Pinta is now blue

08/09/2010 at 10:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’ve been doing some last minute modifications to Pinta before we launch her tomorrow. The hull is now blue from the anti-fouling paint, the SPOT messenger is now sealed into its box and switched on with enough batteries to last about 6 months. Everything in the electronics box has been stuck down with hot glue. We’ve mounted an navigation light on the foredeck (it should be on top of the mast but we’ve got nowhere to mount it up there). To save power we’ve got the computer working out when its dark based on its position and the time and only then does it switch the light on.

We’ve also added some crude power monitoring by using a resistor bridge and an analogue to digital converter to monitor the battery level. The output seems quite noisy but we can distinguish between a nearly flat 11.5 volt battery and a fully charged 14 volt one. We’ve modified the telemetry software to send this data back through the Iridium modem so hopefully we’ll get some nice data on how well our solar panels perform even if we never get the boat back. Previously we considered that we’d have reached a waypoint if we got within 25 metres of it, now this threshold is specified by our waypoints file. We are going to set some of our mid atlantic waypoints to 50km thresholds as they are only there to help guide us in the right general direction and we don’t want the boat turning around to try and reach them.

The blue hull:

The SPOT tracker (the blue box), stuffed into the polystyrene that supports the solar panels.

Hot gluing the electronics:

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