Thanks to Troy C. for sharing his story building a helium-filled balloon to take pictures of the recent #SolarEclipse – the moon’s shadow! – which passed near his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He built a custom trackuino shield for Arduino Uno, in combination with an Adafruit PowerBoost 500 Shield – check out the build below, and first up here’s some more details on the project:
-The balloon was a Totex 1000g filled with helium. And the recovery parachute was 48″ in diameter.
-A Canon AS1100 (eBay) hacked with CHDK and running a lua intervalometer script (focus locked to infinity, zoom locked to WA, and exposures at 5 second intervals.
-The homebuilt trackuino shield was jacked in on top of an Arduino Uno and broadcasting APRS packets at 9600 baud at 144.390 MHz every 30 sec. with GPS and sensor data via a homemade 1/4 wave 2m antenna at 300mW. Thanks to Hank Cantrell (W4HTB) for the help tuning SWR.
The rest, like the buzzer and LEDs, were scrounged from older, unrelated projects and cobbled together into a payload (medical styrofoam shipping cooler) that was small enough to retain heat and keep the batteries warm (lithium not alkaline).
The pictures (32GB card full) are good, but the learning was great.
High altitude balloon launch and recovery on eclipse day!
Thanks Tracy for the very wide-open launch site and Kevin for the all-day assist. You can see the moon’s shadow in a few of the pictures (mid-flight). We had a really good day today.
98,000 feet to burst altitude
Touchdown at 3:45
Here’s a picture taken shortly after launch:
Heading up still:
Looking back down on earth, covered in the moon’s shadow:
Here’s the route the balloon took from launch to crash-and-recovery:
With a 3D elevation plot:
(Full photoset can be seen here.)