A Balloon data acquisition system for the Raspberry Pi (part 1 of ??)


raspberry pi

Introduction

I hope to fly a Raspberry Pi in a high altitude balloon as a data acquisition and logging system. An intriguing capability the Pi could add to a balloon payload is to host a web server and web page for testing, configuring hardware before and during launch, and to download data after or even before landing. Data could be accessed before retrieving the payload from the tree :), This is a first look at some of the software and hardware to support this effort. This could be considered a first draft as I have learned some things the require different choices in hardware. The Pi offers a low cost computer system. I’m using version A (2011) hardware with the Raspbian “wheezy” 2013-05-25 software image (2013-05-25-wheezy-raspbian.zip ).

Prototype Board

1st draft balloon prototype board.

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First Thoughts on Recharging a Battery during balloon flights


Warning … Warning … The following is unencumbered with a reality check – or even research.  You have been warned.

Recharging

Schematic Fragment

My problem is that I would like to power a Raspberry Pi (5V about 0.8A) during a balloon flight (4 hrs) using an 11.1V LiPo battery maybe 300 to 800 mAhr, supplemented with a 15W array, instead of using a 4000 mAhr battery.  I try to size things to run 4 hrs.  And no, I don’t know if this actually saves weight.  However it would be cool to accomplish.

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Gas Sensors


Contrail Path

GPS of the Jet and Balloon payload.

A recent balloon flight by Explorers post 632, instrumented with Futurlec.com gas sensors (also available from SparkFun) appears to have detected jet fuel gases in a contrail.  I did not expect these sensors to be sensitive enough to detect anything.  I’m pleased to be wrong, and will need to start figuring out how to use them.  Perhaps a small suite of Ozone, CO2, Air Quality, and Humidity? would be useful to fly regularly.