highaltitude.log.20110105

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[03:22] <stilldavid> ping Zuph
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[04:15] <Zuph> ping stilldavid
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[04:16] <stilldavid> hey, what do you know about the white star ballast system?
[04:16] <Zuph> Just about everything
[04:17] <stilldavid> so I'm just playing with one of the solenoid valves now
[04:17] <stilldavid> and was wondering if that's where these specs came from: http://wiki.whitestarballoon.com/doku.php?id=hardware:ballastcontroller:v1&s[]=ballast
[04:17] <stilldavid> w/r/t the seconds per gram measurements
[04:17] <Zuph> Yes
[04:17] <Zuph> Using a standard 3 liter bottle as the ballast container
[04:18] <stilldavid> ah, cool. I'm playing with a 1L container to start with and am getting similar-ish numbers
[04:18] <Zuph> We're going to have more detailed measurements soon, with both water and denatured alcohol
[04:18] <stilldavid> keep the wiki updated :)
[04:19] <stilldavid> I find it very helpful!
[04:20] <Zuph> We're doing the best we can!
[04:20] <Zuph> As you can tell, organization is going by the wayside as we try to complete everything on time.
[04:20] <stilldavid> well, thanks very much. I certainly appreciate all your hard work
[04:21] <Zuph> We also unboxed one of our caviezel balloons to inspect it.
[04:21] <stilldavid> looking forward to the first launch, too! I'm probably not going to get to the ZP launch until early/mid spring
[04:21] <stilldavid> I saw the measurements
[04:21] <stilldavid> I've been scared to take mine out of the box
[04:21] <stilldavid> (I'm on the mailing list)
[04:21] <Zuph> heh
[04:22] <Zuph> We are not pleased, to tell the truth.
[04:22] <Zuph> Did you get the volume modified balloon?
[04:22] <stilldavid> why so?
[04:22] <stilldavid> I don't think so
[04:22] <stilldavid> but I didn't inspect it yet
[04:23] <Zuph> He modified the volume of our balloon by cutting off a top corner, meaning our center of lift won't be symetric. The load ring is thin and flimsy, and he didn't properly cover the sharp ends of the staples in the load ring.
[04:24] <SpeedEvil> why modified?
[04:24] <Zuph> His heat seal seams are simply unprofessional. Where the envelope material bunched up, he just heatsealed over it, leaving big folds of plastic in the heat seal which may leak helium like a sieve.
[04:24] <stilldavid> Hm. I wonder if I should take mine out and take a look.
[04:24] <Zuph> SpeedEvil: We asked him to give us balloons that float at 33,000 ft. He called us 2 weeks later, "Okay, your balloons are in the box, they should float at 37,000 feet."
[04:24] <SpeedEvil> ah
[04:24] <stilldavid> I did laugh quite a bit when I saw that the load ring was cardboard and tape...
[04:24] <Zuph> So, before we sent the second half of payment, we asked him to fix them.
[04:25] <Zuph> The load ring he used for the snox balloons was STURDY cardboard. This is flimsy in comparison
[04:25] <Zuph> stilldavid: We probably won't fly the balloon we opened up until our very last flight, just in case.
[04:26] <Zuph> We might also use it to do a longevity test: fill it with helium, and measure how quickly lift falls off.
[04:26] <stilldavid> safe bet. I've got one more latex launch before I try the zp, it's with a rather old balloon
[04:27] <stilldavid> that sounds like a better plan. One reason I'm looking forward to your launches is to see just how the envelopes behave
[04:27] <Zuph> Alright :)
[04:27] <stilldavid> I've no idea.
[04:27] <Zuph> In large part, same here :)
[04:27] <stilldavid> that's why is so much fun, though, right?
[04:27] <stilldavid> wish I had sponsors and team, though :)
[04:27] <Zuph> hah, we hardly have sponsors :-p
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[04:27] <stilldavid> but you have parties that look like a lot of fun, so ... there's that
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[04:28] <Zuph> wrong button
[04:28] <Zuph> We hardly have sponsors :-p
[04:28] <Zuph> We're going to spend $1200 a flight by the time this is over
[04:28] <stilldavid> phew. and I thought I had it bad...
[04:29] <stilldavid> but I'm not planning on any 2-way comm, so that cuts down a bit
[04:29] <stilldavid> are you planning on recovering any payloads, or just sending them all to the atlantic?
