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Tracker update

The Iridium Flare Tracker has been progressing nicely. On the physical end, we've gotten most the major milestones completed. We have the arch mostly complete, and we have the parts, finally, to build the countdown clock display. The solar power system still needs to be worked out, and there's a number of artistic fiddly bits to work on, but we're almost done with the critical stuff.

On the software side, I'm now up to 4200+ lines of C++, Verilog and makefile combined, and have implemented the following features:

  • Menu system (To select various screens and configs)
  • Time and location syncing from GPS
  • Laser Aiming System
  • Calibration from Polaris
  • Iridium Flare Tracker Screen
  • Star Finder Screen (Look up a star by name, it'll point the laser at it.)
  • Planet Finder Screen (Same, for planets. Expensive math to implement!)
  • Info Screen (Shows miscellaneous data, mostly Lat./Long. and debug info.)
  • Star Chart Plotting.
  • Auto-revert to flare tracker screen 2 minutes before flare.

Things left to implement:

  • Three-star calibration.
  • Star/Planet identifier (Point Laser at light in sky, get its name.)
  • Manual Time/Lat./Long. configuration, if GPS fails.
  • Sunrise/Sunset calculation.
  • Automatic Night-time Clock Dimming.
  • Automatic Laser On/Off/Flashing.
  • Spinner Lights/Strobes flare warning.
  • Constellation Drawing in Star Chart
  • Constellation Finder.
  • Plot moon in Star Chart.
  • Provide Star Chart for calibration screens.
  • Speed enhancements. (Star chart takes 23 seconds to draw, currently! Planet positions take a third of a second each!)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 22nd, 2004 09:44 am (UTC)
Hmm, instead of spinning 'cherry top' lights perhaps you could have a series a squential LEDs going 'around' the arc. Almost Stargate style.

I'm still looking forward to some future post where we see this project fully assembled and 'in action' at the burn.
Jul. 22nd, 2004 09:55 am (UTC)
Hmm. Interesting attractor idea. I'll have to think about that.
Jul. 22nd, 2004 10:06 am (UTC)
No wonder we never see you anymore! ;)
Jul. 22nd, 2004 09:02 pm (UTC)
Progressing at seeming lightning speed.

Heh, 3 or 4 colours of lights and under control you could select which colour is showing at any given moment. Thus motion and colours. Hard to ignore.

Some video clips will be neat......
Jul. 23rd, 2004 01:47 am (UTC)
First four words in my sleepy mind: The Insidium Flare Tracker...
Which would be a really neat little spy drone thingy for an Evil Empire somewhere.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )