BillBrownWB8ELK

Member Since: May 4, 2007

Country: United States

  • Product BOB-00498 | about 6 months ago

    Any chance you will produce more of these laid out in the correct fashion (pins 1-8 not in reverse order)? Although usable if you are careful to invert your pin 1-8 wiring and mess with your mind in the process, it would be much better if you correct this very non-conventional and incorrect layout. Please bring back the old green SSOP boards and keep those of us who do breadboard prototyping in mind.

  • Product BOB-00498 | about a year ago

    I bought some of these some years ago (green color board). They were perfect for my prototyping use and brought out the SSOP pins to a DIP compatible format that would plug right into a DIP socket or solderless breadboard. However, these new boards aren’t the right width for a DIP socket anymore but will work in a solderless breadboard. Why would you lay out the DIP pins with pins 1-8 in a reversed and non-conventional order in this newer rendition? A classic case of newer but not improved. Do you still have the old green boards that worked great in stock anymore? I’d be interested in buying those old boards.

  • Tutorial - HAB Launch - S1 | about 2 years ago

    I’ve flown around 400 HAB missions. My first flight 25 years ago (8/15/1987) was the first HAB flight in the US back carrying film and video cameras with live TV transmissions. I’ve had great success with the 9XTend radios set for 1 watt. And as DaveP states, going with 9600 bps instead of the 115,200 bps will greatly increase your range. The link you show for the 1 watt XBEE shows a 50 milliwatt XBEE unit on 915 MHz. The range for that will be around 20 miles or less and not enough range for a typical high altitude balloon flight. However, I have had some success using the 100 milliwatt XBee Pro XSC unit (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9087) from over 20 miles or more directly from a high altitude balloon to another XBee unit on the ground using a high gain yagi on the ground. The Copernicus GPS module that you used will work very well for high altitude ballooning, however you have to program the module for “AIR” mode otherwise it will fail above 27,000 feet. Once programmed for AIR mode it should work up to 162,000 feet. Another factor that will help prevent GPS failure is to keep digital cameras well away from the GPS antenna, the EMI created by the digital camera will desense the GPS unit enough to keep it from working. - Bill Brown WB8ELK http://www.wb8elk.com

  • News - Aaron's High Altitude Bal… | about 2 years ago

    I’ve flown around 400 HAB missions. My first flight 25 years ago (8/15/1987) was the first HAB flight in the US back carrying film and video cameras with live TV transmissions. I’ve had great success with the 9XTend radios set for 1 watt. And as DaveP states, going with 9600 bps instead of the 115,200 bps will greatly increase your range. The link you show for the 1 watt XBEE shows a 50 milliwatt XBEE unit on 915 MHz. The range for that will be around 20 miles or less and not enough range for a typical high altitude balloon flight. However, I have had some success using the 100 milliwatt XBee Pro XSC unit (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9087) from over 20 miles or more directly from a high altitude balloon to another XBee unit on the ground using a high gain yagi on the ground. The Copernicus GPS module that you used will work very well for high altitude ballooning, however you have to program the module for “AIR” mode otherwise it will fail above 27,000 feet. Once programmed for AIR mode it should work up to 162,000 feet. Another factor that will help prevent GPS failure is to keep digital cameras well away from the GPS antenna, the EMI created by the digital camera will desense the GPS unit enough to keep it from working. - Bill Brown WB8ELK http://www.wb8elk.com

  • Tutorial - HAB - Sensor System, Flight Computer, and Radio System | about 4 years ago

    I’ve flown the 9Xtend modules for quite some time (ever since they were introduced) on high altitude balloons and even on a Rockoon (rocket launched from a balloon). As pointed out on another post, the radiation pattern below a vertical whip is the null point and at 100,000 feet can give you a null zone of 20 miles in diameter or more. I solve that by using a “Nano-Wheel” antenna which is a horizontally polarized omni pattern cloverleaf antenna that gives a good hemispherical pattern below the payload. It’s available from: http://www.hamtv.com look for the Olde Antenna Labs section. Of course you’ll have to mount the ground antenna in a horizontal configuration when using this system.
    I use the Cypress PSoC for my balloon tracking telemetry transmitter with built-in Inventek GPS: http://www.elktronics.com or http://www.wb8elk.com
    Cell phone GPS tracking does not work very well due to the very nature of the GPS tower system. Ever try to make a cell phone call from a mountaintop? Same problem only much worse from a balloon. A GPS cellphone tracker will only work as a backup recovery locator in the lucky case when it manages to make a position report just prior to or just after landing. They rarely work above a few thousand feet.
    - Bill Brown WB8ELK

  • News - High Altitude Balloon Pro… | about 4 years ago

    Nice photo. I took my first high altitude balloon photo like this in 1987. This was before GPS and all the cool modules that SparkFun offers. When I developed the film at Walmart, the photo tech asked me, “Are you an Astronaut?”.
    Since my first flight in 1987, many groups have been active around the World. I now have flown about 400 flights and have become a Top 500 Spark Fun customer from buying all your modules that I fly to the very edge of Space itself.
    I’ve been test flying my design of an all-in-one GPS tracking transmitter that uses an Inventek GPS unit specifically designed to operate at high altitudes. Many GPS units will not work above 60,000 feet…more info at: http://www.elktronics.com or http://www.wb8elk.com
    With the advent of program hacks like CHDK for the Canon Powershot series of digital cameras along with inexpensive and lightweight camcorders, it’s easy now to take amazing photos and videos like the one that SparkFun took here. The tricky part is getting it all back in one piece. That’s where GPS tracking equipment will save the day.
    I’d love to help out for your next HAB balloon flight.
    - Bill Brown (amateur radio call: WB8ELK)

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