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$2,647 pledged of $12,000 goal
By Enrique Vasquez
$2,647 pledged of $12,000 goal

Recent updates

Electronics - techy alert!

Firstly, thanks loads to everyone that has backed our project so far. Slowly, bit by bit we're getting closer. We just need a big push this last bit, so spread the word.

Massive thanks to everyone who has volunteered their time on the project so far as well.

The lights for the balloon take a lot of current which travels over 50m of cable and cannot be above 48V for safety, so we went for a multiplexing design. 2 150W DC-DC converters make everything smooth at the balloon end and the control is handled by an arduino with an XBee. There's a block diagram showing the design below.

First we made up a model to check the design will work OK with the XBees and the arduino.

Once that was all working OK, we cut out some PCBs and then populated them.

Then mount it all onto a board with the PSUs and plug it all in!

For a little more detail, more photos and the arduino and Eagle files, go to

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After the last post, we had all the LED strips, but they arrived with a transparent waterproof coating. We have 400m of LED strips and this waterproof coating adds up to over 10kgs extra, that is wasted weight, so we very painstakingly pulled it off by hand, inch by inch.

Next was finding the best paint. It needed to be as opaque and light as possible and being cheap didn't hurt. We went for black acrylic in the end.

We layed all the panels out in the boat shed and got painting.

After it was all sewed up, and with the help of our AMAZING volunteer team we stitched all the LED strips onto the outside of the lighting balloon.

Once we had finished all the electronics, it was ready for testing and a little last minute tweaking. WOOHOO it works!

Then for a full inflate to check what it looks like full size!

Check out to see more detailed information

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Full power, lighting sphere

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Testing the pressure and the seams.


Next step the electronics.

Check again in a fortnight?

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Sewing the internal lighting sphere

We are sewing 16 panels of PU coated Ripstop nylon and heat sealing the seams to make the 6m internal lighting sphere. 

This third lighting sphere is under the geodesic printed moon external shell and sealed helium bladder and is regulated with a ballonet and is where the LED lighting is attached segmentally.

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