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COLLIDE-3 AVM. Walter Castellon CpE & EE Mohammad Amori CpE Josh Steele CpE Tri Tran CpE Sponsored by: Dr. Josh Colwell. Background. Planetesimal to Protoplanet to Planet is well understood Have gravitational forces Prior to this stage is still unclear

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Collide 3 avm


Walter Castellon CpE & EE

Mohammad AmoriCpE

Josh Steele CpE

Tri Tran CpE

Sponsored by:

Dr. Josh Colwell


  • Planetesimal to Protoplanet to Planet is well understood

    • Have gravitational forces

  • Prior to this stage is still unclear

    • How do the particles stick together?

  • High velocity vs Low velocity impacts

    • Do they hold the key?

The experiment
The Experiment

  • COLLIDE-3 will be attached to a sub-orbital rocket

  • Upon entering micro-gravity LED’s and a Camera will be turned on to record the experiment

  • Next a spherical quartz object will be dropped onto dust/simulant

  • The camera will record the results of the quartz object and dust/simulant in micro-gravity

The problem
The Problem

  • COLLIDE-3 scheduled to fly on private, experimental suborbital rocket

    • This rocket had an AVM module which would control all of the functions of COLLIDE-3

  • The rocket had problems, and was no longer available to us

    • Dr. Colwell was left with an experiment, but no way to run it

    • Needed a new AVM if he wished to utilize his experiment on a different rocket.

Avm avionics module
AVM (Avionics Module)

  • Brain of experiment

  • Manages hardware/power

  • Runs COLLIDE-3

  • Record results

  • Store results


  • Connected to 28VDC source and 120VAC sources

  • Low weight

  • High vibration resistance

  • Fully automated

  • Capable of recording greater than 80fps at 640x480 at times ranging from 30s-2m

  • User friendly

  • External access to flight variables

    • Experiment must always update with these new variables

  • Cost efficient

Hardware block diagram
Hardware Block Diagram










Avm components
AVM Components

  • EPIA P820-12 embedded board

  • Microcontroller

  • Camera

  • LEDs

  • Solid State Drive

  • Accelerometer

  • Display Module

  • Stepper Motor

  • Micro-step driver

  • Muscle wire

  • Wireless Comm

Standard components
Standard Components

  • LEDs: 2 LED arrays each array has 48 LEDs

  • Micro-step driver: requires 12v, 5v, PWM

  • Muscle wire: 1 amp of current at 5V


  • AVM will be able to support both industrial and consumer cameras

  • SVSI “Stream View-LR” and GoPro “HD Hero”

  • GoPro is a consumer camera used during initial experiments to reduce financial loss in case of rocket failure

  • SVSI is an industrial camera that will be used more often in the long run

Display module
Display Module

  • Can use either serial or USB interface

  • User friendly software

  • Will allow user to view current experimental variables

Display menu
Display Menu

  • Displays all experimental variables

    • Delay after microgravity

    • Delay to record

    • Recording duration

  • Updates every 1 second

External communication
External Communication

  • Rocketfish micro-USB bluetooth adapter

  • Data transfer of 3 Mb/s

  • Range of 20 feet

  • No interference

  • Minimal weight and footprint

Wireless access via bt
Wireless Access (via BT)

  • Supported by:

    • Windows XP, Vista, 7

    • MAC OS 10.4 and later

  • Default shared folder is AtMega code

  • Variables will be top 3 lines for ease of access

  • Copy file locally  make changes  copy back to shared folder

Solid state drive
Solid State Drive

  • Using SATA II connection write speed is 95 MB/s

  • Shock Resistance is 1,500 G

  • Vibration Resistance 2.17G – 3.13G (Operating – Non-Operating)


  • Parallax H48C

    • 3-axis readings

    • Unfortunately, support is for

      PBASIC language

      • Need conversion for ATMega

    • Reads in voltage outputs from each axis and converts into a G-rating using the following forumula:

      • G = ((axis – vRef) / 4095) x (3.3 / 0.3663)

    • Our code must do this conversion

Accelerometer false positives
Accelerometer – False Positives

  • Pins can sometimes falsely detect G-levels

  • Costly mistake that needs to be protected against

    • Will have counter loop that continuously checks flag every .4ms

    • If pin consistently reads zero gravity for set amount of time, it is not a false positive, and experiment can proceed

Epia p80 12
EPIA P80-12

  • Hosts the experimental code and the variables that can be changed externally.

  • Uploads procedure code to the microcontroller

  • Activates recording for the camera

  • Handles high speed image transfers from the camera

Epia p80 121
EPIA P80-12

  • Cost is $310

  • Windows board

    • Compatible to all cameras

    • Flexible to experimental changes

    • User friendly

  • Excellent hardware and

    software support

  • Smaller form factor


  • Stores experimental variables and procedure

  • Reads in microgravity mode from accelerometer

  • Utilizes relays to activate COLLIDE-3 components

  • Communicates with EPIA P820-12 to power on camera


  • 6 dedicated PWM lines

  • Small footprint

  • Meets basic requirements

    • I/O pins

    • Memory (RAM, EEPROM)

    • Serial/USB pins

  • Larger support base

  • C language (all members familiar)

  • Familiarity

Ft232r breakout board
FT232R Breakout Board

  • Allows communication between the Arduino program on the P820-12 and the ATMega328

  • Utilizes the ATMega’sTx and Rx lines

Power conversion
Power Conversion

  • Rocket will only provide standard AC sources and a 28V DC power supply

  • Our components take 5,6, and 12 volts

    • 12V: Microstep VCC, LEDs

    • 6V: Microstep input, muscle wire

    • 5V: ATMega328

  • Will utilize DC-DC converters and regulators to convert the 28V to usable levels

Ec7a 24s12

  • 12V requirements will be handled by CINCON EC7A-24S12

  • Input voltage range of 18-36VDC

  • Output voltage regulated at 12V with output current of 835mA


  • 6V requirements will be

    handled by POWER


  • Takes input voltages

    from 9-38V

  • Outputs a constant 6V

    voltage at a current of 1 amp

  • Will utilize two of them, since we will use more than 1 amp of current at 6V


  • Finally, 5V requirements will be handled by a standard LM7805 5V regulator

    • Instead of regulating the 28V input source, this will simply be taking in a 9V battery


  • Since the microcontroller cannot provide enough volts/amps to power COLLIDE-3’s components, it will instead activate a relay, which will have a load of the regulated voltages from the

    sources previously mentioned

  • We will implement the

    AXICOM IMB03C mechanical relay

    • Handles up to 2A of current

    • Functions up to 300g of shock, survives up to 500g of shock

    • 100uV control voltage will switch relay, which can have a load up to 220V

Project issues technical
Project Issues(Technical)

  • Communication protocol between EPIA P820-12 and ATmega328 (FT232R)

  • Camera compatibility

  • Changing variables externally

Project issues nontechnical
Project Issues(Nontechnical)

  • Mono

  • Theft

  • Crashes