[04:29] <stilldavid> actually, I saw that you recovered the last from a tree, so disregard that
[04:30] <Zuph> hah
[04:30] <Zuph> We didn't have much hope left for the one in the tree
[04:30] <Zuph> And the transatlantic attempts, we aren't going to try to recover. Especially if they end up in the atlantic
[04:30] <stilldavid> how high up was it? I'd love to see pics of it trapped
[04:30] <Zuph> Pics and video are incoming
[04:31] <Zuph> It was in a 100 foot tall beech tree (iirc)
[04:31] <Zuph> in the very top
[04:31] <stilldavid> oh, so it was up there. was wondering why a brave soul couldn't just climb up and grab it
[04:32] <Zuph> It takes a lot of brave to climb a 100 ft tree
[04:32] <Zuph> :-p
[04:32] <Zuph> The closest branch to the ground was 40 ft up, and it was growing up the side of a ravine.
[04:32] <Zuph> We eventually found a tree climber willing to do it for PR :)
[04:32] <stilldavid> see! this is why I need pictures!
[04:32] <stilldavid> (I'm also a rock climber)
[04:33] <stilldavid> but hey, did you use an automated system to calculate the ballast drop rate?
[04:33] <Zuph> Ah!
[04:33] <stilldavid> I sat there with a measuring cup and a stopwatch...
[04:33] <Zuph> haha
[04:33] <stilldavid> but since it's "dripping" more than flowing I might drop an optical sensor on it and count drops
[04:33] <Zuph> We used a small scale and a stopwatch :-p
[04:33] <Zuph> 0.1g postage scale
[04:34] <Zuph> In the future, we want to find a datalogging scale and measure it more accurately
[04:34] <stilldavid> I'll have to grab one. I only have a semi-accurate line scale
[04:34] <stilldavid> be interesting to see the curve.
[04:35] <Zuph> Absolutely.
[04:35] <stilldavid> like I said, I've got a 1L container currently and have an empty 2L that's next up under the drill
[04:37] <stilldavid> will you have 2 ballast tanks?
[04:37] <Zuph> Nope
[04:37] <stilldavid> just the one 3L?
[04:37] <Zuph> We're going to have two containers, to meet the 12lbs regulations
[04:37] <Zuph> each 6lbs
[04:37] <Zuph> Yep
[04:37] <Zuph> 3L of ballast is just about 6 lbs
[04:38] <Zuph> The other box has all the electronics, all the batteries, cut down mechanism, antenna, external sensors, etc.
[04:38] <stilldavid> word. and just the one valve?
[04:38] <stilldavid> oh, nvm.
[04:39] <stilldavid> the payload box is 6 lbs. I get it.
[04:39] <Zuph> Yep
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[11:28] <fsphil> anyone here have any experience with using hydrogen in a balloon?
[11:30] <SpeedEvil> Seems logical to me.
[11:31] <fsphil> I've been thinking about this -- I've got some nice solar panels
[11:31] <SpeedEvil> you're thinking of fuel cell?
[11:31] <fsphil> I could make my own hydrogen
[11:31] <SpeedEvil> ah
[11:31] <SpeedEvil> the constant hurts there though.
[11:31] <fsphil> just as a replacement for the helium
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[11:32] Action: SpeedEvil can never remember the charge on the electron.
[11:32] <fsphil> it would take a while to generate enough probably, but if it's stored properly then that shouldn't be a problem
[11:32] <SpeedEvil> *10^-18?
[11:33] <fsphil> no idea
[11:35] <SpeedEvil> http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&q=avagadros+constant+*+charge+of+electron&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
[11:35] <SpeedEvil> neat
[11:36] <SpeedEvil> So - an amp-day (ish) gives you 22l of H
[11:36] <SpeedEvil> err
[11:36] <SpeedEvil> 11l
[11:36] <SpeedEvil> H2
[11:37] <SpeedEvil> If that's at a couple of volts - 5Wh/l, or about 3Wh/g of lift
[11:37] <SpeedEvil> oh
[11:38] <SpeedEvil> that misses the point - you need to work out the oxgen lost from the ballast
[11:38] <SpeedEvil> I'm going back to sleep though. Good luck.
[11:38] <fsphil> haha
[11:38] <fsphil> gonna get some water bottles and experiment a bit
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[13:37] <Upu> I haz gas!
