Author Archive for Outside Open

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GoPro camera arrived :)

Thanks to sponsorship from Bob Schmitt and Tanya Parker we were able to get a tiny GoPro HD video camera and battery backpack – this will give us HD video for the entire flight and decent!

Thanks y’all!

Balloon in the house!

The Rudys Beat balloon and parachute arrived today!  We now have everything we need for the launch except for the helium 🙂
Here are some photos of the balloon, parachute and first attempts at cutting clean holes in the payload capsule…

HAPPy launch details set!

We will be launching the balloon at 06:30 AM March 26th from Morro Bay, CA and estimate that the capsule will land north of Bakersfield.
Geoff, the kids and I will spend the night in Morro Bay and will drive to Calico immediately following the launch. Please contact me if you are interested in joining us for the launch or recovery.
balloon trajectory forecast

HAPPy test drive

I ran a GPS test today on the way to work!  Now that we have the battery power figured out it is time to start some real world data collection and analysis 🙂

Friday drive - click for larger version...

More power Scotty!

I powered the HAPPy computer for a solid 4.5 hours on the Energizer Lithium AA battery pack today – this is more than enough needed for the flight which should last just over 2.5 hours!

The computer  (an Alix board with USB ports connected to GPS and cell phone)  will SMS GPS co-ordinates to the recovery team as it descends which, along with Apple’s “Find My iPhone” app, will provide redundant methods for finding the capsule when it lands.

Shout out to John Reeve for introducing me to htop, a very cool top replacement.

I’ve got the power!

I successfully powered the in-flight Alix computer today for 35 minutes with a 9V battery.  Tomorrow I’ll build a 6 cell lithium AA battery pack which should give several hours of power – enough to last the entire flight 🙂

Thanks to Jay H. for the battery tips!

Temperature sensor logging in CHDK

If you are interested in using the intervalometer and temperature logging lua script, you can download it from

CHDK in space :)

I installed CHDK on the Canon G9 which will enable us to write an intervalometer script to take a high resolution RAW photo every 30 seconds for the duration of the flight 🙂

New sponsors!

We are happy to announce that we have two new sponsors!  World renowned photographer and author, Chris Orwig has donated an iPhone 3GS and Geoff’s brother Luke has contributed 30 feet of nylon that we will be using to connect the payload to the sounding balloon.

Thanks guys!

The paperclip trick – power up a computer PSU without motherboard…

We are testing a stripped down 3.5″ hard drive to see if it will 1) act as a good gyroscope and 2) run on an 18V battery pack for 2.5 hours…

We have been using an old ATX power supply to power the drive on a tether and a quick google introduced the “paperclip trick” where you short the only green pin with one of the adjacent brown ground (COM) wires to turn the PSU on… This means no more need to have an old motherboard connected to the PSU just to get power flowing. Pretty nifty!