Progress slowed down somewhat due to work constraints, but has sped up a little. The following has been accomplished:-
* Replacement of internal PCB with a custom etched PCB for the GPS and the Relay
* Removal of Arduino GPS shield; replaced with custom etched PCB
* Replacement of switch with better non-bastardized terminals – now using terminals, rather than having wires soldered onto switch
* GPS Antenna now positioned outside box, away from noisy electronics noise by use of a 30cm cable and SMA mounting connectors
After doing all this, I decided that we should repeat the previous ~17km test. Did this test and managed to download 1/2 an image. The GPS worked alot better. The cutdown was initiated, but didn’t burn through the rubberband. I think this was because we didn’t have the connectors plugged in enough.
All this work also resolves problems with faulty battery connectors. We now have mini JST connectors that we plug the batteries into. One thing I did have problems with though was a wire broke off the battery PCB itself. I had to carefully remove some the yellow sticky tape and carefully solder the black wire back onto the battery PCB. I am now taking more care of the batteries and the wires.
Another thing I have done is replace the defunct Sparkfun Li-ION battery charger with a Freetronics one that has decent micro-usb connector…it is soldered through the PCB (i.e. not surface mount). Still waiting for replacement from LittleBirdElectronics.