5 months ago •
It's official! This week is LAUNCH WEEK! We've got thunderstorms on thursday and sunday, plus we'll be launching on sunny days in between, in an attempt to capture something rare: a lightning strike in broad daylight. Stay tuned for videos if we get a strike. We have a makeshift faraday cage for our GoPro so we can film.
6 months ago •
Meanwhile while Neel is working on the rocket, I am working on some safety precautions. In order to keep us from getting electrocuted, I figured it would be advisable to be far away and in a safe place when the rocket launches. In order to do this, I whipped up a little RC timer that should give us a 5 minute count down before igniting the rocket fuse, letting us retreat to a safe location. This whole circuit is easy to make and will cost only ~$2, so I have no problem with it getting destroyed, assuming we actually do catch a lightning bolt.
The circuit is very simple, but I figured I would post a schematic anyways, just in case anyone is curious:
The idea is that we will hit the switch when we are ready to launch. We will have about 5 minutes (this time is adjustable with the potentiometer) and then the LM393 comparator will switch high, drive the mosfet and cause the rocket to ignite.
6 months ago •
Howdy, everyone! As of now, we've just completed a 3-stage BJT amplifier to act as a static discharge detector. The schematic we used is listed here: http://www.electroschematics.com/1021/lightning-detector/
We are also looking into the construction of an Electric Field Mill. We found an arduino-based DIY version at Instructables: http://www.instructables.com/id/Adruino-Based-Electrostatic-Field-Mill/
Also, we've just run out of images on Hackaday.io. Check out the imgur link on the left to see what we've been up to!