back to article LOHAN cops a faceful of Raspberry Pi

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is methodically working its way through the installation of the Vulture 2 spaceplane's electronic systems, and having got the Pixhawk autopilot up and running, we were able to turn our attention this week to the onboard Raspberry Pi. LOHAN regulars will know that we use a …


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  1. Parax

    Who ate all the Pi?

    Seems it was Lohan.

  2. Wyrdness

    Don't fry the Pi

    The Pi-Cam is notoriously static sensitive, so don't go poking it with ungrounded mitts, or indeed other body parts, once it's epoxied in place.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Don't fry the Pi

      Yes, it comes with a warning. Duly noted.

      1. James Hughes 1

        Re: Don't fry the Pi

        I wouldn't say notorious - just take normal precautions to be on the safe side. I've never broken one through static issues and have been fairly lax in my static care.

  3. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    3D Robotics digital airspeed sensor probe

    Apart from one being digital and the other old skool analog, how is your airspeed sensor probe different from a bog-standard pitot tube?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: 3D Robotics digital airspeed sensor probe

      Well, I gather it's a bog-standard pitot-static tube. The new-school bit is the sensor, which is so new it's not for sale yet, and I don't have any info on it.

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Pop-Up Pi Day

    On the subject of playing with Pi's, anyone with early-teen kids in the general area of Silicon Valley might find this interesting:

    pity I'm several thousand km too far away (and don't have kids!) :(

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    Too late but still

    I realize this is too late, but the industry standard in these kinds of cases (or in case of sensors and cameras looking into a vacuum vessel as I normally deal with) is to mount a viewing window for the camera to look through, allowing the camera itself to be removable.

    Otherwise, keep up the hard work! I'm looking forward to some actual test flight footage!

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Too late but still

      I reckon we'd be pushing our luck on complexity with that. We've got enough electronic gadgetry to worry about. In this case, the motto is KISS

      1. Pet Peeve

        Re: Too late but still

        Something like the pop-in lenses you can use with LEDs might have worked, if you can find the right size. I'd feel better about the "supersonic airflow" thing if a lens mount suck outside the skin, instead of having a divot in it.

        I assume the cabin isn't airtight, so as long as there isn't a partial vacuum inside that may want to go find the epoxy hole to escape through, it's probably OK. The right epoxy can make a great bond to plastic, so it may not be the path of least resistance anyway.

        LOHAN is looking as great inside as out.

    2. daveake

      Re: Too late but still

      No, Lester got it right. For high altitude work, windows tend to fog up inside. I know of several HAB flights where people have used windows, lenses or Go Pro covers and without exception unless they're heated they fog up for part of the flight.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Too late but still

        I'm not sure glueing the lens directly into the body is going to solve that issue. The lens itself could very well still fog up. Not to mention, fog up on the INSIDE of the lens assembly.

        Furthermore, you now expose the lens itself and the plastic of the lens housing to the bitter cold of direct exposure to the outside air. Lets hope the thermal stress doesn't break anything.

        I know, I sound like a cynical pessimist. I AM.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

            Re: Re: Too late but still

            We've used the Picam at altitude several times without issue (see for example), so while comments about potential vulnerabilities are noted, we have no evidence that it won't perform again.

            Also, sticking cameras behind glass is a no-no, because of misting. If you're going to send a GoPro up, it has to be with the skeleton back, because if you use the waterproof case, you're just going to get fog.

            See Dave Akerman's comment.

  6. Richard Altmann


    The main question is: What choice of Brandy put Lester in the state of mind of a 12 year old to enable him to handle the Pi?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuel

      It may not have been the choice of Brandy, but of glass... I notice you're holding a pint.

      Of course, as someone who used to drink Jagermeister from a pint glass....

      1. Richard Altmann

        Re: Fuel

        Of course, as someone who used to drink Jagermeister from a pint glass....

        Since there´s no cocgnac bowl icon ... Have n´t touched a Jägermeister since 3 decades but a spanish brandy is nothing to cough at.

  7. Oldfogey

    Red and Blue Wires??

    are those the ones where Our Hero has to guess which one to cut so as to defuse the bomb and save the world?

    Mines the Spy vs Spy coat

  8. John Tserkezis

    Just a little thing but thanks for the heads-up on the pIO microSD card adaptor.

    I've just started playing with the Pis, and I'm forever having trouble with the SD adaptors. On my first go, I went through three adaptors of the half-dozen I had that didn't work reliably, and out of habit now, I'm forcibly jamming my thumb against the card to make sure it makes contact. And that's not counting the accidently bumped cards that cause their own issues.

    I'm not entirely blaming the Pi for this, it's the super-cheap-we-don't-care-if-it-actually-works SD card adaptors that are at fault.

    Well, no more, I've ordered a few pIOs, and I'll be done with card problems.

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Re: Just a little thing but thanks for the heads-up on the pIO microSD card adaptor.

      Bloody SD card sockets - my first Pi arrived with the adapter broke. The replacement - same! Reckon same heavy-handed muppet was to blame. Sourcing an identical new one (from alienspec) was the easy bit. Removing the old one was a bastard - lost 3 pads. Tiny bits of single-stranded wire to adjacent resistors fixed. Needed a tin of tramp-juice (see Icon) first to keep my hand steady enough. Didn't bother sending the second back under warranty - another 6 week wait...Stuck a piece of a credit card on the top, and a bit of thick card to hold.

      Yep, if you buy a Pi, buy one of them adapters as a mandatory accessory. Or a new socket and a tin of tramp-juice.

  9. Bill B

    So, a nice lot of expensive kit going into this system. Ummm ... have you tested that the thing actually flies and doesn't do an impression of a lead balloon (or even worse, a spinning lead balloon)?

  10. Daniel Hall

    Am I the only one here that was expecting a rear end shot of a lady with a similar surname?

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