Just a buncha' balloons..

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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:27 pm

junglesmacks wrote:
illy dilly wrote:Only, thought though, will the fishing line be able to hold up in the heat? Can it withstand the UV?
Fishing line isn't really meant to just be sitting in the sun, constantly under tension.


Lol.. the hell it's not! What do you think fishing line does all day? It sits in the sun and salt under tension! The new line that I'm talking about isn't that old school clear plastic stuff.. it's micro-braided fabric type stuff made of spectra. It's crazy strong for it's diameter. Put it this way.. 50lb test line is now about as thick as common upholstery thread. The same stuff that I sewed my pants up with. I've had the same line on my one reel for 5 years now and it's still plenty strong. A week on the playa flying some balloons is nothing..

Maybe the bit from the rod to the water is in the sun all day, but depending on how much line is out changes which part of the line is in direct sun. And to me the tension on a thread when trolling a small lure in the water is way less than a hellium balloon catching wind gusts.
But I was just asking.
I haven't had any experience with 'braided Spectra fibers' I didn't know 'spectra' was even a solid tangible thing. (insert "TheMoreYouKnow" image here :wink: )

Sounds good to me.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Homiesinheaven » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:06 pm

junglesmacks wrote:
trilobyte wrote:I wish I knew the name of the guy who does the balloon chain every year, he could probably tell you plenty about how strong a line, balloon, etc you should use.


True. He's using standard party balloons though but I'm curious what he's using for tethering line. I almost betcha it's HD fishing line of some sort. Actually.. that would be perfect.. like the newer style spectra weave based fishing line. You can get 100lb test that's as thin as old kite string.

The balloon chain is totally what inspired me. That's hands down one of my favorite projects. I'm a huge fan of pretty lights at night.. :wink:


it's definitely my favorite project too. i've talked to those guys and they use fishing line. you should reach out to them, here's their site:

http://www.balloonchain.com/

cheers!

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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:09 pm

Homiesinheaven wrote:http://www.balloonchain.com/

cheers!

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WOW what a beautiful pic! I'm curious how the heck they store all those balloons during the day.. lol..
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:19 pm

illy dilly wrote: I haven't had any experience with 'braided Spectra fibers' I didn't know 'spectra' was even a solid tangible thing.

Yeah, I'm a little dubious as well.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Drawingablank » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:30 pm

junglesmacks wrote:
illy dilly wrote:Only, thought though, will the fishing line be able to hold up in the heat? Can it withstand the UV?
Fishing line isn't really meant to just be sitting in the sun, constantly under tension.


Lol.. the hell it's not! What do you think fishing line does all day? It sits in the sun and salt under tension! The new line that I'm talking about isn't that old school clear plastic stuff.. it's micro-braided fabric type stuff made of spectra. It's crazy strong for it's diameter. Put it this way.. 50lb test line is now about as thick as common upholstery thread. The same stuff that I sewed my pants up with. I've had the same line on my one reel for 5 years now and it's still plenty strong. A week on the playa flying some balloons is nothing..


I don't know if that stuff is different now but somehow I seem to recall when it was first released having to use special knots on it or the strength was greatly reduced - you might want to double check that.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Eric » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:56 pm

Depending on the size of balloon you're using, you might also want to talk to the Airship Victoria crew (they were the huge weather balloons tethered just off The Pier). They kept their rig tied down most of the time, and I'm sure they have info on how to keep a pile of balloons from flying away.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Psycho » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:57 pm

Homiesinheaven wrote:it's definitely my favorite project too. i've talked to those guys and they use fishing line. you should reach out to them, here's their site:

http://www.balloonchain.com/


They lost the chain this year... I assume it was accidental, right before Temple burn if I remember correctly... Watched the whole string (or some large part of it) float away until it was nearly invisible... Which was actually really cool to watch, despite the obvious MOOP issue...
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Ugly Dougly » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:25 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:
illy dilly wrote: I haven't had any experience with 'braided Spectra fibers' I didn't know 'spectra' was even a solid tangible thing.

Yeah, I'm a little dubious as well.

