What I want to do
I want to track bumblebees! I'll explain the project in a later note. but the general situation is that we'll have about 2kg of kit on the balloon (a couple of camera flashes, a compact camera, a raspberry pi, some relays, a plastic box, quite a few batteries, and some various odds-and-ends).
My attempt and results: Ground testing.
You can see version one of the device in the image. We're moving it into a box now! :) It seemed to work when we tested it on the ground (see figure at end of note*), but we're going to launch it in the next month, to test it properly.
Questions: Did I buy the right stuff?
I thought as our device etc was a bit heavier than the single camera most people are using, the 5.5foot balloon might not be sufficient (it seems that people think it's best not to inflate the balloon too much?). We've bought this 8 foot balloon:
It's a bit late to ask, but was this the right choice? :)
I've also bought this line... sort of realise it's for fishing not flying a balloon...
I'm hoping to have three lines up to the balloon to allow us to control its position quite well. I'll try to work out how to do the picavet system with three lines!
Filling and release: How to?
I'm quite worried about the actual practicalities of how to fill and release the balloon! How do you avoid accidentally letting go (I saw someone did it under a net!)! How do you tie it? And when they pop, do they ever pop in the sky? (should I have a parachute on it to protect the equipment in the event of an 'unplanned descent'? :).
Local people: Sheffield/Peaks?
For the reasons mentioned above, I was wondering if there's anyone in/around Sheffield, UK or the Peak District who've done things with tethered balloons before who might be able to give some advice or even come along on launch day, to help/advise!
*The target has been found from 110m away! but it's also found some points in the trees (from the sky) - hopefully when the camera's pointing down, they sky won't be in view, so won't cause these problems. It's also found that guy and the drone. It was just chance that someone decided to fly their drone in the same park I was experimenting in! Hopefully won't be a problem when we do the real experiment.