HackHD Camera

A project log for High Altitude Balloon - Phonenix 1

Design and build a high altitude balloon

Joseph TurnerJoseph Turner 08/20/2014 at 10:260 Comments

Our original HackHD camera is no longer functional. We have been forced to explore improvements to the setup to ensure whatever caused its demise won't cause it again.

The HackHD camera is a cost-effective light camera chosen for the mission. It does have one drawback; it gets extremely hot during operation. This post identifies the issues this poses and puts forward a possible solutions to _try_ and mitigate these issues.

The Problem

As the payload ascends, it will experience extreme temperatures and pressures. During the initial ascent, there will be a drop in temperature and the pressure will drop slowly. There will be a chance that the camera can cool from radiation and a little bit of convection. As the payload continues to ascend into the Stratosphere, the air pressure drops off to almost zero. Convection isn’t going to work. Radiation of the heat is the only mechanism by which it can cool. There is absolutely no point having a ‘fan’ installed to cool it down because there won’t be anything to ‘blow’ on to the hot chips.

The Solution

We need to ensure that the HackHD can radiate heat as effectively as possible. Remember that we just want to make the HackHD last as possible. It may be close to impossible to allow it to operate the whole time. Ways to address this are:-

1. Keep the journey as short as possible up in the Stratosphere

2. Take video for a few minutes, then turn off to allow it to cool down, then turn it back on again. Or alternatively, take photos instead of video

3. Add heat-sink to transfer heat away, to increase area of surface radiating heat. The flow of heat is directly proportional to the surface area of the object.

The heat Sink

Below are some pictures of the device that ‘hugs’ the HackHD camera and "presses" copper plate against the three hot chips.