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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:34 pm

Ugly Dougly wrote:
theCryptofishist wrote:
illy dilly wrote: I haven't had any experience with 'braided Spectra fibers' I didn't know 'spectra' was even a solid tangible thing.

Yeah, I'm a little dubious as well.

UHMWPE?


That's the stuff. Fishing line, ropes, etc. I have a wakeboarding rope that's made out of it for zero stretch, no water absorption and super light weight and thin. The most common fishing line made out of it is Power Pro. It's pretty much the new standard being as that it's so light, zero stretch and the strength to width ratio is off the charts. Literally line that's no thicker than common dental floss is 50lb test and is smooth as anything. You can cast the stuff forever, and with no stretch you can literally feel a fish nibbling on your line 100 feet under water.


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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:41 pm

On another note, it dawned on me how to REALLY do the balloon tower. Instead of running separate RGB and GND wires to each balloon, you use the same type of shift registers that the LED system on the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment used.. WS2801s. With those, you can send a serial data stream and just put them all in parallel with each other.. and thereby completely automate the whole chain to do literally whatever you want. Imagine a 150' tower of 6' balloons going through a full pulsating rainbow fade from one end to the other.. then switching to a chaser pattern up and down it.. then switching to random color fades.. so on and so forth. Think ToQE in the sky.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Nipple » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:53 pm

When's your kick starter, because I'm in!

After you last posted about this, I spent the evening talking to a Bastard friend at a party. He thinks you're right. The sky is the next canvas.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:27 pm

junglesmacks wrote:That's the stuff. Fishing line, ropes, etc. I have a wakeboarding rope that's made out of it for zero stretch, no water absorption and super light weight and thin. The most common fishing line made out of it is Power Pro. It's pretty much the new standard being as that it's so light, zero stretch and the strength to width ratio is off the charts. Literally line that's no thicker than common dental floss is 50lb test and is smooth as anything. You can cast the stuff forever, and with no stretch you can literally feel a fish nibbling on your line 100 feet under water.

Sounds good to me!
I'm starting to wonder if thats what I have on my reels... I'll have to check. But it sounds durable and cheap


junglesmacks wrote:Instead of running separate RGB and GND wires to each balloon, you use the same type of shift registers that the LED system on the Tunnel of Questionable Enlightenment used.. WS2801s. With those, you can send a serial data stream and just put them all in parallel with each other..

Sounds pretty damn kick ass to me! But, I'll leave this part to you!
If you need me to solder some shit, I can do that, but I have very little understanding of WS2801 or any LED controllers for that matter.

So what type of wire would you think is best for powering/controlling the LEDs?
Depending the weight of the power source, would it make more since to have the controller and power source hanging from the last balloon and just triple or quadruple the balloons?

Another thought (less than half baked) how durable are those roles of 5050 RGBs?
Could we skip lighting the balloons, and use the 5050 RGB roles as the rope? Then power them from the ground?
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:03 pm

Yeah.. I just came into the world of truly digital lighting within the last couple of months. What a WS2801 is, is a shift register based LED controller. Meaning.. that it takes data signals and translates that into the appropriate ratio of R, G and B. You have to physically write a computer program in the C programming language, compile it using an Arduino front end program and load it into your controller board. It sends the program down the two data wires in packets. The first IC receives it, looks to see if the instruction is for it and if it isn't, it passes it along to the next. So on and so forth. It's in this way that an entire strip of LEDs can be controlled by just the same two wires running down them instead of having individual wires going to each LED. You have 4 wires total: Power, ground and two serial wires. Check out this strip that uses this technology. It's what the ToQE used: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10312

There are many different types of these chips and I realized after I posted that I wouldn't use a WS2801 because it has a max current limit of 50mA.. and I'd like to use a 3W RGB LED which needs around 250mA per R, G and B. I'll find the best chip to use.

So, we would use an Arduino mini like this: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/9218

We would have a little voltage regulator board that takes the 12v from a car battery and changes it to the 5v that the Arduino wants.

We run the 5V+ and GND up the strand with say.. 12 gauge speaker wire. We can use thin wires.. like 22AWG stranded hookup wire.. for the data wires since they don't carry any real power.

