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Testing AMIGOS-6 in Rothera

December 6, 2012

Terry writes:

Thu 11/29: Spent the last two days sorting through email, pictures from  the field and writing the daily reports since my last posting on  11/19.

Sat 12/01: Spent the last two days moving equipment from the hangar to the Old Bransfield lab and preparing to bench test AMIGOS-6. Noticed that a bolt and washer assembly that fastens the camera assembly to the enclosure had come undone, probably during transport. Was able to retrieve all the loose parts from inside the enclosure. Performed as Terry and the Disappointments with me on electric guitar and vocals, Roger on bass, Adam on sax, Chris Buckley on electric piano, and Rob Green on drums. We ran through three numbers as the opening act. We were okay. Not great, but okay.

Sun 12/02: Powered up AMIGOS-6 using the Compact Flash (CF) chip I had  created in Boulder just before leaving. Quickly realized I was missing  some files, so reverted to the original CF created last year. Copied  all data and program files from the original CF to my 8 GB thumb  drive. Made slight modification to one program file to all allow the  camera to operate when no light sensor is present. Successfully  acquired some photos in the lab using the small 12 volt gel cell  battery I use for standalone Iridium field communications.

Tue 12/04: Finished testing AMIGOS-6 including running it overnight and uploading backup files to NSIDC. Tore down the test setup after taking some photos of it. Brainstormed with Tamsin as to how to strengthen the tower with components available in Rothera. Plan is to retain the existing rock basket guy wire anchor concept that has guy wires extending from each of the 3 triangular tower vertices. We will rebuild the central basket that failed, replace the upwind basket with a new wire box basket, and add three additional wire boxes each anchoring one of three 10-foot outrigger poles that will extend along the ground and along each of the 3 sides of the tower’s triangular base. We will use six identical brackets, two for each tower base strut. Each bracket has a 1.25-inch coupling that fits over each 1 inch tower strut, and a 2.125-inch coupling that fits over each 2-inch outrigger, with each smaller coupling rotated 90 degrees to the larger coupling. The plan is to first disassemble the current tower basket anchor and replace the failed upwind circular anchor with a new box anchor. Before raising the tower, we will fit two brackets over the bottom of each tower strut. Then we raise the tower, and adjust the guy wires to hold the tower vertical. Then we will fit the outriggers through the larger couplings in each bracket with the other end of each outrigger extending through a new box basket. We’ll remove the three broken connectors (two solar, one power) from the battery box, and simply feed the corresponding 3 wires directly into the box and the charge controller, using tie-wraps for strain relief.

AMIGOS6 test system on the Old Bransfield porch.

AMIGOS-6 test system on the Old Bransfield porch.

High-resolution Nikon thumbnail imagetaken my AMIGOS6 test system and succesfully transmitted to NSIDC. High peaks are 7300 foot Mount Liotard on the left and 7600 foot Mount Gaudry on the right, the two highest peaks on Adelaide Island.

High-resolution Nikon thumbnail image taken by AMIGOS-6 test system and succesfully transmitted to NSIDC. High peaks are the 7300-foot Mount Liotard on the left and 7600 -oot Mount Gaudry on the right, the two highest peaks on Adelaide Island.

Outriggers assembled on Old Bransfieldporch. Short upward protruding pieces represent the ends of the vertical tower struts.

Outriggers assembled on Old Bransfield porch. Short upward protruding pieces represent the ends of the vertical tower struts.

One of four new baskets that fold flat fortransport, and are then assembled and filled with rocks on site. Three will serve as outrigger anchors and a fourth will replace the failed upwind guy wire anchor.

One of four new baskets that fold flat for transport, and are then assembled and filled with rocks on site. Three will serve as outrigger anchors and a fourth will replace the failed upwind guy wire anchor.

Wed 12/05:  Copied AMIGOS-4 data and program files from the CF to my 8 GB  thumb drive. Moved equipment to the hangar. Found out that the GA for  Cape Disappointment will be Ian Hey who just returned from four weeks in  Ablation Valley with Mike Hambrey and Bethan Davies. Tamsin won’t be  able to go with us, but instead we will be accompanied by Builders Jim  Scott and Phil Harle.

Thu 12/06: Ran 9 miles and wrote this report. Logged onto AMIGOS-4 and  removed file /mnt/gpio/NEED_ETH needed for on-site debugging, and  whose removal should reduce the average current load on the system and  hence increase average battery voltage (this just in: the average  current appears to have dropped from about 0.22 amps to about 0.11  amps due to this change). We are now waiting on weather on a  day-to-day basis for going to Cape Disappointment where weather has been bad since our visit a week ago. A visit to Leppard Glacier to  raise the solar panels on LPRD cGPS will probably be done in  conjunction with the pull-out of Daniel and Ash from nearby Starbuck Glacier next week.

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