picoAva sealed and ready to fly..and very pink

I’ve been asked by Adafruit to test their Ultimate GPS Module to ascertain if the new firmware operates up to and above 40km in altitude. It seemed like a good opportunity to test the new pAVAR6 boards at the same time.

After some coding I put the Adafruit module on A1 and A2 and used software serial to read this and the hardware UARTS to read the Ublox module. Software serial is never brilliant so the code just waits a second or two, if it doesn’t get a valid sentence from the Adafruit module it just carries on. (Software serial uses interrupts which have to be turned off to transmit RTTY)

To differentiate between the two GPS modules the payload transmits two call signs, $$PAVA which is the data from the Ublox module and $$QAVA which is data from the Adafruit module. Power comes from pAVA’s on board DC-DC Boost converter  under testing it has enough grunt to power both modules and achieved 11 hours run time from a single Energizer Lithium AA battery.

To keep everything together a 10 cms polystyrene ball was cut into 3 slices. On the bottom one I constructed a quarter wave antenna from solid core wire and some drinking straws :

The middle section was then hollowed out to make space for the Adafruit module, the pAVAR6 board and a single Energizer Lithium. For testing wires from the battery and from the board power connection were routed externally :

Everything was glued in place with copious amounts of hot glue. Finally some pink cord was inserted and the top piece was glued on :

Finally some bright pink paint (thx www.daveakerman.com) finished the job off looking like some sort of camp death star (will use a lighter pen to mark for cutting next time!) :

All glued up nothing moves around to power the payload up you can connect external power to it, for flight I will just solder the battery wires to the payload wires externally. Finally the weight, this payload with everything in and 2 GPS modules comes in at fractionally more than 50g :

 Just need the weather to sort itself out so I can launch this now!

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