highaltitude.log.20060817

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[03:19] <defy> hey guys, phatmonkey was it you who was telling me that you know of a company that is making a pwm switcher thingy, to switch a set of servos from one set of inputs to another?
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[09:25] <jcoxon> hmmm, on gpsd how do i make it change from sirf-II to nmea?
[09:58] <defy> hey jcoxon
[09:59] <defy> you need to edit the gpsd .mk file
[09:59] <defy> and change the ./configure options
[09:59] <defy> and recompile
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[10:35] <jcoxon> ooo thanks
[10:39] <defy> --enable-nmea i think
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[18:16] <phatmonkey> hey jcoxon
[18:17] <jcoxon> hey ben
[18:17] <phatmonkey> i've been thinking about rewriting some of the code, but i'll have to chat to freddie about it
[18:17] <phatmonkey> at the moment we have, er, 6 odd processes
[18:17] <jcoxon> well i've got gps working
[18:17] <jcoxon> and nearly got the radio modems but am experiencing a few problems
[18:18] <phatmonkey> but there aren't actually any tasks which need multiprocessing, and the interprocess communication has become incredibly complex
[18:18] <phatmonkey> oh ok
[18:18] <phatmonkey> go tthem hooked up to the serial ports?
[18:18] <jcoxon> gps is to the rs232
[18:18] <jcoxon> while the radio modem is to my hacked ttl port
[18:18] <phatmonkey> i've been thinking that all these 6 processes should be merged into a single process - it'll make it far simpler
[18:18] <phatmonkey> ok
[18:19] <phatmonkey> this'll also give us a chance to move it onto a little microprocessor like paparazzi has done
[18:20] <phatmonkey> it'll probably be faster and more efficient too
[18:20] <jcoxon> hmmm
[18:20] <phatmonkey> hmmmm
[18:20] <phatmonkey> hehe
[18:24] <phatmonkey> my new gps struggled to get a lock outside yesterday, which is a tad dodgy
[18:24] <phatmonkey> i'll give it another shot now
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[21:43] <defy> hey guys
[22:07] <phatmonkey> hey
[22:08] <phatmonkey> i haven't heard anything from those guys about the servo switcher
[22:08] <phatmonkey> one sec, i'll get their email
[22:08] <phatmonkey> if you mail them and say it's desperately needed, maybe it'll get their arses back in gear
[22:09] <phatmonkey> candice@pololu.com
[22:09] <phatmonkey> they call it a servo multiplexer
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[22:26] <LaurenceB> Hi Rocketboy, I got your radio cable :D
[22:26] <rocketboy> excellent - are you OK with it?
[22:27] <LaurenceB> I've soldered it onto the 5volt regulated supply
[22:27] <rocketboy> ok - so the signal line can be as much as +5.5V
[22:27] <rocketboy> ?
[22:27] <LaurenceB> When the batteries are new, yes
[22:28] <rocketboy> ok - I can work with that ok
[22:29] <rocketboy> what did you think of the ground plane radials
[22:29] <phatmonkey> rocketboy, how's the radio going?
[22:29] <phatmonkey> i'm thinking of doing an uncontrolled payload sometime
[22:29] <LaurenceB> looked good, very light weight!
[22:30] <rocketboy> I was worried it would be too heavy - but its not that bad
[22:31] <rocketboy> the smc connectors I'm using make connecting it up a synch
[22:31] <rocketboy> and mechanically positive
[22:31] <LaurenceB> Phatmonkey: are you still working on the glider(s)
[22:32] <phatmonkey> yup
[22:32] <phatmonkey> but i'm doing a charity event where a glider really won't be suitable, shame really
[22:32] <phatmonkey> but i need radio - it would be disastrous to lose it
[22:33] <LaurenceB> Are you using thermopile sensors, I was thinking of building some sort of glider or drone plane myself
[22:33] <phatmonkey> yep. thermopiles and gps
[22:34] <LaurenceB> Have you worked anything out for the control software?
[22:34] <phatmonkey> code is almost finished
[22:34] <phatmonkey> none is tested yet though, so i'm not sure what works
[22:34] <phatmonkey> hehe
[22:35] <LaurenceB> What sort of airframe are you using?
[22:35] <jcoxon> hey all
[22:35] <rocketboy> hi
[22:36] <phatmonkey> http://wiki.ukhas.org.uk/projects:high_altitude_slug:airframe
[22:36] <phatmonkey> flying wings tend to more efficient that traditional gliders too - lighter and less drag
[22:36] <phatmonkey> but it ain't that stable
[22:37] <phatmonkey> it isn't going to break though, i can't imagine it doing so
[22:37] <LaurenceB> I was thinking of modding a model glider, as they have good rool stability
[22:37] <LaurenceB> The less the software has to do the better
[22:37] <phatmonkey> quite
[22:38] <rocketboy> what about a lifting body - that has both roll and pitch stability (I think?)
