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Topic: Looking for tiny components (Read 3648 times) previous topic - next topic


Nov 10, 2013, 11:20 am Last Edit: Nov 10, 2013, 04:16 pm by GoingForGold Reason: 1
Hi there!

I always wanted to make something like this: http://kiwiembedded.com/windsond/

For those of you who dont want to read this (I fully understand), it is a small chip, equipped with GPS and a transceiver, which is launched in the air by a helium balloon. It measures and sends live the wind data to a computer on the ground. When a certain altitude is reached, it detaches from the balloon and tells the computer where to find it. The whole chip (with the above components plus a beeper, baro-sensor, flashlight and battery etc) only weights 12grams (0.42oz). The weight is crucial, since the small heliumballoons cant lift more.

I always thought that it is not possible to get such lightweight components, especially the GPS and the complete radio system. Unfortunately, I cant find such components or suppliers. I'm aware, that using such components can result in me not being able to solder them myself.

Could you help me find the components to realise something like this? Thanks!


You'll find many of them available on breakout boards (small PCBs just to enable them
to plug into breadboards.   Checkout the Arduino list of approved suppliers, many of
them stocks ranges of sensors and modules too.

For something as specialised as this I'd suggest contacting the Windsond people and
see if they are willing to list the sensors they are using (probably won't though,
commercially valuable information).

The lightest GPS modules will be those without a patch antenna, using a whip aerial
instead.  Patch antennas are a square slab of heavy ceramic, several grams.
The transceiver needs good range, so likely to be a longer wavelength than 2.4G, so
a 433 or 315MHz ISM transceiver is possible, these days thats a single chip plus
a few SMT passives.

Yes, this will be SMT, reflow soldered throughout, a single DIP package is going to
cost you a couple of grams once you add the weight of the PCB under it...
[ I will NOT respond to personal messages, I WILL delete them, use the forum please ]

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