Old 04-09-2009, 04:10 PM #17
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

You will get arrested. A man, i forget which state it was, tied a road flare to a ballon last week and has to pay a 250 fine and do community service :'(


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Old 04-09-2009, 04:31 PM #18
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

the defective gene pool of ignorance never ceases to amaze me :
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:44 PM #19
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by chipdouglas
You will get arrested. A man, i forget which state it was, tied a road flare to *a ballon last week and has to pay a 250 fine and do community service * :'(
Yes, in one of the replies above, someone linked to a newspaper article about that incident. The guy was an idiot for admitting to it publicly using his real name.

Oh, and I do think that the safety concerns are way overblown. I know this is going to get a lot of people angry, but I think laser safety in general is blown out of proportion, especially online in forums and websites. Everybody jumps on the "DON'T POINT YOUR LASER AT ANYTHING" bandwagon. Every message about using a laser to do anything interesting is followed by at least one know-it-all warning about how irresponsible and dangerous it will be. Fact is, with the high divergence and overstated power claims of cheap lasers, they're really not that dangerous. You won't go blind if a beam quickly passes over your eyes at a distance. At 1000 feet, a laser with a divergence of 1.5mRad will have a spot size of almost 2 feet, at best, and more likely double or quadruple that (test it yourself with your own laser). With the photons spread out over a circle many feet across, think about how much of the actual energy will pass through your pupils, which are only a couple of mm in diameter. I just did the math, and human eyes at 3mm wide would take in about 0.0001 of the photons exiting the laser at 1000 feet distance. I've looked at a 250mW laser from perhaps 600 feet away. It was bright, but I'm not blind.

Regarding danger to aircraft from a balloon with a down-pointing laser:
1. If the airplane was higher than the balloon, they would see nothing because the laser will point down.
2. It would be extremely unlikely for an airplane to enter the beam at all.
3. If an airplane does enter the beam, the pilot would have to look directly up at the laser to see it brightly.
4. At the speed an airplane travels, it would cross the beam in a split second - way too fast to harm the eye.
5. The laser's beam will have diverged to a point that it is not harmful after a few hundred feet.

After giving it some thought, because of the safety freaks here, I will not publicly post about this anymore. If you hear about a red, green, and white UFO in southern Florida in a couple of months, well, I would have documented construction and launch for all to see, but I'm not going to risk a nutcase with an agenda reporting it to authorities who don't understand the science. Sorry.
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Old 04-09-2009, 06:14 PM #20
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Man, there are SO many levels involved with this project, most of them bad BAD BAD ...

As freakin cool as it sounds, there's no way I could condone the project, especially considering the bad publicity that would very likely surround the whole affair - You yourself are an admitted "past" laser hobbyist, think about the potential future hobbyists that will never get the opportunity to play with coherent light if and when laser bans are implemented and/or enforced (which the bad publicity from a stunt like this would only aid and contribute to.) ...

For what it's worth, great concept, but terrible plan :'(
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:10 PM #21
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Should do something with bsome leds in different colors instead..

Btw, you need A LOT of helium balloons to carry just two lasers..

you will most likely need over 30, i won't do the math, do it yourself
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:22 PM #22
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonasa0601
Should do something with bsome leds in different colors instead..

Btw, you need A LOT of helium balloons to carry just two lasers..

you will most likely need over 30, i won't do the math, do it yourself
He said a weather balloon. *They're big enough to cary instruments that can take atmospheric readings, two lasers won't pose any issues if he goes through with it :P
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Old 04-09-2009, 07:34 PM #23
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

@Putrio

Ah, okay :O
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:23 PM #24
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Yep, weather balloons will lift up to 15 pounds, depending on the size. *At scientificsales.com, the 8234 model for $14.00 would do the trick. *It's a smaller one, but should easily lift 3 or 4 pounds, which is more than enough. *Best of all, they sell it in black!

Like I said above, people launch these things with radio transmitters, computer, cameras, GPS, parachute, etc. *There are many high-altitude balloon websites with great info.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:53 PM #25
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

I have an idea. *I'm thinking of adding a cell phone to the payload, with a DTMF decoder wired to a matrix of relays that supply power to the lasers. *That way, I could be connected by phone to the balloon, and turn the lasers on and off by pressing numbers on the phone keypad. *I could also include a little 555 timer chip circuit to flash them continuously, if I want. *Something like this:

Press #1 to flash green laser for 1 second
Press #2 to flash green laser for on 1 second, off 10 seconds pattern
Press #3 to turn on green laser continuously
Press #4 to turn off green laser
Press #5 to flash red laser for 1 second
Press #6 to flash red laser for on 1 second, off 10 seconds pattern
Press #7 to turn on red laser continuously
Press #8 to turn off red laser
Press #9 for both lasers on continuously
Press #0 for emergency off - kill power to both lasers

I would only beam them enough to track the balloon. *They would go off if the balloon went over a populated area (although there are none around the planed launch site), or obviously if there was an aircraft in the vicinity. *The Luxeon LED would stay on continuously, so the balloon would be visible to air traffic. *I could even include a marine radar bouncer (like they use on kayaks), so it would appear on aviation radar. *I certainly have enough old cell phones laying around, so all I would need is a prepaid SIM card with enough funds loaded on it to cover the flight. *It would really look even stranger flashing on and off. *

What do you safety monitors think about this idea? *Is it still so incredibly irresponsible, or does this make it safe enough to attempt?
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:04 PM #26
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

After looking at several (but far from all) of the applicable State and Federal laws involved that could and would be broken with this plan, I had to stop figuring them all out because I was already up to 160yrs and just over 1.5million in fines... And that wasn't even countering on the FAA or the military having anything to say about it all.

