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  1. #51
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    Update 12 APR 12:

    I received the weather balloon and I also got the Canon camera today. I was able to load the hack software onto it so it can boot from that now. I also already got a custom script working so that it auto-takes photos. Next up will be modifying the GPS phone with an external antenna and testing the camera shots and battery life with lithium batteries. One more somewhat big hurdle down now that I have the hack software working on the camera. Holy crap does it open up a HUGE amount of additional settings you would have never thought you could have on a point and shoot cam. For those that may be into photography you might want to check it out. Allot of stuff that I don't understand.
    Last edited by rocket5979; 04-12-2012 at 08:52 PM.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

  2. #52
    Sold GTO wasn't Redneck Enough Wagonbacker9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket5979 View Post
    Update 12 APR 12:

    I received the weather balloon and I also got the Canon camera today. I was able to load the hack software onto it so it can boot from that now. I also already got a custom script working so that it auto-takes photos. Next up will be modifying the GPS phone with an external antenna and testing the camera shots and battery life with lithium batteries. One more somewhat big hurdle down now that I have the hack software working on the camera. Holy crap does it open up a HUGE amount of additional settings you would have never thought you could have on a point and shoot cam. For those that may be into photography you might want to check it out. Allot of stuff that I don't understand.
    you're still limited by the lens, so even with all the options opened up you really can't do shit with most of them.
    Carl
    2006 M6 QSM - SOLD
    1993 K2500 ECSB

  3. #53
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wagonbacker9 View Post
    you're still limited by the lens, so even with all the options opened up you really can't do shit with most of them.

    Touche. At the end of the day it is still just a little point and shoot cam. I was still impressed by the amount of options the hack program unlocked.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

  4. #54
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    Update: 13 April 12

    I received the 5 foot wide nylon parachute today which looks pretty trick. The guy I bought it from is a big rocketry enthusiast and was the first civilian to launch a rocket into space. Very cool guy to talk on the phone with, and it just so happened my son and I watched his rocket launch video about 30 minutes prior without even realizing it was the same guy. When placing the order I had inquired about a military/veterans discount but he said he could not do anything because he is a real small operation. So he told me he would send me a specially minted coin which was 1 of 1000 that he had sent to space in one of his rockets that he usually sells for $25. It is a pretty cool coin and will be a neat collectors item to add to the overall experience. I also received the prepaid SIM card for the GPS phone. I got it all activated, made a few tests calls, and logged onto the "internet browser" on it too. Then I was able to test the GPS program I had loaded onto it the other day. Everything started up just fine and I was able to register it on the Instamapper website and auto-send my coordinates too. Pretty much hickup free so far. The phone picked up GPS signal inside the house and transmitted its location data to the website within about 10 feet accuracy which I consider pretty good. All items are passing their initial tests with flying colors so far! I am like a kid in a candy store with all of the items arriving. I have a small area of my office sectioned off for the project materials. I will take a picture once I have received all items.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

  5. #55
    Sold GTO wasn't Redneck Enough Wagonbacker9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rocket5979 View Post
    Touche. At the end of the day it is still just a little point and shoot cam. I was still impressed by the amount of options the hack program unlocked.
    Not trying to poop on it, I'm sure it'd be fun to play with. Theres just no real functional gain to be had 90% of the time.
    Carl
    2006 M6 QSM - SOLD
    1993 K2500 ECSB

  6. #56
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    GPS Test Update:

    I tested the phone GPS last night. It was able to send its position for a total of 6 hours on just the phone battery itself. I set it to send the signal every 2 minutes which translated in 180 waypoints that it sent to the Instamapper tracking page before the battery died. It was very easy to track on the Instamapper site and I discovered I can even enter latitude/longitude coordinates into my Droid RAZR phone navigation program and it will guide me to them. The phone should have signal until about 10,000 feet on its way up and, when it is descending should regain signal about 6,000-8,000 feet above ground. By rough calculations the descent rate should be about 936 feet per minute with the parachute I am using and the estimated payload weight. This should give the phone about 3 times to send the GPS signal out before it touches ground which may or may not cause it to lose signal depending on where it lands. So while it passed with flying colors I would feel more comfortable if the battery lasted for twice as long as it should need to just for a good buffer in case it gets blown off course or flies longer than expected. A portable charger will solve this with no problem.

    Next up is cold environment testing for all equipment to see how function and battery life are affected.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

  7. #57
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    Update" 19 April 12

    I tried to find the special oddball connector pigtail that will connect from the GPS phone circuit board to a wireless router antenna at Radio Shack today. They had zero idea if I was even speaking English when I asked them about the connector. haha. I ended up getting it and a few other small project items from Amazon tonight. Hopefully if all items come in by next week then I can assemble it all and begin final testing. I also ended up buying a few cheap small ratchet tie-down straps that I will cut up and use the webbing for a support harness for the pod. Amanda will sew it together with her sewing machine, and then it will attach to the rest of the rig with a small and lightweight, but strong metal shackle. I almost forgot that we picked up the high density foam from Joann Fabrics that will serve as the cushion/insulation for the inside of the pod for all of the electronic equipment.