The trick is going to be making the custom shift registered 3W RGB LED fixtures. I'll figure that out. You think we could hook up on some nice 5'-6' balloon via smAshley's dad?
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:43 pm

That actually makes a lot sense when you break it down.

I have no idea why her dad would have 5'-6' balloons? :shock:

But I can work on big ass balloons. You work the LEDs :wink:

Do you figure we could run the whole damned thing on Cat5e or Cat6 cable?
I know you its only 24/22awg, but IP video cameras often run 12vdc on up to 300ft of Cat6.
I've even seen installs where they're putting 21vdc over Cat6 to power a camera heater and the camera.

In any case, I can get whole sale speaker cable all day too.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:48 pm

I thought you said that her dad worked at an apartment complex or something and they used big balloons for signage?

We don't need cat5 ethernet cable.. we just need dual stranded thin gauge for the data wires and heaver for the power wires since they are carrying current. Stranded would be best over solid since it flexes better.. and with the wind, there's going to be a lot of that. Hell.. we may want to use something thicker even like thinner gauge speaker wire.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby BBadger » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:30 pm

Sorry dude, I was masturb... I mean I was doing some research and didn't see these posts.

I'd just go with some Ethernet. It's cheap, comes in big spools, is weatherproofed (relatively), relatively lightweight (~0.04lb/ft) and is made for data transmission. You can get Ethernet with stranded wires too if you need it more flexible, but it probably won't matter too much unless you're kinking it.

For power, buy some power-over-ethernet (PoE) adapters for power transmission and be done with it (well, after you convert the power too). I think you can get about 15W out of the lowest standard over 100m. You can then also send the data straight over the Ethernet and not have to worry about noise and crosstalk and all that shit which is such a pain to deal with. Another nice thing is that you can just connect to a 48V power source (like a battery) directly (though don't draw too much current).

Believe me, you don't want to waste your time debugging these signal and power lines. It sucks. It's the worst part of these projects. Buy more helium if you need more lift, but don't compromise on having a nice and easy standards-compliant system that you don't have to waste your artistic time fighting to get working.

You'll need to use some sort of circuit to drop the voltage down to usable levels, but at least you'll have the transmission part done. You can probably even use the splitters that come with those kits for that.

Are you sure that 100lbs is going to be enough for your anchor? Those balloons have a large cross-section, and wind loads are going to be strong. I did some calculations using this site to calculate the force. Note I'm just translating what I found on the site; I'm not a wind load expert by any means:

Code: Select all
Wind Force = A × P × Cd
A = Projected area of the item
P = wind pressure
Cd = Shape/drag coefficient

A = pi * (6ft / 2)^2

P = 1/2 x p_a x U^2

p_a = mass of air.  We'll use 1.165kg/m^3 on the playa from http://exchange.dnv.com:6389/dynaweb/offshore/rp-c205/@ebt-link;hf=0;ts=default;pt=11065?target=%25N%15_32496_START_RESTART_N%25#X
U = effective average wind velocity,

Cd = depends on the diameter and the "Reynolds Number" in table 5.3:

Re = D * U / Va

D = diameter = 6ft
U = as above
Va = kinematic viscosity of air at the elevation (we use 1.6e-5 from above)

So for a single balloon:

A = pi * (6ft / 2)^2
P = 0.5 *  1.165kg/m^3 * U^2
Cd = function of Re = 6ft * U / 1.6e-5

Since U will range from about 10mph to 40mph, Re will value out between 500,000 and 2,000,000.  From the table 5.3, we'll use 0.15 for Cd

Force = 0.15 * (pi * (6ft)^2) x 0.5 * 1.165kg / m^3 * U^2


Some values for "standard fare" wind speeds out there:

Code: Select all
Force @ 10mph = ~ 5 N
Force @ 20mph = 18 N
Force @ 30mph = 41 N
Force @ 40mph = 73 N
Force @ 50mph = 114 N
Force @ 60mph = 165 N


Note that is per balloon. I don't know if there are shielding effects or how a group of balloons perform. You'll probably drag them in anyway if there are > 60mph winds.