[22:38] <LaurenceB> Interesting idea :D
[22:39] <rocketboy> gust sort of glides - so you just need to steer it Left/right
[22:40] <LaurenceB> I think the minimum that would be required would be gps, compass sensor and two thermopiles
[22:42] <rocketboy> if you have both roll and pith stability (e.g a cone) - you dont need horizon sensing at all
[22:42] <LaurenceB> A subroutine called by an iterrupt say 10 tims per second could hold the pitch and heading
[22:42] <rocketboy> if the body will glide in the same directon for some time (a few secs) then you sould only need GPS (IMO)
[22:43] <phatmonkey> compass sensors don't work at all
[22:44] <phatmonkey> the heading you get from gps is certainly good enough if the code is written carefully
[22:44] <LaurenceB> If the glider meets high alt winds I think that it could become confused if it only knows its absolute velocity
[22:44] <phatmonkey> yes
[22:44] <phatmonkey> i'm going to have a more or less fixed pitch until we're down to sensible flying heights, where there are strong winds
[22:44] <phatmonkey> at some point i'll probably add a pitot
[22:45] <phatmonkey> sorry, where there are no strong winds
[22:45] <LaurenceB> I was thinking of keeping the pitch at say 5 degrees unless the glider is going away from the target due to wind
[22:47] <rocketboy> doesn't it all depend on glide angle - if you are prepared to scrifice altitude you must be able to make headway against the prevailing wind direction?
[22:49] <rocketboy> looking at a HAB flight (say 30Km altitude, 100Km downrange) - i would have thought you could make jeadway against almost any wind?
[22:49] <rocketboy> headway
[22:49] <LaurenceB> Hopefully you would have a good weather forecast
[22:50] <jcoxon> well perhaps a radiosonde launch just before to give the winds aloft
[22:50] <jcoxon> might give you the best scenario
[22:50] <jcoxon> or even on ascent to record wind speed at all levels
[22:50] <jcoxon> then use this to help bring it down
[22:52] <phatmonkey> i've been thinking about keeping the pitch at say, 45 degrees, until down to 10 or 20k feet
[22:52] <rocketboy> I was thinking that the idea of continually predicting the landing point based on the assent data was a really good idea for fireing the cutdown
[22:52] <phatmonkey> our glider is rather light, and it'll need that pitch to penetrate into the strong winds
[22:53] <rocketboy> need a good clean cutdown with a glider - don't want to be dragging a burst baloon behind it
[22:53] <phatmonkey> yes, definitely
[22:54] <rocketboy> landing point prediction should be reasonably accurate if the decent rate can be assessed
[22:55] <LaurenceB> A high descent rate at an angle of approx 45 degrees would vastly simplify things
[22:55] <phatmonkey> if the air is only 10% of what it is down here, that probably means the stall speed is 10 times higher
[22:55] <phatmonkey> that's bloody fast
[22:56] <phatmonkey> i can add pitots, work out stall speeds based on altitude and all that after i know my glider works simply
[22:56] <phatmonkey> i just want to get something up and flying first
[22:56] <rocketboy> yeh thats what I think - a lfting body comming down at a raesonably steep angle
[22:58] <rocketboy> just need to steer it L/R - it can circle the landing spot comming down
[22:58] <rocketboy> spiral down
[22:59] <LaurenceB> I'm haveing some late dinner brb!
[23:03] <jcoxon> grrrrrr
[23:03] <jcoxon> damn radio modems/gumstix
[23:04] <rocketboy> humm - how
[23:04] <rocketboy> ?
[23:04] <jcoxon> sorry, its transmitting data in one direction but not recieving
[23:05] <jcoxon> i'm wiring up my radio modems to Nomad
[23:05] <rocketboy> what the 868Mhz ones?
[23:05] <jcoxon> yup
[23:06] <rocketboy> is it noise from the servos/motor?
[23:07] <jcoxon> they aren't even on
[23:07] <jcoxon> i've seperated it so that i have easy access
[23:07] <jcoxon> on the gumstix side Rxd is working great but Txd isn't
[23:07] <jcoxon> it could well be the hack i had to do to get TTL serial levels
[23:07] <rocketboy> ah
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[23:18] <jcoxon> hmmmho
[23:22] <LaurenceB> what's nomad?
