My shiny new Arduino Mega and getting together the basic sensors for my 1st prototype was the topic of the last few days… until I ran into some serious issues.

First, the TTL camera worked fine snapping JPEGs even on motion sensor, then I found that it hogged the COM12 port and I couldn’t hook it up to anything else or the data wouldn’t go through. It would give a dreaded “Cmd fail” or something similar and just give up the ghost until I restarted the 0706 software tool and/or the Arduino. Then I found out that the camera doesn’t work with the Mega which I’d just bought. Which was less than ideal. Sure, I could code a workaround, but the two adding up were making me nervous. I could have tried saving images to the microSD module, but as there were these issues and I’d ok’d the module as a standalone I left it for now.

Switched to the BM085 barometer/pressure/altitude combo, which worked fine out of the box. Fiishing around the web found me a fairly robust code where I could update with the current local pressure and get a good altitude calculation (see picture). And don’t think there’ll be any problems with the Mega as the code is rather straightforward - something to try out, hopefully just need to map the Uno pins to the standard Mega locations.

Basic LED and pressure sensors setup I’d tried out before, so was more for show and to remind myself not to forget them in the final design.

Trying frantically to find local German suppliers without having to order from the US, but neither Watterott nor Tinkersoup had any cables, so XBee work frozen until then. Thought I could get away with the default setting (standard PAN channel etc), but you still have to update many of the hardware settings, so in the end it was back to square one.

My next step is now to purchase the last items that I need for this design, and unfortunately at Sparkfun in the US (which may take a couple of weeks depending on the mood of US export customs). I need a 1080p HD camera to hook up to the microSD module (and is not as bulky as a GoPro), FTDI cable for XBee programming, 9DOF Razor (stick version to take up less room, still have the larger one as a backup). Lastly, the 1,000mAh battery pack with voltage protection circuit I bought earlier in the week worked, charged and discharged fine, so it is time to get the 6,000mAh version to charge up with my solar cell and see how long that lasts.

More info when those get in from the US!