This will be my first Arduino project - and will be a huge learning curve. At present I can program in visual basic, SQL, basic html and have a mild appreciation for C.
I know this is going to be a massive project but the benefits will be worth it, and I would like to turn the end result into a polished project to share with the entire community / produce some fabricated PCB's for modular use.
The requirements would be this (perhaps shown better in a graphical format) :
Lithum power source that is seperate from the arduino and charged using solar panels. Circuit required to maintain charging process. Regulated output at a set current / voltage as required by the arduino and peripherals. There should be a way for the arduino to read / record the charge of the cells without having to manage it (data logging). http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PCB-Charger-for-4-Packs-3-7V-Li-ion-Li-Lithium-18650-Battery-Rechargeable-2-5A-/261076731018?pt=UK_BOI_Electrical_Components_Supplies_ET&var=&hash=item3cc962c48a
Modular GPS input x2 - so that the user can change the items being used, with their being 2 for redundancy.
GPRS / SMS technology using a sim card arduino shield. I have seen people using ericsson T68 with serial connectivity. I would rather use a shield that allows for SMS to be sent, again this must be modular so that the shield can be change - should receive an input from set pins and produce an SMS output.
Shutter camera control. I do not want to use the canon hack approach. I would rather incorporate a shutter control from arduino. This should be modular - set pins produce a timed signal to take a picture every (n) seconds.
Modular sensors. I would like to record barometric pressure, temperature etc. There are shields available for this I believe.
SD card (or micro sd card) shield for data logging purposes - all information related to altitude, pressure, temp, battery performance, pictures taken, time is to be recorded.
Modular radio transmitter module. This should receive an input form set pins and output whatever is recieved. I have seen several options for arduino compatible radio modules.
I have also been looking here http://www.timzaman.com/?page_id=18&lang=en for inspiration but this is getting very niche with set technology. I would like a truly modular approach with several options for the hardware so that people can build their own based on what they have. I will happily invest several weeks of time coding a robust, flexible solution that the user can configure using a single file. The end result would be fantastic.
Desires outputs would be SMS signalling of position from GPS as set interval, along with altitude and other telemetrics. When SMS is out of reach the radio module will continue to transmit this information. All output should be compiled into a KML file for spatial viewing on google mapping services, with each data 'point' containing the detailed telemetrics and timings and picture count. This will allow for pictures to sync up with the data in mapping.
I will be producing an off the shelf heated packaging solution with paracute and balloon. I would like to develop a way of recording when the balloon pops / detach the cable.
Any ideas / help / thoughts welcome :)