Work continues on the OMAP3 VPU

A year has passed since we had a Gumstix Overo based video recorder onboard an amateur rocket and it is time to resume working on it. This time I will continue towards the original goal, namely live radio transmission of video encoded using the built-in DSP.

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Gumstix OVero Fire and Tobi after the crash landing

The connectors on the Tobi expansion board got broken during the crash landingAs I mentioned last week, the Gumstix Overo Fire COM and the Tobi expansion board looked surprisingly well after the crash landing of the failed rocket. Yesterday, I have had a chance to take a closer look at the boards and see what damage has occurred to them. Once I separated the two boards from each other it was obvious that the 70 pin AVX connectors were damaged on both board. The electrical connections on the Gumstix Overo Fire are still OK despite the damaged connector, but the Tobi board got damaged beyond repair (PCB tracks ripped off). Below you will find some close-up photos and a video about the damaged connectors.

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Successful flight and a crash landing

Oct 3, 2010 – Danish Space Challenge (DSC) held a Rocket Festival at Borris Sønderland, Denmark, where five rockets built by German and Danish students were launched together with one of DSC’s own rockets. For the first time, the DSC rocket was flying an Arduino Duemilanove based flight computer which was responsible for releasing the parachute. This worked well. The payload in the rocket consisted of the digital video recorder built by yours truly, based on the Gumstix Overo Fire embedded Linux computer that I have been blogging about during the last few weeks, see here. Continue reading “Successful flight and a crash landing”

Rocket integration

Wednesday evening the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 UVC camera and the Gumstix Overo Fire based video recorder have been integrated into the rocket. I will not have access to them before the launch day on Sunday. Shown below is the camera and video recorder integrated into the rocket.

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Expected video quality during the rocket flight

We will be using the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 for the flight, streaming MJPG video in 640×480 at 30 fps. Although the camera can stream even 1280×720 at 30 fps the USB interface on the Gumstix Overo Fire can not keep up with the required data rate. So here is a test video recorded as JPEG frames in an AVI container – just like it will be recorded by the Gumstix Overo Fire during the flight.

Apparently, Youtube is not very good to process MJPG video (fair enough since MJPG is a sucker anyway) so you should definitely try the source video (35 MB AVI).

Disabling the WiFi on the Gumstix Overo Fire

During the weekend I had some time to look at how to disable the combined WiFi and Bluetooth module on the Gumstix Overo Fire. The power source for the onboard video recorder consists of two 1 Ah LiPo batteries and although I did not have any measurement of the power consumption I knew this should be enough for at least one hour even with WiFi and Bluetooth switched ON during the flight (the wall plug adapter is 5V 1A). Still, I wanted to try to disable the WiFi and Bluetooth module since they are not needed during the flight.

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A few bits and pieces for the onboard video recorder

Today I have received the last pieces that we are going to need for the video recorder based on the Gumstix Overo Fire. I took the opportunity to take some pictures.

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Video recorder update

I have been quite busy since the last update trying various options for recording MJPG video using a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 and the Gumstix Overo Fire embedded computer. The good news is that there has been significant progress reported in the following sections.

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Gumstix Overo Fire status and re-scoping the project

With only two weeks left until the flight opportunity it was time to make status and try to assess how much I can finish until the launch.

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