VB Gen 8.1 Avionics
|ValBal Generation 8.1 Avionics|
|Part of the ValBal series|
|Chief Designer||Aria Tedjarati|
|Technology Line||Balloons ValBal Architecture|
The ValBal Gen 8.1 Avionics is the eighth generation and twelfth iteration of of the ValBal core electrical architecture. It is the most up-to-date and highest performing ValBal avionics version as of September 2017, consisting of two 3-inch by 3-inch FR4 PCB's that are stacked on top of one another above 33 AA non-rechargeable lithium primary batteries, in addition to a small breakout PCB that is exposed to the air. The architecture makes significant changes and improvements on the ValBal Generation 8.0 architecture, including changes in physical size, stacking connectors, power regulation and efficiency, cost, wireless communication, and more.
The details of the ValBal generation 8.1 avionics are outlined below in exhaustive detail.
ValBal is an actively altitude-controlled, low-cost, high-endurance, autonomous latex high altitude balloon system. It requires a complex set of avionics hardware to enable it to complete its mission. In general, at a bare minimum, any ValBal avionics system must have the following set of features to ensure a successful flight.
- Half-duplex or full-duplex wireless communication
- Dual bidirectional high power motor control
- High altitude GPS location acquisition capability
- Power regulation and subsystem protection
- Temperature regulation
- Barometric pressure & temperature sensing, filtering, and error detection
- Powerful microprocessor with autonomous flight code
- Current & voltage sensing of all system parameters
- Weigh no more than approximately 1 kilogram
- Have a form factor of less than 3 x 3 x 6 inches
The 8.1 generation of ValBal avionics goes above and beyond these minimum requirements.
Power Regulation and Control
Temperature Sensing and Regulation
Barometric Pressure Sensing
Valve and Ballast Motor Control
Two-way Satellite Communication
The purpose of the ValBal v8.1 Radio Board is to act as an independent payload that interfaces with the ValBal v8.1 Mainboard, and is responsible for all of ValBal's radio communication to and from the ground excluding satellite communication. It is an additive board, meaning that it is not flight critical and is not necessary for a ValBal flight to be successful. However, its inclusion in the ValBal avionics allows for significant advantages over a simple "Mainboard-only" system due to the extremely slow speeds and bandwidth of the Iridium satellite communication system. The ValBal v8.1 Radio Board allows for transmission speeds of over 100,000 times that of Iridium, enabling flight controllers on the ground to receive much more data in the form of flight parameters, pictures, videos, music, and automated packets, at the expense of power, weight, and cost. The board has two transceivers: one is responsible for transmitting and receiving Ultra-High-Frequency (UHF) digital data modulated with GFSK, FSK, or OOK, and the other is responsible for transmitting and receiving Very-High-Frequency (VHF) analog data modulated with FM.