Payload Design

The payload which I refer to here is all the box and all the gadgets we send up at the end of the balloon. It includes all the necessary pieces to ensure that they remain functional at all times. The best way to describe the payload is with some photos and some commentary. Read on.

The Styrofoam box

This is a small Styrofoam box that we were very lucky to acquire in a purchase my wife made on the Internet (allergy friendly chocolates). The Styrofoam box is an ex-Broccoli box. It was chosen because the dimensions are almost perfect for fitting all the components and the thickness of the walls is good to allow the cameras to JUST poke out enough.

The boxes dimensions are:-

Length: 385mm

Height: 160mm

Width: 290mm

Wall thickness: 20mm

A few pictures of the box (with components within it) are shown below. You will notice that we have some blue foam inside the box. This is to provide a cushion for the components and to help reduce the chance of water getting to components and to also reduce air flows that might take heat away.

Styrofoam box with Lid. Take note of wires and camera.

Styrofoam box with lid off and blue foam removed

Sensors/Communications Electronics

This a fairly complicated part of the payload. It consists of several components:-

  • Main electronics polycarbonate box (which is described in another blog)

  • External PCB – used to interconnect the Linksprite camera, the external temperature sensor and the Status LED

  • Xbee antenna cable

the components are all sandwiched between special water resistant foam-like material purchased from Clarke Rubber and some other foam normally used to make cushions. This material has been chosen because of its ability to cushion the sensitive electronics against knocks, help the payload retain warmth so that the electronics can continue to work at the very high altitudes (30km) it should reach. The foam is very light which is an obvious requirement.

Below are some pictures:-

Cutting out foam for the payload

Part way through the process of making holes in foam to hold payload components.

Payload components

The “HackHD” camera

Page 1 of 3 | Next page