Your 100lb weight exerts about 444 N of downforce. That's just downforce though. You'd probably need some guylines for the side-loads.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:29 am

BBadger wrote:For power, buy some power-over-ethernet (PoE) adapters for power transmission and be done with it (well, after you convert the power too). I think you can get about 15W out of the lowest standard over 100m. You can then also send the data straight over the Ethernet and not have to worry about noise and crosstalk and all that shit which is such a pain to deal with. Another nice thing is that you can just connect to a 48V power source (like a battery) directly (though don't draw too much current).

Believe me, you don't want to waste your time debugging these signal and power lines. It sucks. It's the worst part of these projects. Buy more helium if you need more lift, but don't compromise on having a nice and easy standards-compliant system that you don't have to waste your artistic time fighting to get working.

BBadger, I totally hear what your saying about using some PoE inserters.

~~~Begin thinking out loud~~~~
But I don't think its necessary, since there wont be RJ-45s at the balloon end, and we'll have to solder or connect it on in some other means. I figure we just pick 1 pair for the serial stream, and 2 pairs for the power.

On the other hand.... We could use a PoE inserter with exactly 5v, or what ever voltage we need. You can find PoE inserters in almost any flavor. The trick might end up being the power input into the PoE inserter, it sure would be nice to go either 12vdc or 120ac.

If we're going to use the RV as the 'base' then I'd rather use a 120AC input power, seeing as I'll be running the Onan almost daily and charging the house batteries, more often than I'll be running the engine, typically for an 30-45minutes on Wednesday or Thursday, and charging the chassis battery.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:57 am

What I'm thinking here is making the modules obviously beforehand with some type of male/female header plug for each connection where there is to be a balloon. I could make up the entire run length of the master cable with harness plug-ins for each balloon, and then make the 3W LEDs with the other plug-in. Then on the playa, we just insert the LED module into the balloon, fill, crimp, snap. Next balloon. So on and so forth until we have the chain in the sky.

You're right about the base.. that's going to be some pressure on whatever it's connected to. We for sure will have it on an immovable object such as the dome or the RV. Also, being as that it's going to be a royal pain to take down, it's going to have to stay up there the entire burn. With that much flotation though, I don't see the winds being all that much of a problem unless we get a serious dust storm.. as in 60mph+ winds. All we can do is cross our fingers.

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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:18 am

What if for the base, and to make retracting easier we use some sort of hand winch?
Maybe something like this
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hand-Crank-Winch-600-lb-Black-Boat-Trailer-Jet-Ski-/320723217117?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4aac97eadd

Then have the crank welded to a 2" square tube steel. Drill a hole in the tube steel and we can slid it into the hitch on the RV.

What sort of total power draw are we talking about?
Your talking 3w at each balloon, I also remember you saying 5v and about 20mA per balloon at the balloon. Would the 3w be at each balloon? so 3 balloons is 9w? or is it 3w across the line?
And what about over all pull of the whole assembly, including controllers and all that jazz?
By locating it at the RV, as long as it doesn't pull a shit load of power, we can run it right off the RV.
We typically don't run the generator the whole day and very little at night, since we're all out of camp. I'd hate to run the 3000 watt gene just to power a 10 watt assembly. But we could run it for 10 hours a night on the RV, then just recharge the house batteries during the day.

To recap, what your saying about the connectors and cable just to make sure I'm on the same page:
Two different 2 conductor cables? For the entire run of the balloons.
Then each of those 2 conductors spliced at each balloon location?
Or are you thinking Cat5, and using 2 pairs for power, and 1 pair for control? and saving the 4th pair as an untouched strength member?
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:45 am

If we figure (2) 2 conductors and fishing line is the best bet. I could send you a roll of 1/4" or 3/16" shrink tube, and all the cables and line could be bound together to act more as a single cable.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:25 pm

3W max per balloon.. or up to around 750mA per! That would mean that overall you're running 7.5A total if we are doing 10 balloons. I'd love to do.. say.. 15.. which would be around 10A total.

As for a winch.. that sounds' complicated.. we could always just pull it in by hand, but the bigger question is what the hell are we going to do with 15 - 6' inflated balloons?? :shock:
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby Nipple » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:45 pm

You're gonna need a 50' Burlesque Dancer...

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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:13 pm

My theory on the winch is that it will allow for even pressure while pulling in, and it will manage the cable as it comes down. Also, it will give it a nice round cylinder for the cable to roll off of. But, we could do the same thing with just about anything round, shit, I could even grab a little spool from work. The winch would just give a nice sturdy solid place to attach the whole assembly, and help give nice steady tension while trying to bring it back down.

As for what to do with the balloons.... good questions. Jam them in you box truck? lol.
~~~Thinking out loud~~~~
First thought: If we do something like 10 balloons, every 6ish feet, starting at 20' from the ground to 80' from the ground. So that you don't see the cable, just the 10 balloons, we retract the cable so that to the first balloon. Leaving enough space so that the Balloon isn't right against the RV, then we walk the balloons out, putting rebar after every two balloons. Making a sorta trout line type thing.

