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Old 08-16-2010, 12:47 AM   #1
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Default Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

So, I Have always wanted to build a weather balloon camera setup, to get aerial shots of my town (Possible Space hahah). Any suggestions on what i would need to acheive this?

I'll make some sketches and upload them in a moment...
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Old 08-16-2010, 01:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

I actually have a "Geek Dad" book with this project in it. I'll have to dig through it and see what it says and post back.
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Old 08-16-2010, 02:03 AM   #3
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

That would be good! I've just rung the CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) and they said that aslong as i ring in advance and ring my local airport i'm all good to go.
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Old 08-16-2010, 03:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

That's awesome. In the US, you'd probably have to go through all kinds of FAA crap to be able to do that.


Do you have any specific budget? The simplest way by far to do this would be to get an old android phone on prepaid and write a script to take pictures at a certain interval. For added geek effect, have it geotag and upload them flickr or photobucket so you can track it in real time. Another advantage of this is that you could enable a GPS locator, so it is easier to find.

EDIT: This also seems like a viable option, but you would still need a phone or something for GPS tracking. http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

EDIT 2: This would be a good way to track. http://www.mologogo.com/ which actually brings up a good point. Most Boost Mobile phones come GPS-equipped.
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

not sure id be crazy with people tracking my cell on internets if it was on me lol.

but wont Cells lose service past certain altitudes, obviously you dont get cell service in an Air Liner.
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Old 08-16-2010, 04:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by sniperviper21 View Post
not sure id be crazy with people tracking my cell on internets if it was on me lol.

but wont Cells lose service past certain altitudes, obviously you dont get cell service in an Air Liner.
Cell service tends to become intermittent past 30,000 feet. Cruising altitude for most airliners tends to be between 32,000 and 36,000. So you can get cell service, but it would be pretty bad. Of course, there is a real possibility that the balloon would get well over that altitude before popping, so the program would have to be written to continue caching photos until it goes back into service. The GPS really doesn't matter that much while it's in-flight, it would mainly be there to help retrieve it.

I've thought about doing this before, but I live in Louisiana, and it would most likely end up in a swamp somewhere.

Another thing I just realized: Since there is a good possibility that this thing will get over 50,000 feet, you will have to come up with a way to keep the batteries from icing. Standard air-activated hand warmers won't work either, you will need something chemical. I haven't given this a whole lot of thought, but I'm sure you can come up with something.

Just found this in my bookmarks: http://www.instructables.com/id/Hack...-Arduino-Cont/ Rig up a few of these and you could get a 360 degree view.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

You could buy a second hand Cannon camera, and install this: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK firmware on it. You should be able to do a time-lapse kind of thing with it.

I personally wouldn't use a Cell Phone camera to take pictures. They tend to be pretty low quality... but you could use the GPS to track the balloon.

Instead of a cell phone, you could use something like: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.33331.

I might be wrong, but i'd guess that the battery would be better.
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Old 08-16-2010, 05:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

Here's some stuff I've gathered:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle7074839.ece

http://www.robertharrison.org/icarus/wordpress/about/ - According to this guy, his helium weather balloon reached 35,000 meters. Gives instructions on how to build and program some custom hardware you might need.

Better article, watch the vid, it's pretty cool - http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/bal...ry?id=10210658 - Even tells you a pretty good camera to use. According to this article, it'll cost ya about $750 USD for the whole project, camera, balloon, insulated box, custom hardware and all ($840 Aussie if the conversion is right)
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:54 AM   #9
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Default Re: Im going to build a Weather Balloon Camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by j03 View Post
You could buy a second hand Cannon camera, and install this: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK firmware on it. You should be able to do a time-lapse kind of thing with it.

I personally wouldn't use a Cell Phone camera to take pictures. They tend to be pretty low quality... but you could use the GPS to track the balloon.

Instead of a cell phone, you could use something like: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.33331.

I might be wrong, but i'd guess that the battery would be better.
I'll be using a Sub ~$150 camera, still havn't decided yet! Looking at this canon hack link, im pretty sure i'll be using a powershot! I'm probably going to also bundle with it a small HD Camcorder (Like the Flip HD or something)....


I'm actually hoping to use this GPS Tracker , I Can text it to get it's location. I'll Hook up the SOS Button to some sort of pressure activated switch, when it hits the ground it will ring my phone.

I'm still trying to figure out how i'm going to deploy the parachute though....
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