Saturday, September 3, 2011

Testbed Work

In the upper image, the testbed from the front; below, from the back, showing the installed liquid coolant tank (clear plastic cylinder with orange bands) and the 12v battery (small black block with yellow strap--this is just a motorcycle battery, but I'll switch to a larger battery(ies) later). Next up; install the coolant pump, the panel lights and other electrics. Then, back to the suit itself.

As i began the project, I planned to have as few indicators (gauges etc) as possible, but with a breathing gas and suit pressurization system, two altimeters (one low-altitude, one high-altitude), temperature and various pressure gauges (not to mention the VHF aviation radio, also to be installed) I'm ending up building a large control panel, but there's just no way around it. You quickly run into a lot of interesting issues in building such a system, including minute details regarding the placement of each display and control.

Right now, all of this is built into a wooden testbed equipped with wheels so it's easy to move around while making tests; later, it will all be built into a cockpit assembly mounted on the balloon car itself. But, for the moment, I'm sorting out just exactly what I do and do not need, and how much all of that is going to weigh...then, when that is known, the task is to build a balloon that will lift the whole package--with me installed as the pilot!--to 50,000 feet. Since I'm finishing up two books right now, I only have about 8 hours per weekend to work on the going is slow.

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