[13:37] <Upu> bloody heavy these cylinders was expecting it to float in
[13:38] <fsphil> lol
[13:38] <fsphil> I couldn't carry the last one very far
[13:38] <fsphil> did you get a regulator too?
[13:38] <Upu> They gave me a few options on the valves
[13:38] <Upu> yeah
[13:38] <Upu> I took the one you push down to activate
[13:39] <Upu> as it looks more "hose pipe" sized and I can make an adaptor
[13:40] <fsphil> I was talking to is-group today about the cheaper helium, but they have a lot more red tape than just boc
[13:40] <Upu> yeah this was way more expensive than quoted from IS
[13:41] <Upu> If we have to do it through a company I'll sort it out
[13:41] <fsphil> yep -- they basically said I'd have to fill in a form, and their accounts department then have to do a credit check
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[13:42] <fsphil> gah, stupid X
[13:42] <Upu> haha
[13:43] <fsphil> so yea, I'll have to get the normal priced helium for the next launch
[13:43] <Upu> same here
[13:43] <Upu> anyway next stop is a plumbers merchant so I can make an adaptor
[13:43] <Upu> but I need the balloons first
[13:43] Action: Upu pings Steve Randall
[13:44] <fsphil> I'm the opposite atm, got the balloons but not the gas :)
[13:45] <Laurenceb_> Upu: dont use plumb center
[13:45] <Laurenceb_> <- hates plumb center
[13:45] <Upu> any suggestions ?
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[13:47] <Laurenceb_> wickes is good
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[13:48] <Laurenceb_> i mean sure use plumb center, but dont be suprised if its a rip off or they try and mess you around if you aren't a professional
[13:49] Action: Laurenceb_ recently had some arguments with staff who were taking the piss
[13:51] <Upu> I'll try screw fix but i need to pick things up
[13:51] <Upu> and play :)
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[13:54] <fsphil> only shop nearby here is homebase
[13:55] <fsphil> at least there they rip everyone off equally :)
[13:55] <Upu> how much does the neck stretch ? these balloons have a neck diameter of 83mm
[13:57] <Darkside> anyone here done hydrogen balloons?
[13:57] <fsphil> was just asking about that Darkside
[13:57] <Darkside> heh
[13:57] <fsphil> pondering doing a little experiment
[13:58] <fsphil> just worried about the safety aspects
[14:04] <fsphil> not sure if I can store enough to fill anything other than a small balloon
[14:05] <fsphil> I don't fancy keeping it compressed
[14:06] <Upu> I'd stick with Helium :)
[14:06] <Darkside> but helium is $$$
[14:07] <fsphil> not gonna get any cheaper either
[14:13] <Laurenceb_> itd not horrendously expensive if you search around
[14:13] <Laurenceb_> £50/launch
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[15:07] <Laurenceb_> http://i.imgur.com/dN3pk.jpg
[15:07] <Laurenceb_> didnt realise cusf had a zl-special
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[15:46] Action: Laurenceb_ is trying out fotoxx
[15:46] <Laurenceb_> very impressive panorama maker
[15:47] <Laurenceb_> tho it does help to hold the camera level
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[16:08] <SpeedEvil> neat
[16:09] <Laurenceb_> my panaorama is starting to curve round
[16:10] <Laurenceb_> the horizon isnt straight - i think its mainly my fault for holding the camer at weird angles
[16:11] <Laurenceb_> it can do HDR as well
[16:11] <SpeedEvil> poor lens modeling?
[16:13] <Laurenceb_> it seems to have very good lense modelling, but the first frame can throw it off
[16:13] <Laurenceb_> it works by loading frame 1 with a default lens model, then tried to splice everything onto the previous frame
[16:13] <Laurenceb_> my default lens model was off
[16:14] <Laurenceb_> ideally it should iteratively refine the first frame i think
[16:14] <Laurenceb_> but it oesnt seem to do that
[16:14] <Laurenceb_> i suspect thats why its gone a little screwy
[16:15] <Laurenceb_> very slowww - 20minutes/frame
[16:16] <Laurenceb_> having said that this panorame will be 500Mpixels total
[16:28] <SpeedEvil> what is this pan of?