Second Thought: Maybe we use slightly smaller balloons, so they fit inside a box truck or something else.
http://www.ideastage.com/Products/Actives-Giant-balloon-made-of-heavy-duty-latex-material-32-7706092.aspx
http://www.balloonsupply.com/Qualatex-36-Inch-Latex-Balloons-s/822.htm
http://www.pioneerline.com/cloudbuster.php

Its also looking like once you get into the 5' balloons the cost gets closer to $15 dollars a balloon. I'm thinking the quality of the balloon is gonna be pretty important.

This is someother stuff that might be a good idea.
http://www.hi-float.com/
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby BBadger » Thu Nov 17, 2011 5:39 pm

illy dilly wrote:But I don't think its necessary, since there wont be RJ-45s at the balloon end, and we'll have to solder or connect it on in some other means. I figure we just pick 1 pair for the serial stream, and 2 pairs for the power.

On the other hand.... We could use a PoE inserter with exactly 5v, or what ever voltage we need. You can find PoE inserters in almost any flavor. The trick might end up being the power input into the PoE inserter, it sure would be nice to go either 12vdc or 120ac.

If we're going to use the RV as the 'base' then I'd rather use a 120AC input power, seeing as I'll be running the Onan almost daily and charging the house batteries, more often than I'll be running the engine, typically for an 30-45minutes on Wednesday or Thursday, and charging the chassis battery.


Well I'm not talking about it being necessary, more that it'd just be convenient. You're going to have to do the same kind of analysis on your power delivery whether you use a pre-packaged system like PoE or build your own. There are voltage drops, power loss due to the wires, multiplexing, etc. A pre-packaged system may save you from having to build the power regulator, calculate the voltage drops, attach it to your AC supply, and then connect it from there.

All you do is plug in the PoE injector to your AC supply on the bottom, and then at the balloons plug in the cable to a splitter to tap off the power. No soldering, etc. at that point. The signal can be transmitted like regular data straight over the ethernet in conjunction with the power. You can even get those 4-pair ethernet power delivery systems for much more power being delivered.

In a homemade system you'll probably want to use the same higher voltages that PoE also uses (50V or so) to minimize losses. So you'll essentially be doing the same thing yourself. That might work out too.

The base hardware platform is the most important part of the system, but also the least fun and the most trouble. I just tend to err on the side of convenience these days because this kind of hardware stuff is not the <i>fun</i> part of the project. I've worked on the back-end stuff and all that jazz and it really does sap your time from the artistic part of the project.

Not my project of course, but think about it.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:09 pm

Sounds kinda complicated? I'm a firm believe in KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) :D

How much data loss/delay do you think that we'd get over a 100' run length of dual serial wires? We're only looking at driving 15 modules at the very max.

I'm leaning more towards simple nylon paracord for the main line. Cheap, strong, light, readily accessible.

If we're running it off of the 120AC from the camper, then just a simple 5v wall adapter can power both the Arduino Mini and the LEDs. Easy. If we're using a 12V car/deep cycle battery, then just simple little 12V > 5V converter box like waxpraxis is using on his blitter bike. Easy.

1 run of 12AWG speaker wire going up the length for the power. 1 run of 18-20AWG speaker wire for the data TX/RX. At every balloon plugin, a soldered/heat shrunk section comes off of the run with a female harness plug on it. Easy.


