Estes controller with AA batteries probably gets me by just fine.

    2. Some of the better-equipped electronics stores did have metal enclosures. I do remember back in the 1980s when a Dick Smith Electronics opened nearby the university -- it was like a candy store (but being the perpetually broke college student, I could only look).
      I do remember lugging around a lantern battery (and some point I started carrying two -- just in case).