For most of us the closest we will ever get to space is by doing some high altitude ballooning (HAB). For a while I have been researching the options for different types of telemetry/control systems and found some that where not Open Source, costly and/or lacked the features needed to make a successful trip. But as luck would have it I happened to stumble across the Trackuino project by Javier Martin. The feature list fits all the requirements I was looking for and it’s Open Source!
GPS: Venus 634FLPx. Reports okay above 18 Km.
Radio: The board supports Radiometrix’s HX1 (300 mW) as well as Argentdata’s MX146-8v (500 mw).
1200 bauds AFSK using 8-bit PWM
Sends out standard APRS position messages (latitude, longitude, altitude, course, speed and time).
Internal/external temperature sensors (LM60) to read temperature in and outside the payload
Support for 1 capacitive humidity sensor
Cut-down aka “suicide” mechanism: you can hook up a nicrom wire and cut the payload line if your balloon gets stuck aloft for a long time.
ICSP header for in-circuit programming
2 x SMA female plugs (1 x GPS in + 1 x radio out)
Open source (GPLv2 license), both software and hardware. In other words, do whatever you want with it: modify it, add it to your project, etc. as long as you opensource your modifications as well.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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