Mar
12
2014

Balloon Flight Simulator on Arduino

We are still in the process of building a redundant cutdown device to meet CASA medium balloon regulations. The redundant cutdown needs to be able to respond to condition on its own without intervention from the ground, so we have developed a balloon flight simulator that runs on the Arduino along with the cutdown code. […]

Feb
23
2014

Pressure Shield Testing

To comply with CASA regulations for medium balloons we need to fly redundant cutdown systems. Our design uses Ardunino’s (Freetronics Eleven) devices as the heart of the redundant cutdown. We have opted to use a pressure sensor to let the Arduino know if its going up, floating at the same altitude or falling. Our initial […]

Feb
13
2014

Participation in Successful Launch

Over the weekend of 8/02/2014 we were lucky enough to assist Andy Nguyen launch his latest balloon flight in Deniliquin NSW. Also there to assist were Robert Brand, his son Jason, Tim and his son Rhys. We successfully launched a 1200g balloon which was recovered 2hrs 50m later. IT achieved a height of 36,789m (approx […]

Aug
07
2013

Air Pressure Sensor

We decided we needed an accurate air pressure sensor for our payload instrument pack as well as to use in our cutdown electronics. We ordered two of the Honeywell air pressure sensors from Mouser Electronics. They were dispatched out of the US and arrived via FedEx in 4 days, not bad. The sensor we purchased […]

Jul
24
2013

Amateur Radio Standard License

The last few months have been spent focusing on studying for the next level of Amateur Radio exams which is the Standard Level. Information on getting this license in Australia is available at the Wireless Institute of Australia. This level of license allows us to use our own callsigns and legally use the radio transmitter […]

May
10
2013

SPOT and APRS Integration

The last balloon launch we participated flew a secondary SPOT tracker. Onceon the ground the SPOT was broadcasting its location of its exact location. This was great, however the SPOT tracking page is not very friendly to use in the field, especially on an iphone. SO we needed a way in the field to inject […]

Apr
28
2013

Cold Soak Testing Cutdown

We now have the cutdown working at +20C, the test below shows  it can cut through the load string. We have simulated the payload with a 2kg weight. At +20C the cutdown glows red to orange and easily cuts through the load string. The arduino is programmed to provide power to the nichrome for 5 seconds then […]

Apr
01
2013

Electronics Electronics Electronics …

Well this project is all about learning and we sure have been on a steep learning curve with the electronics side of this project. Up until now its mainly been plugging things into the arduino that just work, but we have now been working on building and interfacing our own electronics modules and troubleshooting other […]

Feb
06
2013

Payload Cutdown and Balloon Envelope Termination Design

As we are going to fly a medium sized balloon (as defined by CASA) we need to include 2 independent balloon envelope (read balloon popping) devices and 2 independent payload cutdown devices. We completed a design in early February . We decided on using timers on all devices and would perform cutdowns in this order […]

Jan
31
2013

Radar Reflector Arrived

Our radar reflector arrived in the post today. Even though we purchased it from a local website, it still came direct from the US. Its very good quality and easy to put together, highly reflective and it packs flat. Only downside is that it weighs 200g, a little more than we thought, but we will be using […]

Jan
27
2013

Payload Modules – Primary Tracker

We have redesigned the payload electronics pay to accept slide in modules. The modules we will fly on our first flight are the primary tracker module and the temperature logger and buzzer module. These slide in modules  may be used in future flights for school projects or our own science experiments. The modules are thin […]

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