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[16:43] <Laurenceb_> a quarry
[16:44] <Laurenceb_> annoyingly fotoxx doesnt seem to have a way of enlarging the canvas
[16:44] <Laurenceb_> so im missing bits now due to the wobbly horizon
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[16:51] <SpeedEvil> Purity test for your mind! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_misconceptions
[16:51] <SpeedEvil> I scored 5 - that is I would have given the incorrect answer if asked
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[17:10] <fsphil> difficult to read that page without hearing it in stephen frys voice
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[17:10] <SpeedEvil> fsphil: indeed.
[17:12] <Laurenceb_> bah contrast broke
[17:12] <Laurenceb_> theres now a vertical line down the panarama :(
[17:13] <Laurenceb_> oh well its the best panarama maker ive found so far
[17:15] <Laurenceb_> seems to cant handle large contast shifts between frames
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[17:22] Action: SpeedEvil imagines Laurenceb constructing panoramic scenes of hospitals.
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[18:02] <MrCraig> gps modules arrived - TX's due tomorrow :)
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[18:25] <MrCraig> Lassen iQ with the impossibly small interface pins
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[18:28] <fsphil> nothing's impossible :)
[18:29] <MrCraig> I'm hunting through my box of bits for connectors - with what I have, this looks pretty impossible to me - or at least highly improbable. Surely there's some kind of standard plug for these things
[18:32] <fsphil> that pitch is the header?
[18:32] <fsphil> that/what
[18:33] <MrCraig> pitch?
[18:33] <fsphil> the space between the pins
[18:34] <MrCraig> datasheet: 8-pin (2x4) 1.27 mm male header, micro terminal strip
[18:35] <MrCraig> ASP 69533-01 <-- no idea what this is
[18:35] <fsphil> 1.27mm .. yikes
[18:35] <MrCraig> lol any retraction on the impossible statment?
[18:36] <fsphil> you need something like this: http://www.dpieshop.com/trimble-iqsq-data-cable-to-flying-lead-way-125mm-pitch-p-238.html
[18:36] <fsphil> though it's a bit pricey for what it is
[18:36] <SpeedEvil> MrCraig: got any compactflash cards?
[18:37] <MrCraig> I'll pay the price I think. Erm, I probably have a flash card or two - at least one
[18:38] <SpeedEvil> same pitch
[18:38] <SpeedEvil> so you can snip up the connector
[18:38] <SpeedEvil> fiddly, yes
[18:40] <MrCraig> hmm, thanks - I'll hunt for it, I think there's a nokia phone laying around with the flash in it
[18:40] <MrCraig> oh wait no - hmm, I used that in the eeepc that I installed in my car *grubles*
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[18:50] <MrCraig> ok - ordered a couple of those connectors, they are a bit pricey but it states they are compatible so I can't really go wrong with them.
[18:50] <MrCraig> shame - I was all excited and set to program the pic to read nmea data
[18:56] <SpeedEvil> no reason you can't do it from a PC
[18:56] <SpeedEvil> outputting
[18:57] <MrCraig> hmmm - I could :)
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[19:55] <Laurenceb_> hnf
[19:55] <Laurenceb_> keeps maxing out my ram and crashing
[19:56] <Laurenceb_> damn 48 bit colour
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[20:00] <Laurenceb_> looks id need some sort of crazy machine to do panaramas this big
[20:02] <SpeedEvil> well - to do it sanely, you'd never need to hold the full res imges all at once
[20:03] <SpeedEvil> Sure - it's easier
[20:03] <SpeedEvil> but a decimated image is fine for stitching
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[20:54] <natrium42> ca va?
[20:56] <MrCraig> anglais?
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[20:57] <natrium42> non
[20:59] <MrCraig> Mon français n'est pas suffisant pour une conversation. http://translation.babylon.com/french/to-english/
[21:01] <MrCraig> hmm - I wonder if there are translator bots for irc.
[21:01] <natrium42> son, i am disappoint.
[21:02] <MrCraig> Peut-être quelqu'un ici a mieux le français ?
[21:03] <natrium42> DanielRichman
[21:03] Action: MrCraig should have paid attention in school rather than look up the naughty words in the dictionary.
[21:03] <natrium42> haha
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[21:37] <smea> moi je parle français !
[21:37] <smea> :D
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[21:56] <fsphil> holy crap smea talked
[21:57] <jonsowman> lol!
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[00:00] --- Thu Jan 6 2011