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.
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