HoHoHo III (19-12-2010)

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Release 19-12-2010 (13:32 GMT+1)
Recovery 26-02-2011 (DHL postage)
Distance (ground) >275 km
Time-to-burst 2:40h
Flight-time ~3:40
Max. Altitude >30km
Contents Sensors, Flightcomputer (x2), Camera (x4)

Landing site

Where did it go wrong?

I turned the payload on, everything worked. Then i turned the radio off, and let the payload go. Then i turned the radio back on, and everything was distorted. At least the flightcomputer worked 3 minutes, since it made the EOS350D take a few pictures, and it sent me a textmessage that it worked (via the T68i). Then, something went wrong with the powersupply, making the entire flightcomputer and the EOS350D it controlled fail. The cellphone worked too, because it had received a “Welcome to Germany!” textmessage when it landed there. But, the flightcomputer was broken, so it did not parse through a textmessage with GPS info to the phone.

The trip from 13:30 to 18:50, 430km.

Payload Contents

Canon EOS350D Took 10 pictures the first 3 minutes.
Canon A560 Took 1 picture the first minute.
Canon A720IS Videotaped 3:30hr (!)
Spycam Keychain HD Videotaped 1:00hr but iPhoto corrupted the microSD
Parachute Worked but ripped on touchdown
Radio 434.650MHz RTTY 50b, 5n1(baudot), 350Hz shift
Release mechanism Release when >22km or when falled 600m or past 5.695deg longitude Failed due to power failure
GPS Tyco Vinotech Sirf III (libelium)
Flightcomputer Sensors, chips, SD log: all failed due to power failure


Eventually the payload landed after a long time in the air in an orchard in Osterholz-Schambeck, above Bremen, at the hight of Denmark. After two months i got a phonecall from a very nice lady named Claudia (danke!), and after paying the findersfee and the postage, it took two days after receiving the box. Besides the experience, i now have all the equipment back here, for possibly a new project.

Video [3D!]


Many thanks to the radio, and uk-high-altitude-society community (@freenode #highaltitude on IRC) for helping me track and the support. Too many names to mention! Most of all terry baum(code), daniel richman(code/general), james coxon(website/general), ‘fsphil'(general), ‘random'(general/electronics), eric de jong (tracking), Lunar_Lander(?) (support) And special thanks to the team:

daniela (support), onno (driving)

Also i wish to thank myself for f*ing up the flight! 😉


6 Responses to HoHoHo III (19-12-2010)

  1. Bram Stolk Sr says:

    Congrats on the HoHo-3 flight results. Your design concept to have redundant powersources by leaving the individual batteries in the camera’s proved to be a good choice allowing us to see the flight movie. (Too bad we did not see an aircraft passing by……amazing that the optics did not get fogged)
    Your preliminary report indicates…first 3 minutes A-OK, then a powersupply failure developed disabling the FlCC and as a result loss of GPS Downlink.
    Question: Your PS is a set of serial connected AA-cells?, did they still show capacity at recovery? loss of power due to poor (wired) connection or intercell discontinuity?
    Again, I enjoy your experiments and applaud the results……

  2. Jan says:

    Is jullie pay-load nog steeds niet terug?
    Stel mij en 10 andere radiosonde zoekers in Nederland op de hoogte van jullie volgende experimenten, waarschijnlijk kunnen we behulpzaam zijn met het terugvinden. Ook kan ik je een oude radiosonde aanbieden, zend uit op een vaste freq in de meteoband 400-406 Mhz. het weder gebruik van een meteo sonde lijkt mij niet strafbaar.


    • Tim Zaman says:

      Zeer toevallig is hij vandaag terecht in de buurt van Bremen [duitsland]. dit weekend publiceer ik de resultaten als het pakket binnen is.

  3. Eric says:

    Hi Tim,

    Sorry to hear the project ‘ended’ this way. I hope that the sonde will be returned. I know that the majoruty of the ozon-sondes lauchend by the KNMI weekly are returned once found by someone. My experience with hunting radiosondes also tells me that there are a lot of trees in the Netherlands and Germany and things falling from the sky under a parachute have a kind of attraction for falling into woods and trees…
    I presume you have your adress details included in the box so any finder of the box can contact you. Once they have opened it and after they have discovered the tracking devices like the GPS tag they think the box can be tracked so the camera’s and other equipement will not be stolen. At least I wouldn’t.

    When I find the box with it’s content I will contact you and you can keep your 125 euro’s for further experiments.


    Eric (Heerenveen)

  4. Bram Stolk Sr says:

    The team set at least the record of driving 430 km in a little over 5 hours on sunday 19 december while roadconditions were icy and speedlimits of 50 km/hr on hi-ways were enforced….Driver Onno…a job well done.

    …and Tim, there maybe an option #0 that your balloon is still up as it failed to rupture :-).
    Lessons learned: perform temperature soak and shock test to electronics and run telemetrics on tethered balloon just prior to launch.

    To expedite recovery & return procedure you need some media attention, a 5 minutes airtime at e.g. De Wereld Draait Door or a call via Radio Fryslan might help.

    Looking forward to follow your next experiment

  5. Pingback: HoHoHo III Flight: Day After | Project Hollands Hoogte

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