[23:22] <jcoxon> http://www.pegasushabproject.org.uk/nomad/
[23:22] <jcoxon> a break from ballooning
[23:23] <defy> phatmonkey cool i'll give it a shot, thanks :)
[23:23] <defy> my flatmate and I were trying to figure out how hard it would be to make one, but without a scope we're somewhat stuck
[23:23] <jcoxon> though i was about to say that just reading the conversations earlier has got me thinking again about peg IV
[23:24] <phatmonkey> defy, yeah
[23:24] <phatmonkey> it should be reasonably easy to make one, but i'm just too lazy to figure out how
[23:24] <phatmonkey> hehe
[23:24] <LaurenceB> Are you thinking of a glider for peg iV
[23:25] <jcoxon> LaurenceB, no
[23:25] <jcoxon> way out of my league
[23:25] <jcoxon> i'm thinking 100,000ft
[23:25] <jcoxon> truthfull i've only achieved rubbish altitudes
[23:25] <LaurenceB> Sorry I missed the conversation earlier :D
[23:26] <jcoxon> oh you missed nothing
[23:26] <jcoxon> sorry i was being confusing :-P
[23:26] <LaurenceB> MiHAB2 theoretically reach approx 100,000ft
[23:26] <jcoxon> :-)
[23:26] <jcoxon> should be a good view
[23:27] <jcoxon> LaurenceB, are you putting a much longer timer before cutdown?
[23:30] <LaurenceB> Yes, approx 2hours
[23:30] <jcoxon> excellent
[23:31] <LaurenceB> I nned to do some work on the cut down, transistor gain decreases with temperature
[23:31] <jcoxon> oh right
[23:32] <jcoxon> rocketboy, i saw some professional cutdowns out in africa
[23:32] <jcoxon> we were blowing them up as it was to much hassle to ship them back
[23:32] <LaurenceB> at room temp I have enough current, but at low temp, cut down current will drop
[23:33] <LaurenceB> Im going to swap a resistor to double the current
[23:36] <LaurenceB> Launch should be next week with nova
[23:36] <jcoxon> oh wow
[23:36] <jcoxon> was wondering when nova were going up (hadn't heard anything)
[23:37] <LaurenceB> Haven't heard from carl, only from steve
[23:38] <jcoxon> i emailed carl yesterday asking how everything was going
[23:38] <jcoxon> waiting for a reply
[23:38] <LaurenceB> I texted him but no reply either
[23:39] <jcoxon> henry might be avaliable
[23:39] <LaurenceB> Texed him as well !
[23:39] <jcoxon> hehe they've gone quiet
[23:40] <LaurenceB> Rocketboy youve spoken to them haven't you?
[23:41] <jcoxon> :-) this is quite cool: http://weather.uwyo.edu/polar/balloon_traj.html
[23:43] <defy> the gpsboomerang guy's approach to his glider was rather interesting, he considers it most of a controlled freefall, and his only control was a rudder
[23:43] <defy> whhops, i was scrolled up, that conversation ended already, lol
[23:44] <defy> wow my england is good today, i need a coffee
[23:46] <rocketboy> jcoxon - what were the pro cutdowns like?
[23:46] <jcoxon> pretty much the same as yours
[23:46] <jcoxon> but alot more expensive
[23:47] <phatmonkey> jcoxon, freddie's internet is probably not working, but when i can get hold of him about this software reorganisation, i'll start thinking about coding something for a car
[23:47] <phatmonkey> we need to get a list of things the car needs to do
[23:47] <LaurenceB> Having no pitch control is interesting, I guess if you made the balance so that it glided well at one alt, it would not at another
[23:47] <phatmonkey> it would be ncie to have some targets
[23:47] <jcoxon> metal cases - i think the explosion cuts the string
[23:47] <jcoxon> phatmonkey, hehe yeah
[23:47] <defy> do you guys actually _cut_ anything? i always thought the best cutdown would just be a servo controlled clip of somekind
[23:48] <rocketboy> Ah yes I have seen those - used for Theatrical effects - way expensive - about £100 but reusable
[23:48] <LaurenceB> I melt through plastic tape with a resistor
[23:49] <rocketboy> yeh - but its not explosive ;-)
[23:50] <jcoxon> rc car coversation -> #gumstix (more approriate)
[23:51] <rocketboy> I just love that line in the film Armageddon - where someone asks why they would want to work on an oil rig - the answer was that they get to play with explosives
[23:51] <jcoxon> hehe
[23:52] <LaurenceB> I'm going to bed, seeyou :D
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[23:53] <jcoxon> Right got Peg IV sorted in my head
[23:54] <jcoxon> gonna be very simple
[23:55] <rocketboy> jcoxon - these them? http://ceos.cnes.fr:8100/cdrom-00/ceos1/satellit/spotsys/spot4_gb/pyro.htm
[23:55] <jcoxon> gumstix/GPSstix, nokia 5110, 6 MP camera
[23:55] <jcoxon> rocketboy, yeah they look very familiar
[23:56] <jcoxon> actually no they don't
[23:57] <rocketboy> c u laurence
[23:57] <jcoxon> i'm not sure they acted like these
[23:57] <jcoxon> they were only cutting string not cable
[23:57] <rocketboy> ok - these cut throgh seel cable
[23:58] <rocketboy> uprated versions
[23:58] <jcoxon> possibly
[00:00] --- Fri Aug 18 2006