KISS :D
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby BBadger » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:10 pm

Here's another thing to think about:

If you need more power delivery for more balloons you can probably stand to lift more equipment. So why not consider a higher voltage DC power delivery system and then a DC-DC converter at the top for all your low-voltage needs?

For example:

At the base, you buy a 58V AC-DC power supply.

Use something like 18-20 AWG wire as your transmission line.

At the top, you connect the conductors to a DC-DC converter such as this.

It'll give you 5V at 30A, as well as 3.3V for other stuff which is way more than you'll ever need for this.

You may still consider ethernet cabling for power delivery and serial communications. There are ethernet to serial connectors you can use, and it might help if you're using something like RS485 (chips here) for the data delivery since it uses twisted pair.

Even better, why not make it all wireless with an XBee transceiver? Why even be tethered? You can remotely change the appearance as needed. In default mode they act as pin mirrors so there's no real work involved. Get an adapter board for them and hook them to an Arduino or something.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby illy dilly » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:30 pm

BBadger wrote: I just tend to err on the side of convenience these days because this kind of hardware stuff is not the <i>fun</i> part of the project.

I'm totally with you on that!
My only concern would be using RJ-45 plugs and jacks at the balloons as they are unnecessary weight. Though, if we used PoE injectors on the ground, we could always break out the blue and brown pairs and solder them at the balloon to reduce weight.
And I think we might have one or two of the Aruba PD-3501s left around from a wireless upgrade job a while back. They were discontinued right after we purchased them so the Denver RTD decided they didn't want to install unsupported PoE inserters, and bought a bunch of brand new ones, and we couldn't return the ones we'd already opened and tested.
But they're only 15.4 watts if memory serves, damned 802.3 standard!

But at this point, I'm tired of thinking about ethernet cable--- Cause I got a 4 day weekend bitches!!!!!!!
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby BBadger » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:52 pm

junglesmacks wrote:Sounds kinda complicated? I'm a firm believe in KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) :D

How much data loss/delay do you think that we'd get over a 100' run length of dual serial wires? We're only looking at driving 15 modules at the very max.


I'd look into RS422 (485) for that. There are other 2-wire protocols like I2C, but I've had bad experiences with I2C for even short distances (< 3m) because of the capacitance of the conductors and devices. That caused nearly all the problems that makes me seek out better serial protocols like RS422 which I suggested above (also uses 2-wires, but you'll need to use some outside chips).

If we're running it off of the 120AC from the camper, then just a simple 5v wall adapter can power both the Arduino Mini and the LEDs. Easy. If we're using a 12V car/deep cycle battery, then just simple little 12V > 5V converter box like waxpraxis is using on his blitter bike. Easy.


Might work fine, though you'll need to account for voltage drop too. I tend not to like to use high currents for power delivery.

illy dilly wrote:I'm totally with you on that!
My only concern would be using RJ-45 plugs and jacks at the balloons as they are unnecessary weight. Though, if we used PoE injectors on the ground, we could always break out the blue and brown pairs and solder them at the balloon to reduce weight.


Is weight really an issue at that elevation? Each balloon can lift about 5 pounds of dead weight after factoring in the weight of the balloon itself. Most of the weight will be in the cable but that's not much either: 100ft of 12 gauge speaker wire weighs 3 pounds, high-grade kevlar ethernet cable is 0.04lb/ft so 4 pounds. Even that big DC-DC converter is only 2.2lbs. I think you'll be fine.

And I think we might have one or two of the Aruba PD-3501s left around from a wireless upgrade job a while back. They were discontinued right after we purchased them so the Denver RTD decided they didn't want to install unsupported PoE inserters, and bought a bunch of brand new ones, and we couldn't return the ones we'd already opened and tested.
But they're only 15.4 watts if memory serves, damned 802.3 standard!


Yup, but that's the old standard. You could grab some better ones, or even those 4-pair non-standard ones. Or hell, pack along a small capacitor bank and assume you won't be using all the power at once.
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Re: Just a buncha' balloons..

Postby junglesmacks » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:02 pm

While I've got your attention, Badg.. I need to find a high current shift register IC that will work with 3W RGB LEDs.. so.. something that can handle at around a 250mA current per channel. Have any suggestions? Everything that I've seen is limited at 50mA..
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