Posts Tagged ‘kite’


I have been working on getting the kite computer running off a couple of solar panels and have finally succeeded. As a little extra I added Bluetooth functionality so that instead of displaying the data on an lcd screen it will now communicate with the phone that the rig uses as its camera, sending over the data which will eventually get saved on the phone’s sd card.

I am really pleased with how far Kestrel has come on.


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I have switched to the smaller Aduino Nano for use in my kite flight recorder and this has enabled me to squeeze it into a tiny box that makes it look so nice. It even glows blue when it’s processing data which is rather cool. To recap it takes the temperature and pressure and using a bit of crazy maths in the form of the Hypsometric equation and logs the highest and lowest temperature and altitude extremes.

I have noticed a bit of a problem with it and that is for it to accurately plot your correct starting altitude it needs to know the current pressure at sea level in order for the equation to work. However, this really doesn’t bother me too much as it can measure the height gained accurately.

Of course with anything I make my chief tester puts it through its paces out in the field. Click here to see the video of Charlie Chief Tester.

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I have built something that works. It has taken me months of programming play to get this far. Following on from my success the other night, I once again put the Hypsometric equation to good use and got my arduino starting to calculate altitude, recording and displaying it on a small LCD screen. I love how compact it all is. It’s a thing of beauty. Check out my video of it here.

I took it for a walk yesterday and as I feared the fluctuating readings do cause quite a large margin of error. All part of the testing process though and what I learnt will be fed back into the project.

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Let’s make a kite camera rig. Check out my footage taken from my kite in the video below.

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Let’s start making the kite computer using arduino. This video shows how it records temperature.

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Playing with Kestrel 3 over the weekend has got me thinking about what other uses kites can have. There is a kite festival held out in one of the villages every year and I would really like to go to this years if I haven’t already missed it (its not widely advertised unfortunately – you just stumble on it as we did a couple of years back). I thought about what use a kite could serve at such an event and came up with the kite radio transmitter. When I had my allotment shed I rigged up a little radio transmitter from a hacked iTrip and was able to boost its range covering the majority of the plots and its a similar set up, coupled with a small mp3 player which would work great when sent up in the air care of kite.

The main advantage of transmitting from the air is that you can increase the broadcast range as theres no obstacles like buildings to get in the way. Another way to increase range would be aerial length. I read an article recently on how mobile phone companies were able to make their phones without an aerial. All phone aerials have to be of a certain length so building a conventional aerial into a modern compact phone was impossible and the problem was overcome by them actually printing it as part of the circuit board, very clever. I’m think the same thing can be applied to my kite transmitter. Its aerial could be printed along the kites wings edges, increasing its length whilst reducing weight.

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