    527545_2936279092046_1413154449_32183103_420565192_n.jpg

    This is the weather balloon fill nozzle / buotancy test rig we built yesterday. It will allow easy filling of the balloon and also ease of testing how much lift it has too, which will determine how much helium is in it, ascent rate, burst height, etc. This should come in pretty handy during launch day.
    Last edited by rocket5979; 04-18-2012 at 11:58 PM.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

  8. #58
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    Update: 23 April 12

    I figured a few pictures are in order. We now have all major items in hand for the project and construction has begun. So far I have used a holesaw and dremel tool to put the holes in the side and bottom of the pod where the still cam and video cam will point outboard. I will be attaching a protective plastic lens to the outside of the pod in these places to keep everything insulated against cold, waterproof it, and keep dust off of the optics. Amanda plans to sew the black webbing for the pod harness together here tomorrow hopefully. There is also a basic layout of how the electronics will set while in the pod in the other pictures too.

    ILNS-1 Project Items.jpg

    Here are all of the project items. It should be fun putting it all together.

    ILNS-1 Pod layout first layer.jpg

    This is just a basic layout of how I plan to put things into the pod before I slide the foam over top to lock it all in place.

    ILNS-1 Pod layout second layer.jpg

    The GPS Cell phone will rest in this top layer so that it will be close to the lid where the external booster antenna will be installed.
    Last edited by rocket5979; 04-23-2012 at 11:30 PM.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

  9. #59
    Speed Freak So.Chi.Goat's Avatar
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    So what happened with this

    Spreadin pimpin mobile from tapa son...
    2004 Pulse Red M6 1 of 517...

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  10. #60
    Senior Member rocket5979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by So.Chi.Goat View Post
    So what happened with this

    Spreadin pimpin mobile from tapa son...

    Still going strong. I just haven't bothered to update the thread here since it didn't seem like people were too interested in the project after the initial few posts so I have been updating my FB page instead. Since everything for the pod construction and sealing was finished up I performed another battery life test but this time at -15*F, which is the coldest my freezer will get. The pod stayed in the freezer for 4 hours, which is the estimated total flight time, and everything lasted with outstanding battery life. All items had battery lives that exceeded 6.5 hours, and in some cases exceeded 14 hours before I gave up on the test and called it plenty good. The internal temp was 65*F on the top level where the cell phone is located and 80*F in the bottom level where the droid-cam and still cam are mounted.

    I also wired the external antenna up which was more pain in the ass than I originally expected due to the very unique connector on the circuit board. I had to rig it a little bit to get it to work and to make sure contact is not lost I also hot glued the connector into the phone case. It gets excellent reception now with the 6" external antenna.

    I have been in contact with a representative of the FAA, as well as having read all FAA regulations FAR Sec 101 D regarding "unmanned free balloons". My project meets and easily exceeds all regulations so I technically don't even need to correspond with them or receive authorization since it is not needed. Still, out of courtesy and safety I am coordinating with them and local airports putting out a NOTAM (notice to airmen) so that local pilots can choose to avoid the area of the launch.

    About the last real thing to do before launch is get an accurate weight for the whole rig, down to +/- 10 grams. Then I need to fill my nozzle lift test weight with the proper corresponding amount of water + a few lbs extra so I get an accurate idea of buoyancy and thus be able to accurately calculate ascent rate. This is critical to ensuring that the balloon has the highest chance of following the projected path it is expected to take during the journey.

    Estimated launch date is Sunday 27 May. The launch location is currently planned for about 10 miles west of Madison, WI so that touchdown should occur near Harvard, IL. As we get closer to launch date weather will play a large factor in determining whether we launch that day and from that location too. It needs to be pretty sunny with zero rain and mild winds to provide optimum launch conditions. Monday 28 May is our alternate launch date. Here in the next week I will be picking the helium tank up and modifying the valve so it can connect to my hose/regulator valve/quick connect balloon fill system we made.
    Last edited by rocket5979; 05-13-2012 at 10:29 PM.
    -Robert-
    2009 Pontiac G8 GT 6.0 Stryker Blue..."Hairdryers"
    2005 Audi S4 4.2 Black..."Au Naturale"
    2003 Explorer XLT 4.6 Black..."Screwed twice"
    2002 Explorer Sport 4.0 V6 Green..."Au Naturale"

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