Thursday, January 2, 2014

Beacon, testing, and more updates!

I took the time off I had over the Christmas break to do a little work on the Balloon project. Over the last two weeks, I've finalized the Beacon, as well as built a TNC-X to assist in tracking the payload.

The beacon consists of an Arduino Uno with a Sparkfun MP3 Player Shield . I used the base of masci10's Sparkfun MP3 Player Shield library to get the mp3 player functional. I'll eventually post up all the code I've used (good and bad) to GitHub and share it with the community. I then created a PTT circuit for the Icom 2AT with 3.5mm stereo  to 1/8" mono cable.

Arduino with MP3 Player Shield (I'm ashamed of the HF electrical tape in this photo. Don't judge me.)
The PTT circuit consists of a transistor connected to pin 10 and ground on the Arduino, and run to a transistor, a capacitor and two pullup resistors on a breadboard. I felt the breadboard would add stability in case of a crash landing. Who knows if I'm correct, but hopefully we won't have to find out.
PTT Circuit

I additionally ran a stress test and had two major successes. The Trackuino ran for over 10 hours on battery before I aborted the test as a success.

The beacon also ran for over 10 hours on battery before I aborted the test as a success.

The ATV transmitter ran for over 5 hours, but unfortunately, the Camera seems to have blown a regulator during the test. I'll get that back up and running and re-test. 

My TNC-X in Operation. Ready to listen for the Balloon.