ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Hardware Build

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Hardware Build

Since the ESP32-Cam project was going to be installed on a remote controlled plane, keeping things as light as possible was the primary concern. This required a tally of what each item weighed and how best to build around that. All aircraft have a center of gravity that is used as a reference point. That point is where the aircraft balances front to back or side to side. Any change in that point can influence how the aircraft will fly….

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Supply Chain Break

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Supply Chain Break

Hardware build can begin once the design, development, and testing phases are complete. The ESP32-Cam project development hardware could have been reused. The problem with reuse is that the hardware is no longer available in a development capacity and the project is locked. If any damage or modification occurs during the hardware build, this can cause delays. For that reason, additional parts were sourced and purchased with the intent of using them for the build. There were plenty of ESP32-Cam…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Field Validation

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Field Validation

With all of the final code validated on the workbench, it was time to test it in the field. The project deadline was 3 weeks away and the field testing was a formality to ensure nothing was missing before assembly. With all of the bench testing done, it seemed that this would take a single day to complete and the next phase would begin. Field testing involves taking the hardware outside and testing it in a state that closely matches…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Underground GPS

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Underground GPS

When the GPS module used for the ESP32-Cam project failed to get a reliable lock while bench testing, it became clear that a mockup was the best option. Development has its challenges, but not having reliable sensor data needn’t be one. Some digital and analog sensor data can be generated either by counters, timers, or a combination of the two. Other sensor data might follow a protocol like SPI, I2C, or UART data streams. For all of these sensor types,…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Adding Sensors

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Adding Sensors

Having code that is organized as blocks or objects opens the door for other possibilities. As the ESP32-Cam project progressed, the use of the I2C protocol from the current sensor led to the widening of the project scope. Among the current sensor were several shelved I2C protocol sensors. The hardware was already available, all that need to be done was merge its code base into the firmware development. Only a barometer sensor was added, which included a thermometer. The sensors…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Turning Code into Blocks

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Turning Code into Blocks

Developing firmware for hardware typically is not a ground up method. Many AVR and ESP projects that exist have been developed using pre-developed code. This can be the main code base or libraries that provide support. Libraries are easier to adopt into a project because they can be defined and called when needed. Code base reuse doesn’t offer this. Much of it is specific for the application it was developed for. As a result, the code base will need to…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Power Requirements

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Power Requirements

The last section was a design introduction of a data logging system and its operation. This section will cover the power requirement of that system starting with each of its components. Datasheets are the primary source for this information. Having enough power to operate the system for the duration of flight is the essential goal. If power loss occurs midway in flight, there is a chance that all data will be lost. Here is list of the components and the…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Design Intro

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Design Intro

After the earlier BLE beacon project was shelved due to its limitations, it seemed a good fit as an onboard data logger onboard a remote controlled plane. This data logging function could be expanded for other uses due to its light weight, inexpensive, and highly mobile features. The ESP32-Cam module would still be the mainstay of the entire design, mostly due to the built-in microSD storage. The camera module was removed since it would not be used. Even though the…

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Limits of Search and Rescue

Limits of Search and Rescue

Last year I lost a remote control plane that had a 1080p video camera onboard. The loss was largely due to not following flight procedures. It was the result of a combination of factors that could have been avoided. Once I realized that the plane was no longer responding to controls, it was too late. All I could do was watch as it slipped behind objects on the horizon. Searching for the plane was out of the question due to…

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Panoramas For The Public

Panoramas For The Public

There are tools like Hugin and PTGui that can take photos and stitch them to create panoramic scenes. Viewing them can be done in linux using EOG (Eye of GNOME) and the Panorama Viewer plugin by Andreas Eisenbarth. The images displayed in this post use a WP plugin as well. However, GSV (Google Street View) is likely the most simplest way to create scenes. Tools like Hugin and PTGui take time becuase they require inputting images, aligning, defining points, stitching,…

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