Now granted, there's sentence reduction guidelines, too (laser rehab, maybe?) and of course good time to be considered, let's assume in this highly litigious world noone manages to assign any liability for damages to the stunt, hmm, let's see, carry the one, add thirty, minus seven, OK - I GOT IT!

I'll check back on the thread here once you're released to see exactly how cool the whole thing went. Talk to you on October third, 2107.



You're gonna be hard pressed to find any support here on this forum, other than to say "yeah, that WOULD be cool, IF...." and "IF" means "if" it weren't the most irresponsible, crazy, asking-for-trouble stunt that anyones posted here in a long time. Why would you rish the future of this hobby for all of us just to do something you see as "Cool"?
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:28 PM #27
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserBalloon
I have an idea. *I'm thinking of adding a cell phone to the payload, with a DTMF decoder wired to a matrix of relays that supply power to the lasers. *That way, I could be connected by phone to the balloon, and turn the lasers on and off by pressing numbers on the phone keypad. *I could also include a little 555 timer chip circuit to flash them continuously, if I want. *Something like this:

Press #1 to flash green laser for 1 second
Press #2 to flash green laser for on 1 second, off 10 seconds pattern
Press #3 to turn on green laser continuously
Press #4 to turn off green laser
Press #5 to flash red laser for 1 second
Press #6 to flash red laser for on 1 second, off 10 seconds pattern
Press #7 to turn on red laser continuously
Press #8 to turn off red laser
Press #9 for both lasers on continuously
Press #0 for emergency off - kill power to both lasers

I would only beam them enough to track the balloon. *They would go off if the balloon went over a populated area (although there are none around the planed launch site), or obviously if there was an aircraft in the vicinity. *The Luxeon LED would stay on continuously, so the balloon would be visible to air traffic. *I could even include a marine radar bouncer (like they use on kayaks), so it would appear on aviation radar. *I certainly have enough old cell phones laying around, so all I would need is a prepaid SIM card with enough funds loaded on it to cover the flight. *It would really look even stranger flashing on and off. *

What do you safety monitors think about this idea? *Is it still so incredibly irresponsible, or does this make it safe enough to attempt?

Use Mosfet transistors instead of relays, and a microcontroller instead of tone decoders/flashing circuits.

However, a mobile phone can't communicate that high....
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:01 PM #28
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

here is a guy in my town that loves balloons.

http://www.couchballoons.com/
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:06 PM #29
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laserman532
here is a guy in my town that loves balloons.

http://www.couchballoons.com/

Here in Canada we have people being scared of Balloon.

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjJVN_RkbTw[/media]
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:08 PM #30
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by erdabyz
Use Mosfet transistors instead of relays, and a microcontroller instead of tone decoders/flashing circuits.

However, a mobile phone can't communicate that high....
Thanks for the circuit suggestions.

As far as how high a cell phone will work, well, I've looked into it, and I believe it will work. The antennas on GSM cell site are horizontally aligned, and performance from above would be reduced, but they can still pick up signals from above because there are absolutely no obstructions. In fact, the phone would no doubt be hitting multiple cell sites simultaneously, but that shouldn't be a problem either. Take, for example, all of the calls on 9/11/01 that were made to loved ones while flying at 10,000 feet and ~500mph. They must have been hitting multiple cell sites, and hopping sites at a very rapid pace, but the calls went through, and there were quite a lot of them. On a balloon gently drifting up, it should work great, and even better if I use a directional antenna pointing down. There is at least one high-altitude balloon that was launched with a cell phone for returning data and pictures, and it was reliable to the maximum height of the flight, which I believe was 93,000 feet.

If I could remotely trigger the phone to snap some pictures and text them to me, that would be neat, but probably won't see anything but blackness over the Everglades at night.

What makes you think the phone won't work?
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:35 PM #31
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

FWIW, launching lighter-than-air balloons with small payloads is not in violation of any FAA guidelines, and the Air Force is even accomodating if the balloon will cross into restricted airspace (as in this launch: n1vg.net/balloon/).

So, lasers aside, launching with super-bright LEDs should be fine. *Is it just the laser part of this idea that everyone dislikes? *How about if the lasers were pointed as something that would refract the beam, providing an extremely bright light over more of an area? *No danger then, right?

Edit: fixed link
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:31 PM #32
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Default Re: Laseer on helium balloon idea

As they say...you cannot reason with a drunk person. Apparently you cannot change stupid. I am so dissapointed by some of the support of such an idiotic idea. You assume that you can control where the beam is being pointed let alone where the baloons go. You have no clue what is going to happen when this thing leaves your hand except that it is going to go up and away. This is exactly how accidents happen. If you think my response was overboard than I believe you do not have the foresight enough to be responsible with any potentially dangerous hobby.
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