Integration and Battery Life Test

For the first time ever we put ALL of the electronics (radios, cameras, battery, etc) into the payload container and turned it on. Idea was to test installation and startup procedures, and then see how long it lasts on our 5 Ah USB battery. Ideally we get 3+ hours, more is better obviously. In previous tests (with MORE hardware) we got that, but good to check now that we have final hardware inside. Here’s some shots of the payload in foam container:

Payload Container in fridge freezer
Payload Container on scale (657 grams). Proper antenna on top (wouldn’t fit in fridge with it installed).
Payload Container open (lid: satellite phone GPS, top left: USB battery, left: GO pro (knockoff, nearly hidden), bottom middle: RaPi computer with radio hat, bottom outside: RaPi camera on 3d printed mount, bottom right: APRS radio with GPS). To the left: foam used to pack it tight so nothing can move)

Test results: our battery life is awesome! We got 6 hours and 2 minutes of uptime. We also learned a lot of things, like needing to adjust the voltage setting below which the GPS cuts out, how to properly shut off the RaPi wifi, and that we probably do have enough insulation (even in the -5C fridge freezer, the temperature of the electronics only dropped to 19C – so at -60C, we’ll probably be a bit below freezing, but that should still be fine). Even the knock-off gopro functioned really well – storage did not fill up as fast as expected since most of the video was dark and/or static, which actually probably means battery life will be even better – we know the camera shuts off once the storage is full, and that should theoretically be around the 3h point (well after landing) based on previous tests.